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The Belly Putter: Right for You?

The belly putter worked for Sergio Garcia—and now many are wondering: will it work for me?

Indeed, a new TaylorMade Rossa Corzina belly putter not only steadied Garcia’s notoriously fussy putting game at the 2007 British Open, it nearly helped win him the Claret Jug. Along the way, Garcia generated tons of press and a bit of a bull market for the belly putter. Curiosity about this unconventional instrument is suddenly at an all-time high.

So, if you’re a recreational golfer who struggles with putting, should you consider a Sergio-style switch to the belly putter? PutterZone.com’s advice is: perhaps, but proceed with caution, and not before adequately diagnosing your current putting woes.

For example, your cure for improved putting might not be a longer putter like a belly putter, but rather a shorter one. For men, the “standard” length for a conventional putter is 35 inches, but that standard was originally established simply because it allowed a putter to peek out of a golf bag at the point of purchase. Todd Sones, Geoff Mangum and several other top putting instructors believe that many recreational golfers are playing with putters that are simply too long for their physiques. Click here for PutterZone.com’s recent story about getting your putter “physically fit” for your physique.

Putter length is one of many factors in establishing a proper setup and developing sound stroke mechanics. Setup and stroke mechanics are a bit too vast to tackle today, but they deserve your due diligence. PutterZone.com’s expert interviews and featured putting tips often include insights into both. A lot of putting woes can be cured by improved awareness of setup and mechanics.

Lastly, you might want to explore new putter technologies that can raise your game. For example, putters by Yes!, Rife, TaylorMade and others feature grooved faces that are designed to impart truer roll. Q-Roll putters also promise truer roll with their de-lofted radius faces.

If alignment and aiming are issues, you might want to consider Odyssey’s 2 Ball putter (which Padraig Harrington used to outlast Garcia at the British Open) or Odyssey’s new Marxman putter, SeeMore’s RifleScope putters, or Cleveland Golf’s new Visual Performance VP series putters, all of which feature assertive alignment aids. Meanwhile, if you’re too wristy or yippy, you might want to try the Heavy Putter, which minimizes small muscle interference. These are just a few examples of how putter technologies can address individual issues.

Remember, Sergio Garcia recently switched from a conventional putter to a belly putter not as a first choice, but as a last resort. Despite world-class talent and access to the finest instructors in the world, Garcia was unable to tame his putting game with a conventional putter. In other words, his persistent putting troubles had nothing to do with knowledge, training or proper equipment—or lack thereof.

Therefore, like Garcia, you, too, might want to exhaust your available options before switching to the belly putter. The belly putter can add stability and balance to your stroke, but at a potential cost of overall control and feel—a trade-off that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

P.S. Stay tuned on Wednesday for PutterZone.com’s review of TaylorMade’s Rossa Siena putter, the standard-length sibling to Garcia’s Rossa Corzina putter.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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  1. Some putt from the heart, some from the gut.

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