With Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley and now Webb Simpson wielding long putters to win tournaments in consecutive weeks this August, unconventional flatsticks are the new normal on the PGA Tour.
PGA Tour Goes Belly Up
Webb Simpson’s putter is a PING Craz-E belly putter, while Keegan Bradley’s putter is an Odyssey Sabertooth belly putter.
As Nick Price was quoted saying in the Wall Street Journal: “It (the belly putter) simplifies the fundamentals of putting so much that increasingly guys who have putting problems or inconsistencies are going to end up turning to it.”
After winning the PGA Championship, Bradley similarly commented that the belly putter makes it easier to putt, “especially when there’s some nerves.”
The corresponding critical counterpoint to such observations is aptly summed up by the commentator who called long putters “an asylum from the ruinous effects of pressures that should be integral to the game.”
In other words, while some feel that long putters are simply an easier way to play golf, others believe that they are the wrong way to play golf.
And some golfers even bounce from one belief to the other, such as Ernie Els, who once said, “They should definitely be banned. I believe nerves and the skill of putting are part of the game.” Els switched to a long putter this year.
So far, there have been no reports of a run on golf retailers for belly putters, but with these unconventional flatsticks suddenly racking up consecutive victories on the professional circuits in the hands of younger players, there’s no doubt that some of the stigma has been shaken and that more recreational golfers will be apt to try them.
Of course, golfers looking for a magic putting cure in the belly putter may be courting new frustrations. A proper fit and persistent practice are essential to success on the green with a long putter, as they are with any putter.
But there’s no denying that, for some golfers, going long can pave the way for less strokes. Just look at the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour.