Attention Ernie Els: It may be time for you to pick up a Cleveland Golf putter, specifically a Cleveland Classic “Almost Belly” putter.
You may recall that Els famously called for a ban on the belly putter while still using one. In other words, he is deeply conflicted on the matter, as is much of the golf world.
Indeed, there is a growing chorus of folks who want to rid professional golf of the belly putter, even while golfers like Els, Keegan Bradley and many others have made the belly putter an instrumental part of their success. The main sticking point is the fact that belly putters are anchored to the body, which many believe is an unfair advantage and inconsistent with the definition of a true golfing move.
Into this picture steps the Cleveland “Almost Belly,” which boasts belly putter attributes without actually being anchored to the gut. In other words, at 39 inches in length, it’s longer than a traditional putter, but shorter than a belly putter.
In the words of Cleveland Golf, “This length does allow golfers to anchor the putter to their body, but this putter was specifically designed to provide belly-style stability and consistency without anchoring…This is achieved thanks to weight distribution. The Almost Belly features a 400-gram head along with 21-inch large diameter grip, creating a balance that can be felt throughout the putting stroke. This balance inspires confidence from the moment the first putt is rolled.”
As such, the putter is essentially immune to any future sanctions regarding anchoring the club to the body. To borrow a line from the Guinness beer commercials: “Brilliant!”
We have tried the Almost Belly putter and found it to offer a lot of bang for the buck for $130. The Almost Belly may not be for everyone (no putter is), but it does present an intriguing new option to golfers, as well as a safeguard against a belly putter ban. In fact, Angel Cabrera has effectively used his own “almost belly” configuration with great success on tour.
The bottom line is that there is more than one way to sink a putt. The idea of loading the head with extra weight, then counterbalancing it with a heavy belly grip on a longer shaft, makes plenty of sense, even if you stop just short of anchoring it to your body. Just ask Angel Cabrera…or maybe Ernie Els.