Time To Belly Up To The Buffet

Posted by Robert on Aug 26

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Belly putters are gaining momentum on the PGA Tour. Keegan Bradley broke the seal at the 2011 PGA Championship. With putter firmly inserted in tummy, he jarred gut-busting birdies to come back from a 5-stroke deficit and win in a 3-hole playoff.

Last week, Webb Simpson followed suit, winning the 2011 Wyndham Championship with a gut-stick. And the old man, Freddy Couples, won his first major on the Champions Tour with his trusty long putter. It’s a shame they didn’t have these things twenty years ago --Freddy would have 2 or 3 more majors under his belt.

Notable pros that have gone to the belly putter include: Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh, Tom Lehman, and Colin Montgomerie. And you can bet your 2-ball putter that more and more will be added to this list in the coming weeks.

So why is the long putter so great? I’m so glad you asked. Jump up off your duff and go grab the broom out of the kitchen and come right back. I’ll wait.

First and foremost, long putters seem to be yip-proof. The yips, of course, are those involuntary twitches that seem to pop up just after the guy in your foursome says, “I got 5 bucks says you don’t make that putt!” (I hate that guy.) They’ll turn PGA tour pros into golf announcers overnight. I give you the arrogant Johnny Miller. Johnny was forced into early retirement when those 4-foot putts turned him into Ozzy Osborne. He tried just about everything including tucking the putter into his right underarm. (Gross.)

Belly putters are more yip-proof because they are anchored in your stomach, which makes it a lot harder to flip, jab, and jerk the putter.

Secondly, belly putters help get your forearms aligned properly. To be a good putter, you want to have your forearms aligned on the same plane as the putter shaft. To check this, take that broom and jab it in your belly, or simply grab your old short putter and take your normal putting stance. Now, stand upright with the putter horizontal (perpendicular) to the ground. Look in a mirror (or ask your wife). If you can see the butt of the broom below or above your trailing forearm, then you are not on plane. Go ahead and make adjustments (and think of a clever reply to your wife’s heckles that this is the first time she’s ever seen a broom in your hands).

Belly putters help your forearms get aligned because when you jam the stump in your beer-belly, you naturally hold the grip in your palms -- this will align your forearms on the same plane as the putter shaft.

Finally, belly putters help you stay down through the putt. How many times in this game have you heard the tip, “Keep your head down?” There is no part of the game of golf where this is more important than in putting. The common tendency golfers have (especially on those butt-puckering pressure putts) is to peak at the hole before the stroke is finished. When your melon pops up, your putter does too, and you hit the ball with a glancing blow -- leaving it short or missing to the right.

Belly putters help you stay down through the stoke, helping you hit it solid and online because the putter is anchored to your body like a kickstand. Incidentally, this is also a fantastic safety device for you golfers out there who like to drink on the golf course.

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