With all the talk surrounding the upcoming vote on anchored putters by USGA, I wanted to share by thoughts on the matter. Anchored putters whether LONG putters or BELLY putters (they are a little different) accomplish the same purpose. I have used a belly putter myself for probably more than 8 years – I have considerable experience with this technique and in experimenting with these designs – they do make a difference.
The new rule comes after a long time and significant deliberation by the governing bodies, but it is now being driven by the putters success on the PGA Tour by younger players and its widespread usage.
The first wins I remember, using one of these putters, were by Jim Ferree and Orville Moody in senior golf in the late 80’s. The USGA thought about it then, but they were ultimately handed a political “hot potato”, as the PGA Tour was trying at that same time to popularize senior Tour golf, and the USGA just chose to not broach the topic. I was leading Palmer R&D at the time and I talked people with the USGA about doing something.
The long putters and belly putters absolutely mitigates the problem of right hand dominance/release through impact that tends to complicate speed/distance control, which is essential on any breaking putt. It also impacts direction control/consistency to a lesser degree.
These putters certainly takes the “yips” away (flipping the club head/releasing through impact with the right hand) which destroys distance control.
Many in the equipment community are clamoring for “statistical evidence” that there is a scoring advantage to anchored putters. It is possible that the increased difficulties associated with “lag” putting might offset the certain advantages of the anti-yip no-release aspect of this design/putting technique, but it is more likely there is a real scoring advantage – particularly inside 10 feet and with straighter putts.
Interestingly, there are many younger/newer players who have never putted any other way which will cause a real adjustment for some of us
I just wish they would roll back the “overall distance standard” on golf balls by about 10% – it is very doable. It would restore many great old golf courses to their original glory. Courses have been made obsolete with the distance gains of the last 20 years. That would make a bigger difference than practically anything else they could do.
Bottom line – protecting the integrity of the game is the charter of the USGA, and they are doing that here in the case of anchored putters.