Long putters are creating a stir on the PGA Tour. What used to carry a stigma, now is a growing trend. It's a trend the USGA wants to put an end to. After two years of discussion the USGA believes they have the answer without banning the long clubs from golfer's bags.
It's not the putter, it's how it's used that's the problem. Anchoring the club against the body is a violations of the USGA rules. The rule has always been there, just not enforced. Players using either the long putter or the belly putter are going to have to make adjustments to their game.
"Not only can they not anchoring it here, Bobby Grace pointing to his midsection. You will also not be able to anchor here (tucking elbow to side)."
Bobby Grace has been making and designing putters for professional players for nearly 20. He knew this day was coming.
"It's going to happen, said Grace. Believe me the rule is always written. They are going to try to implement it as painless and swift as possible. We know those things are going to go away. The belly putter is going away. The long putter is going to have to be used with anchoring".
The long putter has been used on the PGA Tour for over 50 years. Not a lot of players have used them, but the ones that have recently are having a ton of success. It's raised a flag about rules that govern this game around the greens.
Keegan Bradley was the first player to win a major with a belly putter and that was in 2011. At age 43 Ernie Els raised the Clarett jug last year at the British Open after using one. In fact 3 of the last 5 Majors were won using longer putters.
"I didn't think the long putters or the belly putters would start to dominate, said Grace. I know they cure problems. They cure all kind of 'yips' as you say. So I've been amazed actually with all of the tournaments that has been impacted."
There's not much evidence supporting whether these clubs give players an edge, but John Hanlon Head Professional at the Vinoy has used longer putters and believe it gives players an edge.
"The anchoring seems to make it easier for some people to putt better than they may have putted with a short putter, said Hanlon. For the amateur I think it would be too bad if they took it away from the amateur. For the PGA Tour level, if they want to do something with those guys that's different too."
Some recreational players believe there is a need for the longer club in the bag.
"I hate for the thing to stick about 3 feet out of my golf bag, said Bill Johnson. Besides from that I would probably be using one."
Banning the use these clubs is the hot topic on the tour. The USGA could rule as early this week, but the current proposal calls for the ban not to start until 2016.
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