Golfers have long turned to belly and long putters to boost accuracy on the greens. With an elongated grip, belly and long putters are anchored to the golfer's chest or stomach to stabilize the club while putting.
Because the left arm (or right arm for left-handed golfers) remains motionless, most long putter users take on a "claw-like" grip – similar to clutching a pencil. This allows the golfer's fingers, rather than their wrist, to guide the direction of the putt.
Long putter devotees claim the added weight and fixed position of long putters helps prevent players from rotating their hands. Anchoring the club can minimize wrist movement and eliminate a golfer's tendency to push or pull putts.
But for many golfers who use a long or belly putter that will soon change.
Earlier this year, the United States Golf Association announced plans to ban use of belly and long putters in 2016. Golfers looking to make the switch can find an alternative in counterbalance putters.
Counterbalance putters are crafted with extra weight in the grip area of the clubhead. This weighting technique blends the look and feel of a conventional putter with the weight and stability of a long putter.
Stop into a Golf Galaxy store near you, and have our experts find the right putter for your game.
What to consider when finding the right fit for a belly or long putter
2011 PGA Champion, Keegan Bradley
Belly & Long Putter Length
Finding a comfortable belly putter length will vary based upon body type, but the chart below provides a healthy approximation according to height:
6'0" and Taller
5'8" and Under
Recommended Shaft Length
For an even closer measurement, simply hold a string against a comfortable anchor point on your mid-section (1"-2" above belly button) and measure from the anchor point to the top end of your conventional putter grip. That measurement + the length of your conventional putter will provide you with an even closer belly putter length fitting.
Like the belly putter, long putter length does vary based upon body type, posture, and comfortability in your own unique stance. But, to gain some insights into what a healthy approximation would be, there are a couple factors to consider in general. First, figuring out if it's more comfortable to have the end of the putter closer to your chest or your chin. Many players with back problems prefer a longer putter (closer to the chin), as this length requires very little bend in the spine. Second, once a comfortable anchor point has been reached, players should make sure that their eyes are over the ball, about 2" out from the toe. Long putters typically range from 46" to 53".
Belly & Long Putter Lie Angle
When the toe of the putter head is up at the point of impact, there is a tendency to pull the putt. Conversely, if the toe of the putter head is down at impact, there is a tendency to push the putt. A belly putter provides a stable lie angle when anchored properly 1"-2" above the belly button and this added stability promotes a better lie angle, as the sole of the putter is parallel with the putting surface.
The U.S.G.A allows a maximum 80° lie angle, which is typically what long putters are designed with. Again, like the belly putter, this can vary - but a greater lie angle is very common in long putters and will offer the highest percentage of success when it comes to maintaining a level and stable angle to the putting surface.
Belly & Long Putter Head Weight
Belly and long putters maintain consistently heavier head weights in comparison to a conventional putter head weight. This heavier weight serves as a balanced counterpoint to the stable anchor point on your mid-section, chest, or chin area. The heavier clubheads promote a straight back and straight through swingpath, coupled with face angle consistency.
Center Shafted vs. End Shafted
Center shafted belly and long putters generally have very little offset, while end shafted belly putters generally have more offset built into the hosel. Hosel-less end shafted belly and long putters are typically designed with a double bend shaft to compensate, again providing more offset.