Vijay Singh using a Belly putter at the Honda Classic (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
The resurgence of the Belly Putter - an option to keep in the bag or do they contravene the spirit of golf?
by Drew Swainston
Kicking up a storm on the circuit - the Belly Putter
Longer putters have been around for decades but are now increasingly seen on the professional circuit, and with some success. Yet these belly putters have always courted controversy among traditionalists, who could tremble in fear at the prospect of them becoming commonplace at their own club.
Top pro advocates
The likes of former Major winners Vijay Singh and Fred Couples have seen resurgences since switching but it is not just the elder statesman benefiting, as Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson have won high-profile tournaments over the last 12 months using them.
It's not in the wrist...
Designed to be anchored against the stomach - or even longer and secured against the chest or chin – belly putters can give a golfer extra control on the green but they court controversy as they take away the importance of maintaining steady hands, wrists and shoulders.
Tiger Woods not a fan
Tiger Woods recently admitted he was against them, stating they take away from the "traditional" art of controlling body and club. He joined the likes of Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie in speaking out, and the Gecko Euro Pro Tour even became the first to actively ban their use.
Under review by the R&A
The Royal and Ancient (R&A) confirmed in April that, along with the USGA, it was reviewing the legality of such "anchoring" provided by belly putters due to a marked increase of golfers – not just older players – using them on the Tour.
However, if any ruling is made then it would not be effective until the next edition of the Rules of Golf is published and that will not be until January 2016 – so there is life left for belly putters yet.
The common argument among adopters is it's just one club in their bag and they still have to perform with the other 13. But, with so many pros showing marked improvements on the greens, will there be a growing batch of amateurs across the UK picking up belly putters?
A potential ban
Many may be put off by the price – they aren't cheap - but there are products out there for a fraction of the price that can transform any regular putter into a belly one.
With a potential ban in a few years' time, such a stop-gap solution could be seen by many as an opportunity to see what the fuss is about.
Going against the spirit of golf?
The argument that has been rattling around for years is that belly putters contravene the old spirit of golf and cover up a player's shortcoming on the green, but they do offer a valuable solution for anyone struggling with the putting yips.
An option to keep in the bag
While the quarrels rage about their use at the highest level of professional golf, for the amateur struggling on the greens such an accessible solution could go some way to keeping them in love with the game.