Putter Length is not a given
when choosing a putter.
The length of your putter is a matter of preference. Whatever the length, it is important that it is the correct fit for you.
You will find that the standard off-the-rack putters are typically too long, and then there is the question of whether you will putt better with a long or belly putter .
Irrespective of your choice it is important to have your putter custom fitted for your height and arm length.
With the correct length it is easier to get your eyes over the ball, and your arms hanging naturally under your shoulders.
This setup will encourage a pendulum-like stroke rather than a gating stroke.
The advantage of a pendulum-like stroke is that the putterface stays square to the arc of the swing for longer.
According to a past poll by the Golf Channel:
These percentages will probably change as anchoring the butt of the putter to your body has been banned from 2016.
These statistics are interesting when considered alongside the result of another poll. This asked the following question. "On average, how many times do you three-putt during an 18-hole round?"
This revealed that more than 77% of the golfers surveyed three-putted two or more times during the round. 17% of golfers confessed to three-putting four or more times.
The result would suggest that a lot of golfers simply can’t putt. Either that or the putters they are using are not suited to the task.
For most golfers struggling with their putting the biggest problem is over-active wrists. The greatest manifestation of this habit is known as the 'yips'.
One solution for the involuntary hinging of the wrists is to take them out of the play altogether by using a belly or long putter.
Originally such a switch was seen as a confession by the golfer that he or she just couldn’t putt.
Tom Watson is quoted as saying that a non-standard putter was not part of the tradition of the game and that you would never see him use it.
Seeking a cure for a twitchy putting stroke often led to a belly or long putter. Because the butt end of the putter could be anchored in your gut, chest, neck or chin, it helped you to make a smooth pendulum-like swing.
(However, from 2016 anchoring the putter to your body has been banned. The putter can still be used, but the grip must be away from your body.
This change of rules
means that the putter must not be in contact with your upper torso).
Putter Length is always a choice. Only you can decide if a belly or long putter can rescue your putting game for the time being, or if with better technique and practice a standard putter of the correct length will cure your putting woes.