Mike Davis, Executive Director for the USGA, thinks that maybe there is a need after all to “take a fresh look” at the use of the belly/long putters that are becoming increasingly popular at all levels of the game. Currently, there is no rule in place prohibiting the use of said equipment, but after meeting with the R & A (golf’s governing body in Europe) last week at the USGA’s home office in Far Hills, NJ – that could be changing in the near future.
“All of a sudden … this has become a much bigger topic. The USGA and R&A have been talking about this at length. We are looking at it from a perspective that … what we should look at for everything: What is good for the game, for all golfers, long term? I will tell you, the R&A was in Far Hills last week. We have an annual meeting where we talk about all kinds of issues about how we govern the game worldwide. We did talk about various equipment issues, including anchoring. Our board did (talk about it) this week as well. There are no outcomes at this point.”
My thoughts: If they’re going to ban the use of these belly/long putters, it needs to happen soon. There will be a significant outcry from those on both professional tours who will take issue with the ban if/when it eventually happens, but I think both governing bodies have an obligation to consider the number of promising young amateur players who are grooming potential college/professional careers using these style of putters. They can’t just ban them cold-turkey…. well, they could in theory…. but not without some serious blowback. I would guess that in the not-so-distant future we could hear an official announcement that puts both amateurs and professionals on notice that the ban will take effect at a period of time that gives those players affected an opportunity to adjust to the new rule. Or at least I would hope….
But this could mark the beginning of the end to the belly/long putter.