Belly putters have been steadily gaining steam not only on the PGA tour, but at local courses as well. While at first glance, they may seem funny and awkward, belly putters can actually help provide those who are having trouble maintaining a consistent putting stroke some well needed help.
If you analyze the top putters in the world (using a traditional putter), you will notice one thing that is similar across the board: The end of the shaft points directly towards their belly buttons. Being able to get in to and maintain this position is key to becoming a good putter.
A belly putter simply adds an extension onto the end of the shaft allowing it to actually come in contact with your belly button, which makes is much easier to reproduce and remain consistent.
One of the key aspects of putting is trying to replicate a pendulum-like motion. Likely the most common mistake that many golfers make is that they use too much of their wrist during the putting stroke. This can lead to an inconsistent stroke, lack of touch, and poor control. These are exactly the types of things that these putters try to remedy!
So if you are experiencing trouble with your putting stroke, or you are simply looking for something new, keep reading!
Belly putters do come in various lengths depending on your height so it is very important that you are properly fitted with the correct length. A very quick way to assess this is to stand upright with the putter lined up vertically in front of you. In this position, the top of the shaft should be just above your belly button.
It will likely take you a while to get used to a new style of putter, especially if you have been using a traditional putter for a long period of time. New golfers who are just learning how to putt may actually have a slight advantage because they won't have to deal with any bad habits.
The first thing that you need to establish when picking up your club is the grip. The good news is, that even though the style of putter is totally different, you can actually maintain your old grip. If you are looking for something new, however, feel free to experiment with different variations and find something that works better for you. There is no standard grip with this style of putter, so do whatever feels comfortable!
Another aspect that doesn't need to significantly change is your stance and foot position. If you need a refresher on the proper stance, please read more at my How To Putt page.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the end of the shaft should actually come in contact with your belly button. This landmark never changes so it ensures that your positioning is the same with every putt!
Assume your stance, and putt just like you normally would! Start the club off slowly and then pick up the pace towards impact. The key is to mimic a pendulum-like motion with very little wrist movement. The vast majority of the motion should be coming from your shoulders.
As it will take you some time to develop and improve your new putting stroke, you may need some extra work maintaining the proper swing path. There are many great putting tracks that are available, or even in a pinch, you could set up two tees on either side of the ball (slightly wider the the blade of the putter) and then practice putting, trying not to hit either of the tees.
It certainly will take some practice, but if you are someone who struggles with too much wrist action during putting, then I would strongly consider trying out a belly putter.
*If you don't have the money to buy a brand new putter, please consider this great product, the Belly Putt:
It connects to your existing putter as an extension, and will turn any putter into a longer version! Click on the image and check it out!
And that is just naming a few!