The Gecko Euro Pro Tours recently announced that they are banning all belly putters from use in their tournaments “until further tests can show that there is no unfair advantage gained by the use of [them]”. This made me laugh. How can you ban something without proving it’s an advantage? Or better yet, how can one putting style be considered to give unfair advantage when any player who chooses to can employ the stroke?
Sure this may simply be a publicity stunt to get some media attention, but it brings up some interesting points of view. For one, I understand that it’s fully within a tour’s rights to enact rules to ban equipment if it wants to – for example this tour also bans the use of laser yardage devices as well. But on the other hand, is this really where we want to fight our battles? Golf has enough rules already that professionals have to abide by; I don’t think tours need to enact their own.
On another note, the Gecko Tour insists that “whilst the belly putter may be acceptable within the realms of Amateur Golf, it is not something we are entirely convinced is appropriate for Professional golfers. Any golfer who is not happy with these terms and conditions does not have to participate.” So what are they trying to accomplish here? They are “not entirely convinced it is appropriate for professional golfers”? So not only are they unsure if it’s advantageous to use a belly putter, they are also unsure if using one is “appropriate”.
Well… good thing not all decisions in the world of golf are based opinions and best-guesses.
I understand the argument for belly putters. The logic is that by being able to anchor your putter in your gut, you can make a pendulum stroke much more easily. Traditional and long putters are not anchored – and thus the Gecko Tour is assuming this creates an unfair advantage. Phil Mickelson has quite literally turned his game around overnight by employing a belly putter. So it begs the question – if it’s true, then Gecko Tour may have a case – but without proof I think this is simply a case of a small tour flexing its muscles and golf politics gone awry.
Banning this style of putting is not a smart move in my opinion. It would be no different from a tour banning the Stack & Tilt swing. If each and every player on any tour can employ the stroke if they wish, it is not an unfair advantage – case closed.
What are your thoughts on belly putters? Is this a smart move by Gecko Golf Tour? Do you think this trend will catch on?