A Pain in the Gut

Gecko Golf Tour Putter BanThe 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?



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  1. Is this an over-reaction to grumblings from sore losers. It seems that most innovations in golf result in “an unfair advantage” to the first players willing to step out and try something new and different. Are we going to outlaw the sand wedge or the over-sized driver? How about going back to the wooden ball or the feathery? Better still, legislate a “standard” golf ball (made by one company under USGA or R&A control) for play by all. Will that ever stir up a hornets nest! Remember when USGA tried to take on Karsten Golf over square grooves on the Ping-eye 2 irons? I believe this is posturing and will not stand up in court, and I believe it will go to court.

  2. One of the many questions one might pose here is how any league could actually go about testing these putters against the “typical” putter. Given you really only care about professionals in this context, they’re really the only subjects you can examine. Just how many test subjects could you possibly measure, and of those, can they really be matched against the vast majority of other players? Just my thoughts.

  3. Agree with all comments… how are they going to test it? you cant just compare stats that would never hold up to any sort of legal or scientific scrutiny. And as Denny said there are always advancements that are supposed to make it easier or longer or spin more. and there are always people that complain about them.

  4. The fact is undeniable – adding a second point of support makes everything more stable.
    This is a fact and cannot be argued! This is a simple physics. Try to ride a shaft with one bearing.
    The true augment is if the golf authorities will allow for that help as they have allowed many other things before, however I believe that the putting case is completely different.
    A vast majority of players prove they worth on a patting green and on the putting green they are either made or broken. The best example is Tiger Woods. His putting has suffered the most in his collapse of form, throwing him beyond any contention in his comeback tournaments.
    The other example is Sergio Garcia – he would be a number one player in the world a long time age if it was not for his woeful putting.
    I believe that to make the game more competitive and equalise the field, the long (pendulum anchored at the chin or chest) and the belly putters should be IMMEDIATELY BANNED.

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