As we’ve written about here before, there is a lot of rave on the PGA Tour these days about belly putters.  Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship with one, Webb Simpson finished second on the PGA Tour season money list with one, top players like Phil Mickelson experimented with one and a whole host of other players have made the switch as well in hopes of improving their games.  With all of this attention on Tour, many of you are likely interested in trying one out; however, it’s important to note that grabbing just any belly putter off the rack could hurt you more than it could help.

As PGA Professional Todd Sones, a Golf Digest Top 50 teaching professional, notes below, there are four keys to address to always remember when using either a conventional or a belly putter.  First, you have to have a proper setup with your eyes directly over the ball.  Second, your hands need to be directly under your shoulders.  Third, your elbows should be tucked in and connected to your rib cage with the sole of your putter flat on the ground.  And fourth, you should have the shaft right in line with the angle of your forearms.  The exact same principles apply in using a belly putter.  In fact, from the side directly in front of or behind, you shouldn’t even be able to tell if someone is using a belly putter or not because the shaft of the belly putter is masked as it goes right in line with the bend of the forearms.

Using a belly putter that is too long pushes your eyes away from being over the ball and messes with your shaft angle, and using a belly putter that is too short pushes your eyes way too far over the ball and also creates the wrong shaft angle.  You must get properly fit to use a belly putter if you want it to actually benefit your game.

As PGA Professional Todd Sones also notes in the video below, there is a tool that allows you to setup with the four keys listed above that has an extension on the tool that extends up to your belly that tells you exactly what length belly putter you’ll need based on the other key elements of your setup.  Again, you have to be properly fit for a belly putter or it could do more detriment to your game than good.  So, check out the video below for more info, and go and see your local PGA Professional today and see how a properly fit belly putter can help your game.

Joel Harrington