Basics of the Belly Putter
January 07, 2010
How to Move It: (far left)When you make a stroke, focus on keeping the butt end of the club pointing at your spine at all times.How to Vary Distance: (near right)For longer putts, make a longer, not harder, stroke. The arc should be the same length back and through.
There's a reason Vijay Singh (left) made a late-season commitment to the belly putter, and then dominated the FedEx Cup. When used properly, the belly really works. Because its shaft is designed to be anchored in your abdomen, your hands are restricted from twisting the putter open or closed as you stroke -- something that easily happens with a traditional putter. "The long putter just feels better," Singh said. "I'm probably putting better than I ever have, so that's a good thing this late in my career. I don't think I'll be switching for a while." The belly is a great club for you to try, too, but before you do, remember that key phrase above: "when used properly." I'll walk you through how to use it step by step.
Where to Anchor It
The shaft should be secured about an inch or two above your belly button, not on it. Get custom-fit to ensure that the shaft is the correct length for you. The wrong size can alter your stroke.
Where to Play It
With the club anchored properly, the bottom of the stroke will be in the middle of your stance, so play the ball there. If you get it too far forward or too far back, you'll tend to mis-hit putts.
How to Align It
Find a straight putt, and align the putterface perpendicular to the line (I use a string for a visual aid). Hit some putts. If the ball rolls left of the cup, the face was closed. If it rolls right, it was open.
How to Sole It
To putt with consistency, the bottom of the putter should lie flat on the ground. Check this by having someone slide scorecards under the toe and heel of the putterhead at address.