Can Sergio's Belly Putter Save Your Stroke?
Sergio Garcia didn't close the deal at Carnoustie, but his new belly putter got him really close. Imagine what it could do for you.
By Top 100 Teacher Eden Foster with Jessica Marksbury
While Sergio Garcia continues to blame everyone but himself for the empty spot in his major trophy case, his play at Carnoustie was nothing short of spectacular. Just a few weeks ago he had missed the cut at the U.S. Open, an anomaly that many attribute to a familiar weak spot in his game: inconsistent putting (Garcia ranked 158th in putting last year).
At the British, however, he made almost everything he looked at. He one-putted nine times in his first round and finished the tourney without a three-putt. His secret? A switch from a standard-length putter to a belly-length model. The move paid immediate dividends. If, like Garcia, you struggle with getting the ball into the hole, a belly putter may be the solution.
2 of 5Bob Martin/SI
Should you make the belly switch?
If you have difficulty keeping your putter on line or don't have steady hands, then you're a perfect candidate to give a belly putter a test run. Because you anchor the grip end of a belly putter in your gut, there's less chance that your hands will pull or push your putterhead off line. The only downside to the belly putter is lessened freedom and feel-qualities that require active hands (your "feel" centers).
3 of 5Al Tielemans/SI
A major difference
The biggest difference between a belly putter and a standard-length model is the most obviouslength. But that doesn't mean you should putt with a taller posture. Stick to your regular putting stance and grip. Take a look at Sergio with his old flatstick and his new belly putter. His posture is the same.
4 of 5Robert Beck/SI
Make sure it fits
If the lie angle is correct, the butt end of a belly putter should press gently into your stomach when you take your regular stance. Fit is paramount. Belly models run from 38 to 48 inches is length. If yours is too long or too short, then you'll have to make a posture change. Usually this results in discomfort and inconsistent putting.
5 of 5Bob Martin/SI
Let the putter do the work
The toughest part about using a belly putter is keeping your body still. Just like a regular putter, you power a belly putter with your hands and arms, but the added length of the club will make you feel as though you need to pivot your body. Resist the inclination to rock your hipskeep the end of the club secure in your belly and stay still!
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