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February 21 2012

2:36 PM

Tip from Travis: Belly putter basics

Who says it’s difficult to control distance from long range with a belly putter? Not Bill Haas, as the talented young American captured his fourth PGA TOUR title by dropping a bomb on the second playoff hole to win the Northern Trust Open. Live Report ImageThere is no question the belly putter has officially made its way from the Champions TOUR to the PGA TOUR. Not only did Bill Haas operate the oversized putter beautifully this week, but Keegan Bradley certainly made it look easy with the long stick as well. At the TOUR Academies, we get a lot of questions about the belly putter, and whether or not many of our students should invest in one. There are many things that the belly putter can help you with, and it only makes sense to talk about what the belly putter perhaps can do for you. TRAVIS' TIP One of features concerning the belly putter is it promotes a natural arc to the path of the putterhead. What’s important to understand is the putterhead works on a slight arc, and not a straight line. How you set up to the ball will determine greatly to how natural and instinctive this will happen. With a good set up -- and a belly putter that fits -- it can really help promote not only the natural arcing action during the backstroke, but also the necessary release of the putter head through impact. Secondly, the belly putter promotes the perfect ball position. Once anchored, the ball position should be slightly forward of center and under the lead wrist. In addition, notice how the lead wrist is slightly cupped. This wrist position, and its relationship to ball position, are critical because it represents the low point of the swing arc. As the putter head swings on its natural arc, the putter head will be moving slightly down out into impact – much like the golf swing. The key is when this happens is the putter face and the path of the putter head is matched up at impact. Unlike a full swing 7-iron, when putting this impact dynamic should occur close to the low point of the swing arc, promoting a repetitive path-and-face relationship from any length distance.
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