Many golfers are switching to the belly putter as a way to help with their putting yips. When Bernard Langer switched to the long putter, this seem to help him with his putting problem as with many other golfers who have went to the long putter. So anecdotal evidence suggest that a long putter helps with the yips, at least for older players on Tour. But what about for younger players on the Tour?
The idea is that wrist movement is less with the long putter and you use the larger muscles when putting. Translation: anxiety will not affect the bigger muscles as much as the smaller ones. “When you’ve had the yips, you want to keep the small muscles out of your stroke,” said David Leadbetter, who coached Langer.
Bernard Langer was able to reinvent his putting by changing his method and changing the putter he uses. Sometimes changing something in your game can make you feel like a new person. You don’t have any bad experiences with a new putter. It’s harder to label yourself as having the yips with a new technique.
So is the belly putter a magic wand that brings success to all golfers who hold it? Are golfers using the belly putter as a crutch?
Keegan Bradley, who was the first to win a major on the PGA tour with the belly putter, says it is not an instant cure. “I hate when people think that the belly putter is a crutch for us to putt with. For me it’s just a better way to putt. I always considered myself a good putter before I had a belly putter… I’ve seen guys grab it and it looks like they’ve never played golf before. It’s not like it’s something you grab it and you automatically are one of the best putters on Tour, which is a huge myth,” Bradley says.
So for those who are looking for a quick fix, the belly putter may be the answer. However, Bradley says that adjusting to a new putter takes a lot of practice and dedication to perfect. “I hate the negative press the belly putter gets because it’s not some magic thing that you grab and you can just the first week out you win. It takes hours and hours of practice, and I hope people realize that.”
If you’re experiencing the putting yips, you may want to consider improving your mental game. Switching putters, changing your grip, or changing your putting style might help you temporarily, but it’s only a band-aid to the real problem. What goes on inside your head when you stand over a putt will have a major impact on your game.