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Readers Letters - Nov/Dec 2012

Golf’s governing bodies need to get a grip

So Peter McEvoy and Robert Green have concerns over the long- and ‘belly’ anchored putters . The problem should have been dealt with years ago. It is up to the R&A and the USGA to sort this mess out. It is, in my opinion, akin to cheating, unsightly, and has no part in golf.

Surely one way forward would be to specify the maximum grip length, and rule that both hands must be placed upon it. And there must be no bracing or anchoring of the club against any part of the body. Then the putter could be any length, but try using a fifty inch putter with, say, a ‘regulation’ 12-inch grip? If you cannot cope with this most important element of the game, why should you find a way around the rules to cater for your weakness?

What next? Extended clubs for ‘belly’ chippers! Pro golf is becoming farcical!

In cricket, if you cannot deal with fast bowling, you cannot ‘widen’ your bat, nor in tennis enlarge your racket, so why allow golf to cater for the inadequate.

Frightened of manufacturers legal actions? How can the authorities be held to account by equipment makers?

Surely it is up to those who enforce the rules to do just that.

Dare I say it, I’m beginning to love Tiger Woods – a golfer who at least wields a traditional putter!

Terrie E. Gibbons, Suffolk

The legality of long putters? It’s complicated

I think all the smart money is on long putters being banned by the R&A. But how will they do this?

The obvious answer would appear to be creating a rule that imposes a maximum length for a putter. But then shorter players could lean over and use a standard length putter as a belly putter.

So as that doesn’t work. How about not allowing the putter to touch any part of the body except the hands? That does outlaw belly putters, but with broomsticks it is the upper hand that rests against the sternum – so the club itself does not actually touch the body. To get rid of broomsticks, too, you’d think it would be as easy as preventing the hands touching any other part of the body during a stroke? Well, what about those supple enough to follow through on their drives to the extent that their hand touches the front shoulder?

What about an inadvertent brush of the hands against your thigh while putting? And anyway, broomsticks can still be very effective even when holding the upper hand just a centimetre or two away from the sternum so they would still be in use.

Perhaps, then, insist the hands are in contact with one another during the stroke? This is not always the case in the claw grip and the like when using standard putters – do the R&A want such grips banned also? Unfortunately this rule would also end the timesaving tapping in of a shorty one handed. And, most importantly, such a rule would contravene the Human Rights Act for anyone with only one hand.

Besides, the R&A may not realise this, but it is necessary to consider the legality of the grip used for broomsticks itself. Because I took a standard putter, bent right over and used the broomstick grip with my bottom hand just a few inches above the putter head. I looked absolutely ridiculous but sank twenty- five 6 footers in a row! I might have made even more consecutive putts but my back told me it was time to stop…)

So perhaps you could provide an article with the thoughts of your staff on just how the R&A could impose their will on this one? (And maybe even your team’s thoughts on whether such a ban is really needed at all?)

Peter Walker, via email

Custom fit, revisited

Coming home for a break last month I purchased Golf International at Heathrow (Issue 112) and followed a few of the features that made the cost of the magazine seem modest to the value you deliver through your pages. I play golf with a group of guys who seem to change their clubs pretty frequently, and, to be honest, with so much new technology on the market, it is tempting! Your feature on custom fitting the Mizuno way – “Cracking the Code” – convinced me there was something new out there for me, so I returned to the PGA fitter I bought my current custom-fitted set from about 3 years ago prepared for a hefty hit on my credit card. Surprisingly (for both the pro and myself), none of the drivers I tried gave me any further advantage to my custom fitted set, and we tried quite a few.

It was a similar story with the irons, though he did recommend some adjustments to the lies and adjusted the angles making them a bit more upright – now that has made a big difference.

All in all, it was a great re-fitting experience, one that underlines the value of the expertise you can expect from a PGA pro.

Oh, and Dave Peltz’s article “It Ain’t Rocket Science” was a shortgame masterclass that offers a very accessible way into a higher level of short-game, and it works (or it will with practice!).

Great magazine, thank you. I’m waiting for the next edition to arrive.

Tony Regan, Bogota, Columbia

Simple truths of putting

I used to be as guilty as anyone in over-using trite euphemisms for describing putts that didn’t drop. For example, ‘the pace wasn’t quite right’ (i.e. I left it short), ‘it was a slight mis-read’ (it never went near the hole), ‘it slipped by’ (it went near the hole but it was never going in), and ‘it lipped out’ (it went really near the hole but still didn’t go in).

This changed, however, following something my daughter said. She’d spotted I’d put a new screen saver on my laptop – a picture of me putting on a golfing trip abroad. “Did it go in or did you miss?” she asked. Well, as it happened, that particularly putt had not gone in. But I found myself being very defensive and explaining to this increasingly bored teenager how it had been a very slick green and not only was I putting down a steep tier but there was also an additional 3 feet of right to left borrow. Thus the fact I had cosied it up for a tap in was more than acceptable. “So you did miss it” was her instant reply.

It was then I realised that what seemed an incredibly harsh assessment was actually spot on. Putts go in or they miss. As simple and as pure as that. There’s really no need to couch it in clichés or disguise it in fancy phrases.

Now to me the extension of this way of assessing performance on the greens is that every putt has a 50-50 chance – because it either goes in or it doesn’t. And this mindset has rejuvenated my approach in two ways.

Firstly, no matter how difficult a putt is it has a 50-50 chance. Secondly, should I miss then statistically the likelihood is I will make the next one so as to retain the 50-50 odds.

No doubt the statisticians among GI’s readership may be itching to explain to me how this conclusion is erroneous. However, I have no intention of listening. Because these beliefs have resulted not only in an incredibly positive attitude when standing over the ball, but also a greater number of holed putts!

S Holden, Swanley, Kent

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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