From the Archives
Illegal putters from the past
Will the belly putter be added to these non conforming putters from golf's past?
Jason Cheong, Interim Curator of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame
Published on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 11:22AM EDT Last updated on Monday, Nov. 05, 2012 10:53AM EST
The debate over belly putters and their legality in golf has been ongoing for quite some time.
Their use on the PGA Tour continues to increase and several players are seeing some positive results while using them. Three of the last five Major champions have anchored their putters including Webb Simpson, Ernie Els, and Keegan Bradley.
The United States Golf Association and the R&A have had discussions about a possible change to the rules which would prohibit the use of anchored putters. The players who use them say it provides more consistency. Those who oppose their use say it provides an unfair advantage. But for now, there is no rule prohibiting their use.
The debate over the belly putter got me thinking about some of the unique examples of putters we have in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame & Museum’s collection. Golf club manufacturers have always attempted to redesign and improve clubs for the betterment of the player and their game. You might scratch your head when you see some of these designs, but all of them were made with the intent of improving consistency. All of the following designs do not conform to the Rules of Golf. Will the belly putter be added to this list in the near future? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Pendulum Putter:
The small triangular head of this putter was weighted to assist with follow through.
The Roller Putter:
This putter has a traditional design with the exception of the roller on the bottom. It was meant to provide a smooth swing while putting.
The King Putter:
This design features a bent shaft, and a croquet style head.
Two Way Putter:
Either side of this putter was meant to be used. It also features a forked shaft. Other types of clubs appear with this shaft. The theory was that it would prevent turning of the club.
The Hammerhead Putter:
It’s easy to see how this putter got its name. The face was designed to allow more consistent ball striking, or so the theory goes.
The Strokemaster Putter:
This cumbersome design features an attachment that is used to line up the ball with the correct position on the club face.
You can see more illegal club designs at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, or on our online photo database.