Broomhandle and belly putters could have spring-loaded shafts to make them more comfortable for women golfers.
The clubs, with extended shafts – Vijay Singh used one to win yesterday’s Shell Houston Open (March 31) – are growing in popularity in men’s professional golf. But so far they are hardly used at all on the women’s world circuits.
Manufacturers are keen to promote them into the LPGA and Evian European Tours but top makers like Ping and Callaway are dismayed they are not being picked up, despite the putting improvements shown on the male Tours.
However, one equipment supplier now has 48-inch and shorter ‘belly’ versions at drawing board stage with spring-loaded shafts to make them more attractive to women golfers.
"We have many women pros on our playing staff," said a spokesperson " and they tell us they would dearly love to be able to putt like Vijay, Scott McCarron, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia. But the long putter is unsuitable because of the physiology of the women’s body.
"Also when they have tried it in practice, they say that as well as being a little awkward to grip, it tends to leave distinct and unattractive marks on their chest or tummy."
Now the R&A and USGA, the Rules legislators have been approached to seek permission to supply spring-loaded versions which would be more comfortable to use.
"Our development technicians," the spokesperson added, "have been working on inserting a soft spring into the shaft, making the pressure point at the top of the handle less uncomfortable when placed against the body and leaving no traces at the end of a round."
However, the new models, which could also coincide with the introduction of a new form of ‘belly wedge’ are not expected to be available before April 1, 2003.
Tell us what you think on The Forum.Should spring-loaded putters be available only to women golfers to help their putting?