by Jeff Skinner
The debate on “long putters” continues as a highly regarded amateur and one of the USGA’s own attacks them for not acting to ban the longer putters that so many players are toting lately. Vinnie Giles is a career amateur and recognized as one of the most powerful amateurs in the country. He has been a member of four Walker Cup teams and also served as a captain. He is one of only two men (Bill Campbell) to win both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Senior Amateur.
He railed against the long putter and the USGA’s failure to act to ban it. And this comes from a man that uses one of them.
“It’s been a good eight years that I’ve used a long putter,” Giles said. “I could go back (to a conventional short putter), and I wish the USGA had the guts to outlaw them (long and belly putters).
“We should not be able to putt with those things. We shouldn’t be able to putt with anything attached to our bodies.
“Why they’re so gutless, I don’t know. I want them to just say, ‘OK, we make the rules.’ If the PGA Tour wants to say, ‘We’re not gonna play by ’em, we’re going to bifurcation,’ fine, let ’em go.
“But we, as the USGA, should definitely outlaw those putters. There’s no issue, as far as I’m concerned. Nerves are part of the game. Crutches aren’t, and these putters are crutches.
“And that’s coming from somebody who uses one. It’s a lot easier for somebody who doesn’t use one to make that comment. I’m 100 percent in favor of a ban of them.”
Many may think that it is too late for the USGA to take action but as we saw with square grooves the USGA can take action, even if it takes them a decade or two.