Ruling on long putters expected

2012-08-31 00:00

GOLF’S ruling bodies, the Royal and Ancient and the United States Golf Association have jointly announced that a decision on what to do about long putters will be made before the end of this year. There are basically two types, the belly putter which is anchored into the belly-button area and the long broom-stick version.

The number of players using them is growing in both the amateur and the professional ranks. Three out of the four major winners this year, won using long putters. Ernie Els, who won the Open Championship, said some years ago that he would like to see long putters banned. He later had putting problems and resorted to a belly putter and said that it makes putting so easy that it’s almost like cheating. Both Els and Adam Scott’s careers have been resurrected by the use of long putters. The statistics speak for themselves. The 2007 Open Championship, with 156 golfers, had only 10 players using long putters (six percent). At Royal Lytham this year, there were 43 players (27%). There was a time when long putters were used exclusively by older golfers who had developed putting problems. Bernhard Langer was one of the first top golfers to use a long putter because he had the “yips” and he was unable to make a normal stroke with a short putter. It seems inconceivable that after more than 20 years in existence and in use by millions of golfers, they will suddenly be banned.

A couple of weeks ago this column featured holes-in-one by the three Hawkins brothers and the four Horsley brothers.

That article seems to have created some interest because your scribe was contacted by Hugh Saulez who plays his golf at Richmond Country Club. Saulez proudly reeled off a list of family members who have achieved the perfect fluke. It reads as follows: “Hugh has had one hole-in-one, his wife, Myrna, has one, his sister Marie (married name Hedley) has one, his brothers John and Anthony have one each. His son Guy has one and his other son Trevor has three, one of which was on a par four at the old seventh hole at Victoria Country Club. His brother-in-law Syd also scored one hole-in-one”. Now that is an impressive number. Can any family beat that?

From the 19th hole

A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. So when the heard is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole. The general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. Naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.

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