The long putter ban and you: A survival guide for amateurs

Keegan Bradley's making the best of what time he has left with his long putter. You should, too. - Ross Kinnaird

Now that the USGA has decreed long putters and anchored strokes to be illegal, does this mean you have to throw away that new belly putter you'll get for Christmas? Not so fast, John Q. Golfer!

Mike Davis and the USGA just killed Santa Claus.

OK, not really. But he did just announce that long putters will be illegal as of January 1, 2016. However, chances are many amateur golfers will receive long putters as gifts this holiday season, especially with the clubs' popularity among major-winners on the pro circuit. Now what the hell are you supposed to do?

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to get the most from your long putter for the next three years.

  1. Stay Calm - Take a few deep breaths, sit back and meditate.There is no reason to panic. Even though you just spent $300 on that new belly putter, you still have three solid years to putt the living shit out of the thing. Now is not the time to be irrational. Everything is going to be just fine.
  2. Use your putter as much as possible - Three years isn't a lifetime folks, so you're gonna need to use that sucker as often as possible. Is your home course closed for the winter? Book a trip to someplace warmer. Don't worry about the cost; we're talking about your classic "if the world was ending" scenario. Have an office at work? Putt balls into cups, copiers, garbage bins and secretaries. Clergyman? The rectory just became a putt-putt theme park.
  3. Embrace your rebellious side - Some of the biggest moments in history were started by people who didn't follow the rules. Christopher Columbus. Albert Einstein. Steve Jobs. Dennis the Menace. You have three full years to play golf with a club that will soon be illegal! You naughty golfer, you.
  4. Experiment with other putting strokes - The USGA ruling is banning the anchored stroke, not putters themselves. This calls for a little creativity. Experiment with new ways to grip your long putter the next time you practice. As long as you aren't touching another part of your body with that putter grip, you should be golden!
  5. Completely give in and obey the status quo in 2016 - Let's face it; after three years of rebellious fun, you're probably going to hate that stupid long putter. Your friends and family have probably disowned you. Your wife has left. Your dog chewed on your golf shoes. By now you'll be better off to just purchase a traditional putter and fall into line with the other lemmings.
  6. Brace yourself for the next ban - If the USGA can take away your fun long putter, is anything truly sacred? It is your responsibility to expect the unexpected and realize that golf is a game and none of this is really that important. Rules are changed all the time, so it's best you simply get used to it.
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