MICHAEL CARMAN’S GOLF COLUMN: Expect new belly putter rules

By Michael carman

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EXPECT MUCH BELLYACHING when belly anchoring of putters is outlawed by the ruling bodies of golf, the United States Golf Association and the R&A.

Dual rulings are expected to be handed down today that would ban the resting of long putters against the body, either on the belly or higher up on the chest.

Long putters by themselves are not expected to be outlawed, just the practice of using the body to help steady the putting stroke, long considered the best benefit of the practice.

Players would have to abide by a “No Touching” policy, similar to an episode of the television show “Arrested Development.”

Rules against the practice are not likely to be enforced until 2016, the next time golf’s rulebook can be updated.

Three of the last five major champions have used anchoring in their putting.

One of those champs, Keegan Bradley, hinted at legal challenges to implementation.

“I’m going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and the other players on [the PGA] Tour,” Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship, told Golfweek.

“I look at it as a whole, as us all together. I don’t look at it as much about myself. I think that for them to ban this after we’ve done what we’ve done is unbelievable.”

Ernie Els once said that as long as anchoring remained legal, “I will keep cheating like the rest of them.”

He changed his tone a little bit after winning the British Open.

“I’ve been against it, but since I’ve been using it, it still takes a lot of practice, and you have to perfect your own way of putting with this belly,” Els said.

Despite the ample room I offer for a belly putter, I’ve never tried one.

I like my trusty Ping Anser 2 just fine.

Golftoberfest slated

Cedars at Dungeness will host a Golftoberfest event on Saturday.

The two-person team tournament will tee off at 10 a.m.

There will be gross, net and Callaway divisions, and teams will compete through six holes of scramble, six of alternate shot and six of best ball.

Players will receive their round, range balls, a German-style lunch, cigars, fun side games and “beer on course every three holes.”

Cost is $75 per person with cart and $65 without cart.

If Cedars gets a full turnout of 76 players, a total of $1,150 in prize money will be up for grabs.

Winners could stash some of those bucks away for Christmas shopping.

To get in the game, stop by the Cedars pro shop or phone the clubhouse at 360-683-6344.

Pre-Christmas golf

SkyRidge Golf Course will hold its pre-Christmas 27-hole golf tournament on Saturday, Dec. 8.

The tourney will play nine holes of Better Ball from the green tees, nine holes of aggregate shot from the silver tees and nine holes of scramble play from the black tees.

This is a smaller tournament, with only 28 two-person teams available to sign up.

Cost is $80 per team, and includes greens fees, range balls, food and competition money.

A honey pot is $20 extra per person and carts are $15 per seat.

For more information, phone 360-683-3673

One-person scramble

SunLand Golf & Country Club has cooked up a fun one for area golfers: a one-person scramble on Sunday, Dec. 16.

SunLand pro Tyler Sweet asks: “Have you ever wondered how well you would score if you could have those one or two shots over? Well this is the tournament for you!”

Players will be grouped in threes and each player will hit two consecutive shots and choose the best one just like a regular scramble.

Men will play from the white tees, seniors 70 and older will play from gold tee boxes and women will play the red tees.

The tourney has a 9 a.m. shotgun start (barring frost) and entry is $40, which includes golf, lunch, prizes and proxies.

The field is limited to 72 participants.

A $1,280 prize fund will be available based on a full field.

Entries are available at the SunLand Golf Shop or email tyler@sunlandgolf.com.

For more information, phone Sweet at 360-683-6800.

Date change

Port Townsend Golf Club has a change in its schedule: the course’s annual Toys For Tots Christmas Scramble will be held a day later, on Sunday, Dec. 16.

It’s an 18-hole blind draw handicap scramble.

Cost is $25 per player with $10 green fees for nonmembers.

Port Townsend’s Holiday Player Appreciation Party and Merchandise Sale will follow play (spouses encouraged to attend).

Check my column in the upcoming weeks for more details on a start time for this event (should be early to mid-afternoon).

The course’s Christmas Tree is up and decorated and contains gift tags that players can use to purchase Christmas gifts for less-fortunate families in Port Townsend and Jefferson County.

Port Townsend will also host a Holiday Blues Scramble on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Winter rates through February are $13.50 for nine holes and $17.50 for 18 holes.

Port Townsend’s 2013 rates will be announced shortly.

Stop by the clubhouse or phone the course for more information on any of these items at 360-385-4547.

Weekly winter skins games at the course begin at 11 a.m. on Thursdays; the cost is $10 plus greens fees.

Eighteen-hole Saturday skins games are available all day, with a $10 entry fee and reduced $15 greens fees.

Stop by the clubhouse or phone the course for more information on any of these items at 360-385-4547.

Playing tough turkey

Port Townsend hosted its annual Turkey Shoot last Saturday, a two-person net aggregate, which combines both players score for a 36-hole total.

Players enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day with the duo of Mike Lux and Brian Lux capturing top honors with a net 136, followed by Terry Rohring and Joe Ruby with a 138 and Jim Fultz and Woody Woodley with a 139.

Wide World of Golf

Arnold Palmer is heading to a video game console near you when the newest Tiger Woods PGA Tour game hits shelves this spring.

Palmer will be portrayed in his early 1960’s heyday when he won three Masters titles in a five-year span from 1960-64.

Gamemaker EA Sports has released no additional details so far, but Palmer’s appearance likely means he’ll be featured in some kind of showcase mode, potentially with other all-time greats from golf.

Arnie will be joined by 25 other PGA and LPGA players including the first appearance of Lexi Thompson, a17-year-old LPGA rookie.

The Golf Channel reported that Thompson spent three hours in August with EA Sports technicians.

She was wired up in a sensor-covered body suit so everything from her swing and walk and other movements could be recorded.

Thompson, who won an LPGA event as a 16-year-old last year, said EA Sports even recorded frustration.

“I had to do anger [after a bad shot],” Thompson said. “It wasn’t like slam my club anger. It was more like a sigh.”


Golf columnist Michael Carman can be reached at 360-417-3527 or pdngolf@gmail.com.

Last modified: November 28. 2012 10:22AM
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