There’s certainly been a rise in the discussion of belly putters lately – especially after seeing them make their way into the hands of more and more PGA players and then with the drama related to the consideration of a ban. Naturally, all of this talk and controversy caught my interest, so I thought I’d give one a shot and see how it worked out.
I’ve always used a traditional putter and I tend to be pretty good on the greens. Although I’m not an exceptional putter, it’s one of the stronger and more consistent parts of my game.
So, why a belly putter? No compelling reason really – just a desire to try something different.
The belly putter that I chose to stick in my bag was the Boccieri P3-M. In addition to having the additional length of the belly putter, this is the first mallet putter that I’ve used in a long time. My typical setup fluctuates back-and-forth between a variety of standard-length blades.
I only spent about 10 minutes on the putting green before taking the P3-M out for a round. Those 10 minutes left me feeling pretty disoriented, which was pretty much what I expected. Regardless, I wanted to get the putter out and on the course and see what happened.
That first round ended up being ok. I had a few additional putts above my average, but I typically expect that with any new putter. Near the end of my round the putter started to feel more natural and I ended that first round with a good impression of the putter. The fit was perfect, the mid-weight was comfortable, I really liked the way the putter felt, and I was happy with the look of the putter.
After my round was over I spent an hour on the putting green rolling putts from various distances and trying to dial in the feel. By the time I walked off the green I felt like I had a solid feel for the putter and was looking forward to seeing how my game progressed over my next few rounds.
The second round with the putter had me back to my normal putting average and I had a few long putts that dropped. The only thing I felt like I really struggled with in the first few rounds was that I tended to “wobble” on my backswing a bit (this was non-existent with my standard-length putters). The wobble eventually wore off as I became more comfortable in anchoring the putter and the “wobble” hasn’t returned.
It’s been close to two months now (about 10 rounds) that I’ve played with the P3-M and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the putter. The look and feel of the putter are great and I feel extremely comfortable with the belly-length added to my lineup. My stroke is smooth and consistent and my putting average has improved a few strokes since I added the belly putter to my bag.
I’ve spoken to many others that I’ve seen using a belly putter out on the course and I typically ask them about their experience. One common thread that I’ve heard is that many talk about the tradeoff of stability for feel. I have to say that I’ve never noticed this tradeoff personally. While getting a feel for a new putter always takes a bit of time, the P3-M gives enough feedback that I don’t find the feel of the club to be a problem and I do think that my stability has significantly improved.
If you’re looking for a new putter, then I certainly recommend trying out one of the Boccieri putters and I also encourage you to test out one of the belly putters and see what you think (belly length is available for all the Boccieri putters). The variety of weighting options and the options in loft, lie angle, length, and head styles from Boccieri gives you a great set of possibilities to build your ideal setup. The weighting distribution of the Boccieri putters takes a bit of getting used to – but it’s a wonderful feel after you get past the initial difference in feel.
If you do decide to make the leap to a belly putter – realize that dialing in the length of putter is critical. If you are being fit for the putter then this isn’t a problem, if you are ordering the putter online then checkout the recommended measuring procedure to make sure that you dial in the length.
If you want to see some additional images of the Boccieri P3-M that was used for this review, you can see many more high-resolution photos in the Boccieri Golf P3-M Belly Putter Photo Album on our Facebook page.