Stand up putters came back into focus this week after a video of former baseball hall-of-famer John Smoltz went viral this week.
Despite the video capturing much attention on social media, in which the putter is seen standing up behind the ball on the putting green alone while Smoltz walks to assess his line, stand up putters aren’t actually new.
The modern world may have thrown the unique Bloodline-branded putter—which Smoltz successfully used to defend his Celebrity Pro-Am title at the LPGA Tournament of Champions at Diamond Resort—back into prominence and caught the attention of golf fans worldwide.
In truth, however, they have actually been used at a much higher level than Smoltz finds himself playing at. Ernie Els previously used the Bloodline putter on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, claiming six of his career wins while it was in the bag, and another former world number one Vijay Singh has also used a stand up putter too.
It might seem highly illegal at first glance when seeing the picture of the putter standing behind the ball all by itself, but it conforms to all requirements according to the rules of golf.
An explanation from the USGA, states that Stand Up putters can be used “to assist a player in taking a stance or to point out the line of play only when the putter is placed right next to the ball,” as detailed in a statement to GolfWeek after the emergence of the video of Smoltz.
Smoltz added: “Everybody I play with says ‘That’s illegal. I make a lot of putts in casual games. People are always looking to see where to get [the putter] online. Because honestly if you can trust the line—you’re not always going to have the right line—but if you can trust it, that’s half the battle.”
Bloodline claim to be the industry leader when it comes to Stand Up putters, but others have also entered the fray including S7K.
Bloodline sell the stand alone putters by marketing them as solving two common problems—misalignment and lack of confidence over putts. The solutions being to align from behind the putt with the putter in place, rather than from behind and then lining the putter up from the address position.
It seems pretty obvious that looking straight down the line of the putt, a duty that caddy would naturally have previously performed for their tour star before the rules surrounding assistance were changed in 2019, would be a major help.
S7K, meanwhile, market their stand up putter with the slogan of “Set It. Stroke It. Sink It” and again the reasoning behind the creation of the putter is all about correcting the alignment issues that are the cause of missed putts.
“Making putts requires aligning the putter face precisely to your intended line,” S7K say. “How precisely? Consider: An alignment error of just over 2 degrees will cause you to miss a straight-in 5-footer. From 10 feet, your margin of error is just over 1 degree.
“It turns out this seemingly easy task isn’t easy at all. Which helps explain this eye-opening stat: On putts inside 10 feet, fewer than 10% of golfers consistently line up correctly.
“With the S7K Putter, you can place the blade behind the ball and line it up precisely while looking directly down the line. Then you simply take your stance, place your hands on the grip, and make your stroke.
“You set the putter down, you step away and if you made a mistake, you can see it from behind the ball immediately.”