Let us face it. Most people have not read the Rules of Golf. However, you may wonder if you can putt with clubs other than the putter.
Maybe your putter just broke, or it is on its last leg, and you want to know how to proceed in a breakage situation. Will you be allowed to use a driver instead of the broken putter? A wedge? An Iron? A wood?
In this article, we will tell you exactly what The Rules of Golf have to say about whether you can putt with clubs other than a putter.
Can You Putt With Clubs Other Than A Putter?
Yes, you are generally allowed to putt with any golf club, as per the Rules of Golf, including the driver. However, certain local golf courses may ban certain golf club types being used on the green, such as wedges, as they damage the delicate turf on the green.
Putting with a club other than the putter is generally not a smart idea, but it is usually permitted.
In fact, nothing in the Rules of Golf prohibit a player from putting with a club other than the putter. Yes, this means you can putt with a driver if you want to joke around or give your younger sibling an easier chance of winning. Call it an improvised real-time handicap.
However, there are certain specific situations in which putting with a club other than a putter is a smart idea.
Although the Rules of Golf permit putting with any club, local golf courses may have differing rules.
For example, you are technically allowed to chip off the green with a wedge, but that damages the turf with divots. Therefore, many golf courses will prohibit you from using wedges and other turf-damaging clubs on the golf green.
On such a golf course, you cannot putt with any golf club, just with those that do not damage the turf.
When Should You Putt With Clubs Other Than A Putter?
You should consider putting with clubs other than a putter only in 3 situations: 1) if your putter breaks; 2) if the hole is very far away from you, or uphill, and you think you might lack power; 3) if you want to lob the ball over an obstacle directly blocking your golf stroke line.
Although putting with a club other than a putter is generally the golf equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot, there are some viable use cases.
There are 3 general situations that warrant putting with a club other than the putter:
1) Your putter breaks or suddenly feels defective, even though you cannot visually see any damage.
2) The hole is very far away from you, making you doubt your ability to deliver enough power to the ball. This sense of lack of power is magnified if you are at the bottom of a slope.
3) There is an obstacle directly in the line between you and the golf hole. In these cases, lobbing the ball over the obstacle can save you strokes.
In the first case, if your putter breaks, then you have no choice butt to use a different club to putt. In these situations, make sure you favor a club with a flat club head face. Some people will even resort to the driver in such cases. You want a club that most closely emulates the putter.
In the second use case, if the golf hole is very far away from you or uphill, you may be afraid you cannot generate enough power with the putter to reach the hole. Some golfers may then decide to opt for a club with more carry distance.
Generally, this means swapping the putter for a short distance wedge or the shortest iron in the bag. However, you need to be wary of the lift and bounce these alternative clubs can give the ball.
By not using the putter, you are a bit setting yourself up for an approach shot rather than a shot to sink the ball in the hole. You are trading some accuracy and gentleness for more power and distance.
In the third and final situation, if there is an obstacle directly blocking your stroke line, then you may consider lobbing the ball over the obstacle. In many cases, a lob wedge will be favored for such a conundrum.
Lobbing the ball over an obstacle can save you one or more strokes, as you are giving the ball a direct path towards the hole.
By shooting the ball along the ground, unless the topology of the green allows for an adequately curved stroke line, you may need multiple putts to get the ball the same place it would otherwise with a single lob.
Lobbing the ball off the green with a wedge is technically allowed, but some golf courses will prohibit it, as it creates a divot in the turf. If your local golf course allows chipping off the green, you should still repair the divot created with a divot tool (like the Callaway 4-in-1), or risk others complaining about you.
Outside of the 3 situations described above, using a golf club other than the putter to putt is generally not a good idea. The putter is designed with a flat face to give you a true stroke without lift; use the putter for the situations it is designed for.
There you go! After reading this article, you know exactly what to do in case your putter breaks, or if you simply do not feel like using it.
You have learned that nothing in The Rules of Golf prevents you from putting with clubs other than the putter. However, you also now know that certain golf course house rules will prevent you from using clubs that damage greens, such as wedges, which create divots.
Finally, you learned the situations in which it can be beneficial to putt with clubs other than the putter.
Would you ever putt with a club other than the putter? Which club would you choose? Let us know in the comments down below!