Royal St George’s sec appears on Newsnight

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 20, 2013 09:40

The secretary of Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent has appeared live on BBC’s Newsnight, talking about ‘belly putting’ with Jeremy Paxman.

Tim Checketts, club secretary of the Open venue, explained the new ruling over anchoring long putters to the body, along with Royal St George’s head professional, Justen Fiddler, to the Newsnight host on June 4.

Tim received a call from the BBC just a few hours before the programme was broadcast, inviting him and his colleague to appear on the show, as Royal St George’s is the nearest Open Championship venue to the BBC’s Regent Street studios in London.

The duo chatted to Jeremy Paxman prior to appearing on-air, and discovered that the presenter’s son is a member of Huntercombe Golf Club in Oxfordshire, but that Paxman himself prefers cricket to golf.

Justen said it was a ‘genuinely unique experience’ while he was also one of the few guests to have ever appeared on Newsnight who Jeremy Paxman accepted knew more about the topic of conversation than himself.

“Considering Paxman’s reputation I think we did well to come away unscathed,” he said. “Tim did a brilliant job of coming across in a very calm and relaxed manner, while I managed to demonstrate that belly putting isn’t as easy as some players make it look.

“Going to the BBC studios, getting the guest speaker treatment and seeing what it’s like behind the scenes was terrific. We both found that going on live television is one of those genuinely unique experiences that we’ll never forget. It only really dawned on me what it really meant as we were travelling up there, and that there’s no room for error on live television.

“Nonetheless, we’ve had lots of good feedback from members of the club, PGA colleagues and friends, and being in the rare position of showing we knew a lot more than Paxman about something will always bring a smile to my face when I think about it!”

As of January 1, 2016, there will be a two-stroke penalty in competitions whenever the golf club or gripping hand is intentionally held against the body.

A spokesman said: “The pair made an error-free foray onto live television to explain to the viewers all about this critical situation in the world of golf.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 20, 2013 09:40
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  1. Graham Bradley November 28, 13:56

    For me, I think the r & a should ban short putters as they have won many more majors then belly or broom handle putters! but I’m not bitter having used a broom handle for 20 years. Looking forward to the return of the yips and retrieving my ball from water hazards with my wedge instead of my putter. But on a serious note I do notice that the rule change was decided by or influenced by golfers who don’t use such a putter…..Tiger Woods, Tom Watson for example. I wonder what the outcome would have been had they been users of fixed point putters like many other Professionals who’s careers would have been very blighted if they had been banned or not approved in the early stages, Bernard Langer, Bob Torrance for example….both ex Ryder Cup Captains. Perhaps this will make sure the r and a take care not to approve other products too quickley in the future.

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  2. Nicola Simmons June 20, 12:46

    I thought the belly putters were being banned?

    I do find these rules very confusing

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  3. Brian Kingston June 20, 11:57

    This subject should have been sorted 20 plus years ago and not now by sneakily making a new rule of golf.
    As for thinking that it makes it easier for some to putt is open to discussion.
    If it is easier then why isn’t every golfer using the outlawed method.
    The rule as described in the article is not as understood when the rule was published with diagrams to show how it would or would not be allowed. “Whenever the golf club or gripping hand is intentionally held against the body” . Please correct me if I am wrong but it showed that the arm at the elbow should not be anchored when using the long putter.
    I am as is plain a user of the long putter and if it is only the hand then I will be able to continue using my “Magic Wand”.

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