Back in December, I went to one of those quirky "white elephant" holiday gift exchange parties, one some old college buddies and I have been doing for years now.
Believe it or not, I considered wrapping up one of those long belly putters a great many golfers -- both pros and amateurs alike -- have been using since long before my buddies and I even thought about organizing an annual Christmas party.
I actually bought a used one from the guys over at the Edwin Watts-Uinta golf store in Riverdale.
Problem was, I couldn't bring myself to give it away (especially not considering we had a $10 spending limit anyway).
Me admitting I bought the belly putter as a white elephant gift is actually pretty laughable.
The truth is, I'm a deeply devout contrarian. I'd never really considered the belly putter as much of an option -- a gimmick at best, really -- until the United States Golf Association and Europe's R&A decided to ban the darn things back in November 2012.
Suddenly, upon hearing the arguments against those long putters, which can be anchored to the body to steady a golfer's stroke, my mind began racing.
As an avid golfer whose scores sadly don't reflect my love of the game, I'm always tinkering with golf stuff.
New clubs, range-finders, towels, tees, grips, shoes, gloves and even sunglasses -- shoot, I'll try any of them if I think it'll give me a little help.
Oddly enough, though, I figured those goofy-looking long putters were too gimmicky.
I was watching the Golf Channel ("My name is Jim and I'm a golf addict") the morning the USGA and R&A issued their joint proposed ban on anchored putters. The entire experience was like a clinical case study into my weakened -- and weekend -- mind.
In the course of, oh, maybe 90 minutes, I went from having no opinion either way, to thinking a long putter could actually be useful, to telling myself, "Oh baby! I gotta have one."
So I got one and it's sitting in my bag right now. Of course there's snow on the ground and unless I make a trip to St. George in the near future, I'm not going to be testing my new toy any time soon.
Honestly, all that talk back in November about how the anchored stroke gives users an unfair advantage opened my eyes to the whole belly putter scene. I heard the debates, took notice of the PGA Tour players who use the long putters and even asked the folks at Edwin Watts-Uinta about the advantages and disadvantages.
But here's my problem: I've got one and I've been practicing with it in my basement for about three months now. I can't wait to use it on the course once this stupid snow finally melts.
Unfortunately, it looks for all the world like the USGA is going to ban them, even though they've been letting golfers get comfortable with them for several years.
In proposing the ban, the USGA and R&A said there would be a 90-day discussion period after which time they'd lay down the law (although not officially until Jan. 1, 2016).
That 90-day period ends later this week and it sure looks like the two governing bodies are going to implement the proposed ban (even though the PGA Tour may chose to ignore it).
There's nothing to say I can't still use my belly putter for years to come. After all, I don't really play competitively and I doubt my golf buddies are really going to penalize me for using it.
Still, even though I'm a terrible contrarian, I like to follow the rules. Therefor, what I'm really hoping for -- what I really believe -- is that the USGA and the R&A will/should come to their sense and create two sets of rules in this case: one for the amateurs and another for the pros.
There are a number of valid reasons why a guy like me might find the belly putter to be a useful tool, not the least of which are back problems and nerve issues.
Let the guys who play for $10 million checks play by a tougher set of rules. Let us regular hacks get all the help we can find.
Oh, and by the way, a belated Merry Christmas.