I do not actually remember how the subject of putting side saddle came up the other day. There are so many different putters, grip styles, and strokes it makes even my head spin! But what I noticed is fairly consistent among Pro’s and amateurs alike is the putting stance, its almost always square. What gave me pause was the legality of putting side saddle, or, in other words, a very open stance, similar to a croquet address. Reason for my concern is because I putt side saddle! I look a lot like Jack in my address with the putter…

Another gentleman you may have heard of, Sam Snead, adopted an almost strait-on croquet stance due to a case of the yips.

My stance is pretty much a happy medium between Jack and Sam. But again, I questioned whether the USGA allowed such a stance. So after posing the question to Twitter (yea, I know…), and getting an even number of “yes” and “no” answers, I was on a quest to find the ruling! You know you love coming along on a “Jay Quest”!…

Here is the answer as quoted from the USGA:

Rule 16-1.e: Standing Astride or on Line of Putt

  • “The player must not make a stroke on the putting green from a stance astride (straddling), or with either foot touching, the line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball.
  • Exception: There is no penalty if the stance is inadvertently taken on or astride the line of putt (or an extension of that line behind the ball) or is taken to avoid standing on another player’s line of putt or prospective line of putt”
  • So basically, I interpret that to mean you can stand as open, square, or closed as you want, just as long as both feet are on one side of the line of the ball to the hole.