Are Tru Roll Putters Legal? — (and The Broken Rules)

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The round-faced club known as the Tru Roll Putter is illegal in tournament play.

Tru-Roll Putter inventor Sheldon Long set out to design a new putter style that delivered proper distance control and a consistent roll even on mis-hits when he came up with the cylindrical putter head design.

The thinking behind the design is that the ball will always come into contact with the “sweet spot” of the club head, as the equator of the cylinder will always contact the ball. 

This round face is precisely what makes the club illegal, unfortunately, and golfers will be better off improving their hand position and putting stroke as opposed to purchasing a Tru-Roll Putter.


Legality of the Tru Roll Putter

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Every year the USGA releases their list of conforming golf clubs and golf balls. The Tru-Roll Putter had never appeared on this list of conforming clubs, and it is unclear if the manufacturer has ever submitted the design to the United States Golf Association for review. 

Leading golf putter manufacturers like Scotty Cameron, Bettinardi, Odyssey, PING, TaylorMade, and Titleist all submit a new design to the USGA before releasing it to market.

This ensures that the club is conforming to the rules of golf is essential. 

If a putter design is considered to be non-conforming, it will not be deemed eligable for use on the PGA Tour, which is one of the top ways that manufacturers drive club sales. When a tour player uses a certain brand of putter in tournament play, it is broadcast all over the world for golf enthusiasts to see, and gives the club validation in the eyes of many customers. 


The design of the Tru-Roll Putter is illegal for a couple of different reasons.

First, the club face of a putter must be of a “plain” shape, a category that this shiny cylindrical putter does not fall into.

While the USGA does allow some flexibility in terms of face angle and inserts on putter faces, it must still maintain a basic flat shape

The Tru-Roll Putter is also illegal because the design allows it to be used with putting methods that are not allowable. The bottom of a conforming putter is flat and keeps the golfer from being able to tilt the club more than 20 degrees forwards or 10 degrees backwards while maintaining ground contact

The intention behind this rule is to keep golfers from using illegal golf strokes by angling the shaft too far forwards or backwards. With a Tru-Roll Putter, the golfer is able to stand behind the ball and push it like a shuffleboard paddle, or stand in front of it and pull it towards them.

These “pushing” and “pulling” motions are a far deviation from a traditional putting stroke that the rules of golf are trying to encourage. A legal putter will sit flat on the turf in a legal position, making it highly unlikely for the golfer to use it in an illegal fashion.


The Broken Rules

You don’t need to look too deep into the USGA’s rulebook to find an infraction with the Tru-Roll Putter. The very first rule in the rulebook, “1.a(1) – Design” states that to be considered legal, “The clubhead must be generally plain in shape and have only one striking face

The Cylindrical design of the Tru-Roll is not considered to be plain in shape.

Additionally, the design allows for the back side of the putter to be used as a striking face, as it is identical to the front face of the putter. 

Section 1.d is a bit more complicated, and it covers shaft projection. According to the official USGA interpretations of the rules of golf, this rule “is particularly relevant to putters and it exists mainly as a means for disallowing croquet style putters (with vertical shafts) and shuffle-board style strokes. It also seeks to limit the potential for more standard putters from being used effectively in a vertical or near-vertical position using a pendulum-style motion.”

Essentially, the interpretations state that this rule was specifically designed to discourage the design and use of putters exactly like the Tru-Roll. The USGA is trying to maintain the integrity of the traditional golf stroke, and is hoping to discourage non-traditional putter designs.

Conclusion: Research by

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While the consistent sweet spot placement and unconventional design may be tempting for golfers who are struggling on the putting green, the team of experts at Tell Me More Golf always recommend sticking with golf clubs and other equipment that is certified as legal for play by the United States Golf Association.


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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