You say using a two-faced chipper is illegal. So how did Notah Begay get away with using a Bulls Eye putter both right- and left-handed in the same round? I distinctly remember him going through a period when he putted left-to-right putts left-handed and right-to-left putts right-handed. Subsequent rules change? Different rules for a putter? —EUGENE ELY, SAN JOSE, CALIF.
Eugene, you were not alone in your (rather accusatory!) query. Putters were first exempted in the 1976 Rules of Golf from the Equipment Rules — Part 2, Section 4d, my fellow nerds — that say a clubhead must have only one striking face.
This exemption was made to permit the continued use of traditional blade-style putters like the Bulls Eye — it specifies that the two faces must have the same characteristics and be opposite each other (presumably to prevent Picasso-like Cubist putters).
Anyway, today, even less traditional two-faced putters may be used as long as they conform to all the relevant Rules of Golf — a useful case of “bothsidesism.”
Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!