Conventional putters typically range from 32-36 inches in length, belly putters from 41-44 inches, and broomstick putters from 48-52 inches.
However, most often when the term "long putter" is used, it is used to refer to a specific type of putter, and in this usage "long putter" and "broomstick putter" are the same thing.
As noted, the long putter/broomstick putter typically is from 48 to 52 inches in length, allowing the golfer a more upright putting stance. A long putter's grip is typically split, with grip at the butt end of the club, then bare shaft, then more grip lower on the shaft. The golfer grips the long putter with his top hand (right hand for a right-handed golfer) on the upper grip section, and bottom hand on the lower grip section.
In their original usage, the golfer's top hand and the butt end of the putter were anchored to (pressed against) the golfer's sternum, chest or even chin, and that "anchor" served as a fulcrum point to make a pendulum swing, which the golfer initiates using his lower hand only.
On May 21, 2013, golf's governing bodies announced the adoption of rules rules change that will outlaw anchoring. The new Rule 14-1b (Ban on Anchoring) goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, at which point anchoring will be "illegal." Long putters, however, will remain perfectly "legal" under the rules, so long as they are not anchored to the body. A golfer can continue using a long putter by keeping both hands away from one's body - a method some users of long putters have used all along. (Click on the preceding Rule 14-1b link for a more in-depth discussion of the rule, what it allows and what it prohibits. A key thing to remember, however, is that new rule doesn't outlaw long putters, only the practice of anchoring them to the body.)
A long putter is typically used by golfers who struggle with the yips when using a conventional-length putter; or golfers who have back problems or other issues that make using a more upright stance preferable. Long putters are therefore more associated with senior golfers, although it is becoming more common to see them used by golfers of all ages. Golfers who are "wristy" or "handsy" with conventional putters can benefit from the long putter, which takes most wrist action out of the putting stroke (however, this is more true when the putter is anchored, which, as noted, will not be allowed post-2016).
Long putters - both broomstick and belly versions - were always somewhat controversial because of that anchoring.
Facts about the coming ban on anchoring
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