It may be the linked arm of a colleague to save us from skiting on an icy path, a good solid nibbie to aid a Sunday afternoon hirple around the park or a small belt of whisky to open the eyes at the start of the working day.
In the Royal & Ancient game of golf, the long or belly putter is increasingly being used as a crutch to prop up those who have been left feeling blue by their dispiriting form on the greens. In the wake of Ernie Els' victory in the Open on Sunday at Royal Lytham, which was achieved with a wand that tucks itself into the belly, you could say that the stomach is churning again on this hot topic.
To ban or not to ban? That is the question that golf's administrators are facing up to. There is a significant groundswell of opinion against such instruments and all and sundry have offered their thoughts. Luke Donald, the world No.1, admitted at Lytham that he would be "unlikely to go there" with regards to adding this golfing weapon to his armoury and suggested that "I wouldn't mind seeing them not allowed." And Tiger Woods, the former world superpower, is very much part of the old school having nailed his colours to the mast by saying "I'm a traditionalist when it comes to that."
Upon resorting to the belly putter to improve his fortunes, Els famously said that "as long as it's still legal, I'll keep cheating like the rest of them."
And that is what many think it is. Anchoring a club against your body, whether it be your belly, chest or chin is simply not a natural golf stroke and goes against all the basic traditions of the game. Talk of a "pivot point" or a "fulcrum" has no relation to this original method.
Putting is a battle between nerve and technique and traditionalists have stood firm in their refusal to seek technological help.
To watch Adam Scott on the greens is to watch something completely at odds with the game in its truest sense what with his left hand, wrist and forearm anchored against his chest. "My putting has improved out of sight," said Scott of the influence the long putter has had on his game. "Two years ago, I was 180th on the tour [putting stats] and now I'm pretty good. Better than average, I would say."
Of course, Scott's putting went to pot over those closing four holes at Lytham on Sunday to prove that lengthening the shaft and holding it against your body is not some form of pixie dust. You still need to execute the shot when the tension is almost intolerable.
The fact that so many younger players are turning to the long or belly putter is the chief concern and with Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson both winning majors with such tools in their mid-20s the impact and the influence is felt at all levels. The job of banning something once the horse has bolted is fraught with problems. The governing bodies will not want to discourage participation of current and future generations, upset equipment manufacturers who profit from such putters and set about having to create separate rules for amateur and professional golfers.
The march of metal woods and solid-core balls over the years has altered the face of the game and by the time those is charge realised what had happened, it was too late. Is it now too late to do something about anchoring on the greens? The next few months will certainly see a lot of belly-aching.
AND ANOTHER THING . . .
Amid the all-consuming frenzy of an Open Championship, it can be easy to lose sight of other notable events on the golfing calendar.
This week, the Scottish PGA Championship is taking place over the King's Course at Gleneagles but you'd be forgiven if that one had passed you by.
When the Tartan Tour's programme of tournaments was confirmed earlier in the season, there were widespread groans from the golf writers when it was discovered that one of the domestic game's most cherished events was starting the day after the Open and would run into the star-studded Senior Open, which starts on Thursday at Turnberry. In terms of publicity, it's a calamity for the Scottish Championship.
Two years ago, the event was switched to an October date but concerns over the condition of the course at that time of the year prompted a move back to a summer slot.
Given the bewildering weather in this country, it was perhaps inevitable that yesterday's opening round was abandoned due to rain. You really can't win.
Contextual targeting label: