The much-talked about ban on anchoring putters is here. Today, the USGA and R&A released proposed rule 14-1b, which would state:
14-1b Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.”
Note 1: The club is anchored “directly” when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.
Note 2: An “anchor point” exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.
The ban will take effect January 1, 2016, giving players using the putter four years to make a change.
I don’t like it. As noted here before, I think the USGA and R&A set a precedent years ago in ignoring this putting style. There are a good many players—such as Keegan Bradley—who have never used any other type of putter. In my view, it is too late now to revoke it. I also think golf’s ruling bodies have just made the game more difficult for a large number of recreational players. My guess is that the long-putter players I know will just ignore the ban and continue playing with their anchored flatsticks.
I can tell you this as a teacher: when you have rules that are both routinely ignored and unenforceable, the authority figure loses both respect and authority. That’s where the USGA is heading. I know of no one who routinely plays with the stroke-and-distance penalty on lost balls (my own pet peeve). I believe that many long putter players will now ignore the anchoring rule. In the meantime, on the other hand, the USGA and R&A continue to ignore what I view as far more critical issues, such as the new breed of super golf balls and pace of play.
Is this apocalyptic? Of course not. But it does make me wonder how seriously the USGA takes its mantra: “For The Good of The Game” Perhaps it should say: “For The Good of High Revenue Championships For Highly Talented Players.”