I’ve made no secret of my opposition to the anchoring ban. In light of golf’s struggles to attract and retain players, it is stupid to pass a rule that makes the game less enjoyable for a segment of the population. It makes much more sense for the USGA to set the ban as a condition of their competitions. That would allow struggling, non-competitive amateurs to continue to play with their belly putters without suffering the disapprobation of the rest of their foursome. Players who want to compete still would be required to learn to putt without anchoring.
I admire the stand of PGA of America President Ted Bishop in his opposition to the ban. The ban was passed over his objections, but he continues the fight. At the Feb. 8 USGA annual meeting, Bishop will ask for a grace period for amateurs. Bishop writes:
As you know, the USGA and the R&A have approved Rule 14-1b, which bans the anchored stroke, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The leadership at the PGA of America and the PGA Tour both believe that it would be reasonable to offer recreational golfers who anchor a longer period of time to convert to the approved method of making a stroke. For example, when the ‘Grooves Rule’ was instituted in 2009, the USGA allowed a 15-year ‘grandfather period’ for amateurs to switch to conforming golf clubs.
“We believe our request for a ‘grandfather period’ can further assist you, the PGA Professional, in transitioning recreational golfers who do anchor, to the approved method.
I hope the USGA listens. But my head tells me they won’t.