Anchored putting ban: Understanding Rule 14-1b

What is acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to Rule 14-1b?

Ashley Weller
Wed, 16 Dec 2015
Anchored putting ban: Understanding Rule 14-1b

As of January 1, anchored putters will go belly up under the new Rule 14-1b. But it's not all doom and gloom for belly and broom users, as our resident PGA ref Ashley Weller explains. 

The essence of the Rule is to try to head back to where the club is swung freely with both hands, rather than being anchored either directly or by use of an anchor point. 

Related: Anchored putting ban

Let's take a closer look at the strokes that are and are not allowed under Rule 14-1b.

What does 'Rule 14-1b - Anchoring the club' mean?

In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either 'directly' or by use of an 'anchor point', writes Weller, PGA Rules Panel member and PGA advanced professional.

What the pros say: Anchored putting ban

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.  

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.

What happens to belly and broomhandle putters?

It must be emphasised that this is not a change of rule regarding equipment, so if your putter conformed to the rules before then it's still ok to use in 2016.

It is how your club is used that has been changed. Additionally, this rule is not restricted to strokes made on the putting green, it applies to all strokes.

Arm Lock putter: Bettinardi Kuchar Model 2

Which strokes are not allowed under Rule 14-1b?

Here are two examples of direct anchoring (see below), where the club or a gripping hand is in contact with a part of the body and as such have been outlawed under the new rule.

TaylorMade boss: Anchored ban makes no sense

Which strokes are still allowed under Rule 14-1b?

Players may may hold the club or gripping hand against a hand or forearm, as Matt Kuchar highlights below.

For the purposes of this rule the forearm is the part of the arm below the elbow and includes the wrist (Decision 14-1b/3).

Reaction: Golf community talks anchor ban

Here is another example of an allowable putting action - as now adopted by long-term anchor user Keegan Bradley - because neither the club, nor the hands nor the forearm are intentionally held against the body.

Broomhandle putters can still be used, as long as the club, hands and forearm are not anchored against the body.

Whilst the rule-making authorities have, perhaps belatedly, made a move to outlaw a style of putting that is at odds with the traditional free-swinging motion a golf stroke was designed to be, they have made the new rule sufficiently narrow to still allow a variety of actions to offer a crumb of comfort to those golfers afflicted with the putting woes.

Too little too late? Unnecessary clampdown against golfers who struggle over a tricky four footer? Either way, it's been three years of proposals, comment and objection, but it's finally here so let's get used to it.

Which side of the argument do you sit on? Is anchored putting for the good of the game? Share your thoughts in the forum below or on Twitter