R&A and USGA ban anchored putting

After years of debate, the R&A and USGA call an end to the belly putter

Wed, 28 Nov 2012
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The R&A and the USGA have announced proposed changes to the Rules of Golf that will prohibit anchoring the club to the body when making a stroke from January 1, 2016.

Following extensive review, the game’s governing bodies have issued a statement regarding a proposed Rule 14-1b, which would ‘prohibit strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player’s body, or with a forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club’.

The proposed new Rule would not alter current equipment rules and would allow the continued use of all conforming golf clubs, including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are not anchored during a stroke. The proposed Rule, they say, targets only a few types of strokes, while preserving a golfer’s ability to play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style.

The proposed Rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016, in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf. This timetable would also provide an extended period in which golfers may, if necessary, adapt their method of stroke to the requirements of the Rule.

In proposing the new Rule, The R&A and the USGA concluded that the long-term interests of the game would be served by confirming a stroke as the swinging of the entire club at the ball.

“Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball,” said USGA executive director Mike Davis.

“The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.

“This is not an equipment change. We'll continue to have long and belly putters. This is all about the stroke. We think this is good for the game going forward.”

Added R&A chief executive Peter Dawson: “We believe we have considered this issue from every angle but given the wide ranging interest in this subject we would like to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any new matters for consideration.”

Visit the R&A website for more, including a Q&A and a helpful video.

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