USGA and R&A ban anchored putters…. Does this ruling helps the game?
Today the USGA and R&A, governing bodies of our sport, announced the adoption of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf, which prohibits anchoring to the club to your body in making a stroke. The new Rule will take effect January 1, 2016. For some, including myself, this decision is very controversial and it hurts our game more than it helps. Do we really need more rules?
Long putters have won four of the last six major championships. Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship, Webb Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open, Ernie Els won the 2012 Open Championship and just weeks ago Adam Scott won the 2013 Masters. Fact is experts are all in agreement that by affixing the putter to your body, part of the stroke is eliminated and as a result, in moments of stress, it takes some nerves and some pressure out of the putt which is part of our game. Presented in such way, it may appeared that a ban was more than a necessity to make competition fair for all PGA Tour players…. but what about the rest of us?
The reality is very different when you attend an afternoon summer league at Palm Aire Country Club and 80% of the senior players use belly putters, why? The answer is very simple…If a 60-year-old guy with an 18 handicap can’t make a three-footer with a short putter to save his life (because natural aging shakes) and the belly putter is banned, how is he going to enjoy playing? Isn’t that just going to push more people away from the game? Think about that…
Professional golfers should be treated just like any other professional athletes out there. Let’s consider baseball for instance… pee wee leagues make every sacrifice to make the sport fun, kids don’t even have outs! The use of aluminum bats is allowed all the way to College and then a provision is made by MLB to ban the use of aluminum bats, simple… no controversy there. Personally, just like in baseball, I think anchoring putters should be banned for the pros. I think they give an unfair advantage to guys who can’t putt and are finding ways to get around it. But the rules in golf should be different for amateurs mostly because golf is hard enough as it is.
In the mean time the perennial tug-of-war continues between one group of people, and I humbly include myself, who wants to grow the game and make it more fun for the masses, playing shorter tees and making it faster… and another group who continuously make more and more rules, extend the length of golf courses and make it impossible for the rest of us humans to enjoy the game. The USGA and R&A are moving forward a ban that probably should have happened back in 1991 when I first saw a belly putter…. not now.