The USGA and R&A have recently ruled against the use of anchoring in their evaluation of the rules of golf. The Daily Shift’s Kevin Bolger has more…
For some, the change has been a long time coming. Irish multiple major winner Padraig Harrington has said that “It’s hard to think you’d find anybody in the professional game using a long putter who didn’t know this day was coming”. Their use has sparked controversy amongst pundits and players alike. But why is it that something as simple as an extra long putter can cause such controversy?
Well according to stars such as Tiger Woods, it takes away from the skill required in using a normal putter, ah he argued that it takes away the risk of nervous twitches effecting the swing, by helping the hand remain still and keeping the club balanced. Irishman Rory McIlroy was of a similar opinion, as he welcomed in a “level playing field in 2016″ through his twitter account.
Technology is constantly advancing in golf to help players get the most out of their clubs, balls, gloves etc. But it would appear this issue has less to do with the equipment involved and more to do with the techniques which clubs such as the belly length putter has made popular in the sport. Techniques which McIlroy deems detract from the game of golf as he believes the new rules will lead to a “better image for the game of golf, (as) skill and nerves are all part of the game”
Indeed this seems to be the main point of confusion for some regarding the new rules. These new rules which will be ratified in Spring 2013 and implemented in 2016 (giving time for those who will be effected by the change to adapt their putting stroke) will not actually ban the use of the belly length putters, but more specifically is a ban on what they call “anchoring”.
The new rule 14-1b states that “In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point”". According to Thomas Pagel, the USGA Senior Director for the rules of golf & amateur status, the aim is to “maintain the fundamental characteristics of the putting stroke”.
To put it simply, in order for a putt to be legal, you cannot rest your hands, arms or club against your body in any way so as to anchor the club and reduce the overall amount of skill and nerve required to take the shot without an anchor point. It seems a fair enough rule and especially at the top of the game, where the players should be able to hold their nerve on the greens regardless.
The USGA and R&A have released this extremely informative youtube video to help explain and clarify the issue even further:
Examples of high profile players who will be effected by the change include the likes of Adam Scott and Ernie Els. Though you somehow feel that players of their calibre won’t be long adjusting back to a traditional putting style.
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