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The USGA's ban on anchored putting is just plain ridiculous

By Travis J. Brown | May 30, 2013
Travis J. Brown

Some of the rules of golf are just plain foolish.

The USGA announced a change to the Rules of Golf on May 21 that anchoring the club in making a stroke will be banned effective Jan. 1, 2016. New Rule 14-1b means that players who use a belly putter or a long putter will no longer be able to hold the end of the club against their bodies while making a stroke.

Anchoring the end of the putter to your belly or chest supposedly makes putting easier, even though no statistics have proven this to be the case. The practice of anchored putting has been around for decades, but recently became a lightning rod in the sport after four of the past six major championship winners, including Adam Scott last month at the Masters, used an anchored stroke.

Some people say anchored putting is cheating. That makes NO sense to me. A golfer still has to read the putt correctly and swing the putter with the proper speed and touch. Just because he or she can swing the club a little more steadily, that’s cheating?

If that’s the case, then shouldn’t starting blocks be outlawed in track and field? They give an athlete a more steady start to a race, don’t they?

Some people say that anchoring a putter gives a golfer an unfair advantage. How, exactly, is it unfair? Anyone is free to putt in that style. That’s like saying it’s unfair for others to use metal woods while you stubbornly choose to continue using wooden ones.

If anchored putting gives a golfer an advantage, what about those cantaloupe-sized driver heads? Don’t those allow golfers to hit the ball farther without improving their game? Outlaw those next!

A lot of putts have been missed with anchoring. It’s not like anchoring makes every putt magically go in. It’s not like anchoring gives you robotic arms that make every putt find the cup.

“What we have here is a different method of putting,” longtime anchorer Tim Clark said in March. “It’s not wrong. It’s not against the values of the game. It’s still a stroke. People who come out and say, ‘It’s not a stroke, you don’t get nervous,’ I can’t believe that. I’ve been using it for 15 years. I get nervous. I miss putts under pressure. Putting essentially will always come down to 99 percent brain and mindset and confidence.”

The purpose of the game of golf is to put the ball in the hole. Who cares how you swing the club to get it there?

Comments (1)
Posted by: Thomas Langr | Jun 07, 2013 15:49

I agree totally.


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