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Brent Kelley

It's Official: Anchoring Ban Coming to Rules of Golf

By May 21, 2013

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The USGA and R&A announced Tuesday morning the adoption of Rule 14-1b - the ban on anchored strokes - effective Jan 1, 2016. So as of that date, anchoring a belly putter or long putter will be against the Rules of Golf.

The decision to affirm the proposed rule - after its original unveiling last year, and following a 90-day comment period - comes despite loud opposition from both the PGA Tour and the PGA of America, and from some rank-and-file golfers. Almost all of that opposition was inside the United States, however; in territories governed by the R&A (essentially the rest of the world), opposition to the proposed anchoring ban was virtually absent.

It will be very interesting to watch the reactions of the PGA Tour and PGA of America now, and particularly to hear the reactions of professional golfers who anchor longer putters. Some of those, such as Adam Scott, have already said they'll continue using their long putters but with a small adjustment - moving the butt end of the putter off their bodies (in other words, removing the anchor point). Others, like Ernie Els, say they'll go back to a conventional putter. But others, such as Keegan Bradley, Carl Petterss0n and Tim Clark, have been far more vocal in opposition to the ban, even suggesting the possibility of legal action. (Nearly three months ago I wrote a commentary titled "Why the PGA Tour will ultimately go along with anchoring ban.")

As for recreational golfers: Just keep in mind that the Rule 14-1b does not ban belly putters and long putters, only anchoring those putters. If you need a broomstick putter because of back problems, you can go right on using one - just move your top hand off your chest (eliminate the anchor point). If you anchor a belly putter to fight the yips, try bracing a belly putter against your forearm instead (the Matt Kuchar stroke, which remains legal under 14-1b).

In other words: Don't panic. There are options, and there'll be more coming as equipment manufacturers and golf instructors react to the rule and explore alternative means and methods. Plus, you have 2 1/2 years to continue anchoring, while experimenting with different styles of putters or putting.

When Rule 14-1b goes into effect in the 2016 Rules, it will read thusly:

14-1b Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either "directly" or by use of an "anchor point."

Note 1: 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.

Note 2: 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.

Both the USGA and R&A have sections on their websites detailing the decision to implement Rule 14-1b, and great photos and videos explaining what types of putting strokes are (and are not) affected by the new rule. See the USGA anchoring section or the R&A anchoring section.

What you need to know about Rule 14-1b

See also:
PGA Tour, PGA of America statements
LPGA will adopt anchoring ban


May 23, 2013 at 8:05 am
(1) RBF says:

Tf the PGA does not go along with the ban they are WRONG.

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