The "Anchoring Ban"
I'm one of the most traditional guys in this game. I still think that Hogan, Nelson, Snead and that generation defined the modern game. I think the golf ball goes too far, and modern equipment has changed the game from one built around precision to one built around power. And I don't like that one bit.

I worry about the obsolescence of great old courses that just cannot be stretched to 7500+ yards to challenge the modern tour player. And I think the PGA Tour is as much a negative influence on the game as it is a positive one.

And it was there, based on the success of a handful of high-profile golfers ... particularly in a recent run of major wins by Bradley, Simpson and Els ... that the USGA and Royal and Ancient apparently has seen what they consider a "problem." So they've rolled out a "solution", which will ban the practice of "anchoring" the putter, the upper hand or the forearm during the putting stroke.

I'm a believer that a ruling body is necessary to monitor the game and its rules. Without rules, it's a free-for-all, and none of us want that. But is this method of putting really a challenge to the integrity of golf? If anchoring the putter is something that helps a recreational golfer find continued enjoyment, isn't that good for the game as a whole? Or is it better to finally tip the scales in favor of the yips, which I'm certain is a significant reason why some golfers leave the game behind for good.

If you've never suffered the yips, you can't objectively weigh in here. I can. I've suffered from them since I was in my early 20s. Johnny Miller said there were only 3-4 years in his career when he didn't. Ditto for Bernhard Langer. But for every one of those high-profile players, there are dozens or hundreds of recreational golfers who suffer ... many to the point of considering quitting.

I could be one. If I didn't love this game so much to spend my entire career chasing a better idea in equipment, I could see myself having quit years ago. Really. When a 2-5 foot putt is more daunting to you than a 205 yard shot over water to a tough pin placement, the game begins to take on a whole new challenge. If you've never been there, you just don't understand. In an interview this week, Johnny Miller said it's like a woman trying to explain to a man what it's like to be pregnant – if you haven't experienced it, you'll never understand.

So, here go the ruling bodies, making a new rule to "protect" the integrity of the game. "It doesn't look like golf." Well so what? Neither does two guy in tank tops and cargo shorts, with a cooler of beer. Caps on backwards. Untucked shirt tails. Drivers the size of a Volkswagen. Or sandals with spikes. Or spikes made of plastic ... Who gets to decide whether it looks like golf or not, anyway?

Sound off, readers. What do you think of the proposed ban?
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

[ comments ]
ally1957 says:
whats wrong with a rule for competition and a rule for "pleasure" golf they alraedy do it for range finders
tampagolf says:
Very concerned for the players presently using anchored putting, legally I might add, especially the pros and some smart ass patrons yelling 'cheater' at these players. I believe that what the USGA and R&A have done is put a target on those players backs to be accused and abused for doing something that is perfectly legal. They will have to endure this for at least the next 3 years if not longer even though they may no longer anchor. I'm sure that was not intended by the USGA and R&A, but then we see a lot of unintended consequences in our daily lives. By the way Terry I love my SCOR 4161 wedges.
scottishguyiniowa says:
I completely agree Terry and have posted about the Rules Bodies mistake in not controlling the rules around driver design instead of putters. Yes Lee Trevino did say 'drive for show and putt for dough' but when the amateur game is being changed beyond comprehension they should have stepped in. The courses I played 20-30 years ago should really be having their pars altered because people are hitting their drives so much further. There would have been a simple fix while I was playing to limit drivers to persimmon or 'wood' only, but I think there is NO WAY the club makers would allow this now because of the variety of materials it allows them to test.
To quote ally1957: 'pleasure' golfers make up their own rules to suit anyway from my own experience but make those rules law for the round for everyone. If you wish to play in competions which are governed by the Rules of the Game you should abide by them.
wshenne says:
Anyone who has tried an anchor putter will admit it's an unfair advantage. The ban should be put in place immediately! It's a cheater stick and anyone who has won a tounnament with one should be disqualified.
Benjamin says:
Golf, or any other competition, is designed to test certain mental or physical skills. The trend of altering any game to accomodate those who lack those skills bothers me. On the other hand the rules makers in this sport are so far removed from the real world (I could write pages on this) that I have litle respect for them. If you want to compete follow their rules. If you want to play do what you and your partners can agree upon.
12/3/12 says:
The wedge guys comments are interesting but does this mean that sports should allow 'gadgets' just so it helps people with the yips. i dont think so.
Ban them now. For people with the yips - get over it !
Shaman_K says:
Who's going to stop you from using an anchored putter on a golf course.. no one.
tw9111 says:
If Tiger was using a belly putter you would not hear a peep out of anybody. Don't worry, he has tried several and they just don't work for him. He's a snake and he does anything he wants to get somethong. This will cripple a lot of putter companies too!!
4dbleagle says:
Not everyone uses a longer putter because of the "yips".I use one for my back. I putted very well with short putters for years,but as the pain increased I had to find relief & did so with the belly putter. It was NOT an over night fit,it took about a year to get back to where I was with the short putter. Long putters require a total differant approach from a fast green to a slow green. It is much easier to adjust with a short putter.
I'm not whine'n or complaining - I love golf & the competition.
BUT - if they want to make it fair for EVERYBODY, then limit all drives to 250yds no matter if you hit it 100 or 400 yds off the tee. NOW, whats the differance in penalizing one natural ability over another? This rule has been in the book for too long to just yank it out. Everybody has the same opportunity with this rule no matter how far you hit it.
If they want to get rid of a stupid rule: my vote is for ball moving after grounding the club/partiality when on the green!
[ post comment ]
Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
Most Popular: