Drop the Anchor!
Drop the Anchor!
It's the End of the Road for the Anchored Putters
A few months ago, PG’s Jack wrote how long putters didn’t have a big enough influence on ball performance to warrant a ban, unlike the technological advances that have produced 460cc driver heads and ever-increasing distances. However, last week, the most talked about equipment dispute in recent years came up against golf’s governing bodies; and the putter lost.
After less than a year after announcing there would be a look into the topic, the R&A and USGA have proposed a rule change that will prohibit the use of anchored-style putters, the clubs that have been used by 3 of the last 5 major winners. From 2016, Rule 14-1b Anchoring the Club, will read as follows:
“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.”
Some players (most notably Tiger Woods) have argued that anchored putters are not in the spirit or history of the game, that all clubs should be free-swinging and that anchoring reduces the natural pressure and nerves of the putting stroke, a skill Tiger once famously controlled at a superhuman level.
However, many have met the ban with criticism, including regular club golfers, teaching professionals, manufacturers and also the tour players who use the technique to make a living, some of whom have had the long putter in their bag for over a decade.
This all begs one question. Where do players using anchored putters go from here? Already we’ve seen Adam Scott trying a short putter with a modified forearm-lock grip, we’ve seen manufactures start making mid-length putters, not long enough to anchor, not short enough to consider standard (see left)
Here at PG we see all type of player, from 20+ handicapper to tour professional, all of whom have their own technique, swing and performance on the course. However, no matter how straight and long your ball flight, when it comes down to it, if you can’t get the ball in the hole, you can’t score.
Putting can all be a matter of confidence, and Scott, Bradley, Els, Azinger and Simpson haven’t got to where they are without being good putters in their own right, it just happened that one day they picked up an anchored putter, liked the feel, holed a few putts and persevered with it. You will always need to pick the correct line, length and hold your nerve. Obviously it’s unfortunate that they no longer can use the technique they’re now comfortable with, but if you can putt with a long putter, they you can putt with a short one, it’s all about repetition.
My advice is to pick a putter, choose your grip and stick with it, rather than continuously changing variables in an already tricky and meticulously precise part of the game. I’ve used my trusty Scotty Cameron Newport for 5 of the 7 years I’ve played golf, and don’t plan on changing it anytime soon.
In a month where the Old Course at St. Andrews, the most historical and famous golf course on the planet is undergoing a controversial facelift to defend itself against modern long-hitting clubs, is it wrong of golf’s governing bodies to propose a ban on simply how a putter is used, in order to maintain tradition? If you have any thoughts, please tweet us at @precisiongolf or Facebook us!
Equipment rules and regulations form a big part of the work that we do at Precision Golf and ensuring we keep up with all the latest news on equipment is as much for our clients as it is for us.
If you’d like more information on equipment rulings and how it might affect your game, or just general information on the services offered at PG then feel free to call us on +44(0)1784 470088, check out www.precisiongolf.co.uk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org