Anchoring the putter isn't cheating; USGA, R&A ruling does nothing to improve golf
When the USGA and R&A made their announcement yesterday essentially banning anchored putting (Rule 14-1b), I wasn’t planning to comment on it since it really doesn’t affect me. I say that because I’m not currently using a long putter, though I have in the past with varied success.
But then again, it really does affect me; it affects everyone, whether you anchor your putter or not. The reason? Because most of us don’t play golf alone.
Now the ruling doesn’t go into effect until January 2016. And in truth, when it comes to casual golf, you’re really free to putt however you want. But in the spirit of the game, most of us try to play by the rules even in casual games, especially when there’s money on the line.
Now that golf’s ruling bodies have essentially condemned long putters (yes, I know you can use a belly putter as long as it’s not anchored against the body), how many casual golfers will continue to use them? I suspect some will, but many will not. Most players really don’t want to feel the scorn of their playing partners. And I can guarantee that more than a few disputes will break out over wagers that involve players using belly putters on the course.
Short-game guru Dave Pelz believes it hurts casual golfers more than anyone.
“I’ve personally seen thousands of golfers in my schools and clinics who have tried and struggled with short putters,” Pelz said. “Belly/long putting has saved the game for them. These are good people, good golfers, and having them involved is important to this wonderful game. You shouldn’t drive them out of it because a few guys have won important tournaments with belly putters.”
So what does this ruling to do to casual golf? It renders thousands of putters to the scrap heap basically. And for putter companies that have a lot of these putters in inventory, this is a major hit to them as well. And that’s too bad. This really wasn’t a problem that needed to be fixed – on any level.
So Keegan Bradley prefers to use a belly putter. So what? Has it hurt the game? Are we watching or playing less golf because of it?
Players have been anchoring putters for decades, but now that a few who do it are having success, it’s essentially no longer in the spirit of the game?
For players like Bradley, it works. But there were really are some drawbacks to putting that way, namely feel on longer putts. If anchoring the putter was really that much easier, every player who makes a living at this game would be using one. It would be too expensive not to.
For what it’s worth, if you play with me, I really don’t care if you use one. The problem is, someone else will.
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I'm so against it, I'm advocating a boycott of the USGA by anyone who can affect their finances, including members, tournament sponsors, equipment companies, etc.
I notified them immediately that I won't be re-upping a membership.
Reason will not prevail in this case. Economics might. Or a successful court case.