Serious golfers support anchor ban, survey says

Carl Pettersson
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PGA Tour player Carl Pettersson is among the vocal minority of players who has spoken out against the proposed ban.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013 | 12:22 p.m.

Are you for the proposed ban on anchoring the putting stroke, or are you opposed?

Since the USGA and R&A announced their plans for the anchoring ban in late November, we've heard every possible opinion from every type of golfer. But with so many competing arguments flying through the air, it's been difficult to get a handle on whether the golfing public as a whole is for or against the proposal.

Now, however, the Golf Datatech research firm has some numbers. Golf Datatech surveyed 1,766 golfers at random from its exclusive Serious Golfer Database, which is made of up golfers who play an average of 68 rounds per year with an average handicap of 14.3. And their finding is:

--almost two-thirds of the golfers surveyed feel the rule change won't impact their game, while only a third of the golfers who use a long putter will continue to play regardless of the ruling.

''This is such an explosive topic in golf that we felt the industry needed a benchmark for evaluating the opinion of the game's most avid players,'' said Golf Datatech Partner John Krzynowek. ''On a practical level, the proposed ruling on anchoring putters has minimal impact on most amateur golfers, as only 5 percent use a long putter, and the majority of serious golfers don't believe long putters aid in the putting process.

''Overall, however, the debate over long putters has far more to do with a few elite professional players and less to do with the game as played by the average golfer.''

The key findings in the Golf Datatech study include:

--Among the respondents who had an opinion on anchoring the putter, 45 percent believe that anchoring makes it easier to putt, while 55 percent believe that anchoring doesn't make it easier.

--60 percent of the respondents believe that golf's governing bodies should ban the anchoring of clubs, while 40 percent believe they shouldn't.

--62 percent of the golfers surveyed don't believe the anchoring ban would cause some amateur golfers to enjoy the game less.

--And if the proposed rule is enforced in 2016 as planned, 31 percent of current long putter users will continue to anchor their putter. Another 31 percent won't anchor their putter and the final 38 percent would switch to a conventional putter.