Prominent golf organizations issue statements on proposed USGA-R&A anchoring ban


Series: Industry News

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | 10:22 a.m.

The leaders of many of golf's most prominent organizations have reacted to the proposed ban on anchoring strokes unveiled Wednesday by the USGA and R&A. Here is a sample of their statements:

PGA of America President Ted Bishop:
"The PGA has long supported the USGA in its role of establishing the Rules of Golf governing play and equipment. We have representation on the Rules of Golf Committee and we have tremendous respect for the USGA in regard to their critical role in writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf.  As our mission is to grow the game, on behalf of our 27,000 men and women PGA Professionals, we are asking them to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people's enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game."

The PGA of America also surveyed its members:
A PGA of America survey, conducted in November among the Association's 27,000 members, resulted in 4,228 PGA Professionals responding, representing nearly 16 percent of the total membership. The survey revealed that nearly two-thirds of the respondents oppose a change in the Rules of Golf that would ban the anchoring of any golf club.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem:
"We did give the USGA our position -  our board and player advisory council concluded that we should be opposed to it (proposed ban), which we articulated. We're very supportive of the USGA. We hold it in high regard. We were asked our opinion and we feel strongly that going down that road would be a mistake.

"If there's one thing that would prevail across a lot of our players and a lot of our board members is that it's been around for a generation and the game of golf has done quite well. Unless you have a compelling reason to change we shouldn't. And the USGA has indicated there's no performance advantage to using anchoring . . . What the data shows is there isn't an anchoring putter on the PGA Tour that's in the top quartile in the putting stats."

LPGA Tour Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann:
"The LPGA has consistently conducted our official events in accordance with the Rules of Golf as defined by the USGA and the R&A.  We certainly respect golf’s governing bodies and their long standing desire to protect and promote the best interests of the game. The proposed new Rule 14-1b prohibiting ‘anchoring the club’ in making a stroke is not yet final and the LPGA will wait with interest while the USGA and R&A consider further comments and suggestions from the golf community. In the meantime, we will continue to discuss this proposed change with our players and provide our input and thoughts directly to the USGA and R&A."





I definitely believe the USGA needs to further evaluate the long and belly putters before they decide to ban anchoring. As has already been stated, for one thing, you waited way too long on this and there probably isn't any real proof that the anchoring long and belly putters offer a real advantage. Professionals were bound to eventually win majors with long and belly putters simply because the numbers of those putters have been increasing on tour. By trying to ban anchoring the USGA and R&A have sent a bad message to golfers and that to me is basically that it is okay to employ something that might not be intended in playing the game of golf, as long as that method isn't used to win a major tournament. The USGA and R&A have blown it on this one imho.


Outlawing belly putters is a perfect example of the USGA being out of touch regarding the problems in golf today. All along the Delaware Valley I am witnessing golf clubs struggling to stay out of debt. The belly putter has opened up golf to a number of new players. Meanwhile, this belly putter does not provide enough profit to the golf club companies like the golf and driver do, therefore it is easy to outlaw an entire way of putting for today's golfer. Courses are struggling to stay relevant with the increase of distance each year that the player can hit the ball. Right now we are witnessing Merion Golf Club being chopped to bits in a last ditch effort to add length to one of the great golf courses in the world so that it can once again be a US Open worthy golf course. I would ask the USGA to keep an open mind to the advances in golf across the board.


The fact that it took years for the USGA & R&A to arrive at this decision tells me there is some question about the uniformity of this rule. Isn't there enough actual experience with these clubs to arrive at a scientific conclusion about advantage gained? If they were that effective wouldn't everyone be using them? You waited too long. These clubs have become a part of golf at all levels. Leave it alone.


I hope the USGA reconsiders the proposed rule change, their silence for decades on the issue speaks volumes, and to allow metal heads and balls that have made 6500 yd courses obsolete but to now make such a big fuss over anchoring putters doesn't make much sense to me. If the USGA doesn't want anchoring as part of USGA golf, then I hope the PGA and its tour players have the gumption to make anchoring a part of PGA golf.

I would rather watch tournament golf with the likes of Snead, Owens, Langer, Singh, Mickelson, Azinger, Els, Braddley, Scott, et al., experiment with putting strokes and putters as they struggle to be better players, like we all do. 2016..... maybe it will be the year the PGA and its players say the heck with the USGA and its archaic rules.