Anchoring Ban on Belly and Long Putters
My Reaction to the Ban on Anchored Putting
The USGA and the R&A have agreed to ban anchoring on the stroke in 2016. Evidently, these governing bodies feel they “should amend the rule to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing”.
But is it good for the game?
I’m leaning towards… NO
Anchoring the putter has been around since the 1930’s, but wasn’t really on the scene until Orville Moody used it to win a tournament in 1989. Even then it didn’t gain much popularity until Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els experienced success with it on tour. The USGA emphatically states that this ban is not based on the recent success of these players or performance related, but rather the idea that the putting stroke in the next generation will be changed forever.
I can see their point, the stroke may change. Teaching pro’s are now encouraging junior students to use the belly or long putter. And kids are embracing it because they see their idols using it on TV. Change is happening.
Is that a bad thing?
Steve Stricker said he felt like anchoring the putter provides an advantage. If this were the case why hasn’t he switched?
The reason is belly putters and long putters do NOT provide an advantage. Lets assume they do. Why haven’t great players like Stricker switched? Because anchoring does not turn your putter into a magic wand. It provides a different feel. A feeling that breeds confidence on the putting green. No different than the feeling Phil Mickelson or Mark O’Meara get from the claw grip.
The ban on anchoring putters is the USGA’s way of preserving tradition. But you don’t see players wearing jackets or ladies wearing dresses anymore. What about wooden clubs and hickory shafts. Technology evolves and the USGA has virtually eliminated the ball from traveling farther, the ball from moving faster, club heads from getting bigger, shafts from getting longer. Ultimately they have limited technology. I am 100% in agreement with them on these areas, but putting styles or how you swing a club should not be governed.
The belly and long putters revive careers and provide an alternative to the conventional stroke. It’s not a guarantee for success.
I have never stepped foot on the first tee and felt someone with a long putter has an advantage on me. That will never be the case.
What about you?
What about you?