|Permitted putting strokes, from the R&A and USGA infographic|
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.”The Ruling Bodies have provided this explanation as to why the change is being made;
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.
“A stroke is a fundamental element that defines the game of golf and is meant to involve the player freely swinging the entire club at the ball. Anchoring the club relieves the player from making a free swing by restricting the movement of the club as if it were physically attached to the player’s body and thereby providing extra support and stability for the stroke.”Now let me clarify some of the salient points that have been raised.
• Rule 14-1b is not an equipment Rule. There is nothing in the revised Rules for 2016 to stop a player using any conforming mid-length or long-handled putter, providing they do not anchor the club while making a stroke.
• The prohibition on anchoring applies to all types of stroke (i.e. putts, chip shots, pitch shots, full-length shots, etc.), regardless of where those strokes are made (i.e., putting green, fringe, fairway, rough, tee, and everywhere else on the course.)
• Rule 14-1b applies to all amateur and professional golfers playing in any competition that is being played in accordance with the Rules of Golf, as laid down by the R&A and USGA.
• If a player does carry a long-handled putter amongst the 14 clubs that they are permitted, they may use it for measuring club-lengths.
• The penalty for anchoring a club while making a stroke is two strokes in stroke play and loss of hole in match play, on each occasion that the Rule is breached.
• American Pro golfer, Matt Kuchar, has been using a method of putting with a long-handled putter that is still permitted. He holds the club grip against his forearm (i.e. below his elbow) when making a stroke. If you are interested in seeing his method in a short YouTube video, click here.
• A Committee may not introduce a Local Rule, or Condition of Competition, to permit anchoring by any competitor. Anchoring during a stroke is not a local, abnormal condition and to permit it would waive a fundamental Rule of Golf. There are no exceptions for seniors, or golfers with a medical condition.
For most of us the new Rule 14-1b will be of little consequence, as we have never resorted to using longer than standard putters. However, for those of you that believe that a long-handled putter may assist your golf, or may keep you playing the game for longer, you should fully understand the nuances of the prohibition of anchoring. I strongly recommend that you visit the excellent, on-line resources provided by R&A and USGA at these links;
The new Rules of Golf books should soon be available through your Golf Club or Society, courtesy of the sponsor, Rolex. I hope to be providing a link to the new ‘Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2016-2017’ book on my RhodesRulesSchool.com web site, by the end of this week.
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