Anchoring, Belly and Long Putters

Frank,

May be a silly question, but since it looks as though the belly putter is not long for this world, is it possible to have mine cut down to a standard length of 34 or 35 inches?

Tom
Illinois

I have a Frankly Frog belly putter but I would like to buy a regular length Frankly Frog putter to prepare myself for any future rules changes?

Wolfgang
Germany

Tom, you certainly can cut your putter down to a regular length if the head weight is about 350 grams, and the lie angle is about 72 degrees. Don’t worry about swing-weight because it is meaningless in putters –head weight is most important not the static balance called swing-weight. Your rhythm will depend on the MOI of the system – comprised of your arms, hands and the putter.

Wolfgang, you certainly may order a regular length Frankly Frog, and you both should also consider pre-ordering our new book, The Fundamentals of Putting which will help you not only transition to using a regular length putter if this is what you wish to do, but also offers advice on alternative styles of putting, such as sidesaddle putting which will be permitted should the proposed rule be adopted .

The USGA and R&A announced today that they are proposing a rules change prohibiting anchoring, not banning long or belly putters. This rule change proposal will be open for comment for three months and then if adopted will take effect in 2016. Both bodies have stated that it is not a performance issue but rather defining a swing, and that anchoring is not considered to be a traditional stroke.

At present, the statistics show that the best putters on PGA Tour – based on the new and very good statistic i.e. “Putts Gained” — are not using a belly or a long putter.

Mike Davis the Executive Director of the USGA said, “The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.”

Peter Dawson, Secretary of R&A said, “Our concern is that anchored strokes threaten to supplant traditional putting strokes which are integral to the longstanding character of the sport.”

Unfortunately defining anchoring is a little vague and requires a lengthy explanation along with graphics. This always creates problems with interpretation and enforcement.

Mike Davis indicated that enforcement would be based on intent of the player – which I applaud, because the game is unique in this respect as we call ourselves on infractions – BUT the rule must be clear and unambiguous for us to self-enforce it.

How much are we prepared to preserve “Tradition”?

If the solution turns out to be worse than the problem then it would not be wise to introduce such a change.

In the long term if the problem really is the long-putter – even though we are not now prepared to admit it — then we may be better off by making a rule that the putter must be the shortest club in the bag.

Let us know what you think by sharing your comments below.

Frank

29 thoughts on “Anchoring, Belly and Long Putters

  1. If USGA/R&A wanted to ban the anchored putting stroke, they should have done it long ago. Asleep at the wheel appears to me.

    • Jim, they are asleep. They also fib. They say this ruling is not about performance- wrong! They could care less if a few creaky seniors, pro or otherwise use long putters.. BUT once the major winners were non-traditional putters—- Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY.

  2. First as to the putter being the shortest club in the bag. How about those of us with back issues who can not practice for more than a few minutes with a very short putter. As to a storke being defined – no one putts anything like they hit any other shot in golf ( I give you Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as only two examples). As to maintaining “tradition”, if that were really a serious issue we would all be playing hickory shafts and staff blades and wooden woods and balata balls at the very least.
    The USGA has just lost me as a dues paying member. The ruling bodies remind me of chicken little – “My goodness there is a young kid on the practice green with a belly putter The Sky is Falling The Sky is falling. Never mind the kid has a driver the size of a toaster, irons weitghted so they cannot be missed,,a putter head that looks like a space ship, a 64 degree wedge for those nasty little short sided shots that require a lot of nerve with real clubs, this doesn’t even address the fact that he plays a ball fitted to his shot pattern. Yep, that anchored putter is a blight alright.

    • Could not agree more. We are RECREATIONAL GOLFERS > We probably never seen or read the rules of Golf and if we did adhere to them then that 5 hour round is now 7. Even the pros whose livelyhood depends on rule knowledge get penalized for some minor infraction or mis-understanding. Why make rules for .001% of the population that affect 99.999% of the remainder who are playing a $2 Nassau and not A Million dollars. For the GOOD of the GAME or let’s go back to the stone age of Hickory shafts and the feathery

Comments are closed.