USGA, PGA Tour and Anchoring?


I listened to Tim Finchem on Sunday during the golf broadcast and he said that the PGA Tour is not in favor of the USGA’s proposal to ban anchoring.

What do you think about this possible rift between the USGA and the PGA Tour?


I would like to thank you for the question the answer to which is on the minds of a many people. As you may know, I have a fairly strong opinion about anchoring.

I think that the process we need to follow when changing a rule is relatively simple.

First, define the problem clearly and make sure it is a problem or potential problem. If we cannot clearly define it then maybe it is not a problem.

Second, find a solution which, in its application and acceptance is no worse than the problem itself.

Third, gain acceptance – by being totally transparent about the change and providing justification for it – from those (the constituents) who only have the best interests of the game at heart. Without the consent of the constituents — through their voluntary acceptance and adherence to the Rules of Golf — the guardians lose their authority to govern.

I do not believe that we have always followed this simple and logical procedure. I also believe that we have very much more important problems in the game,  such as slow play, that needs to be addressed at its root cause, long before a cumbersome and ambiguous rules change such as anchoring.

Providing justification is in turn the obligation of the guardians when they consider making any significant change to the game.

The game has survived — as has the authority to govern it — because of its very nature and sound governance. It has attracted many generations because the rules lend order and – in most cases — make intuitive sense. Let’s keep it this way.

The fact that Tim Finchem has rejected the proposal to ban anchoring is not in my mind, a reflection of a rift between the USGA and PGA Tour but rather a response solicited by the USGA. Well done to the USGA for requesting comment and now let it follow with serious consideration of these comments.

If the change does not make intuitive sense and has only subjective justification then acceptance by golfers as whole should not be expected, and it is better to find this out before adoption. The PGA Tour has made a considered comment as have many others and it is incumbent on the USGA to heed these comments.

We all have the right, and indeed the obligation, to provide our candid input regarding changes, and if we are not convinced that there is ample justification for the change we must say so.

Let’s accept sound, transparent and wise leadership but help those who lead us in their mission to protect the challenge and preserve the spirit of our wonderful game.


P.S. Please leave your comment and let us know what you believe are the most immediate problems facing the game and which need to be addressed.


26 thoughts on “USGA, PGA Tour and Anchoring?

  1. Leave the belly and long putter alone, but to your question Frank:
    Golf (randomly) evolved into 18 holes and 14 clubs ….. If it were 9 holes and 7 clubs I think it would be far more popular ……..

    Everyone is busy …. In theory I am a keen golfer … but I really dislike golf dominating a day …. other than the occasional tournament.

    I would play a lot more if it were just 9 holes in the norm ….. and fewer clubs would make the game more challenging and fun! ….carrying clubs would be far more common

  2. I believe putting is a separate game from the rest of golf, so I think it is acceptable to allow anchoring in putting. The putting setup, grip and stroke really don’t look all that much like a golf swing. It’s two separate games.
    Here’s a compromise offer I haven’t seen. Allow the “broomstick” putter and method (split grip, anchor point on the chest) and ban the belly putter. It gives golfers with the yips an option, but with a method that is known to be good for that but not a truly superior way to putt (if it were you’d see young players using it and you don’t). Adam Scott is perhaps a bit better with this method than he was prior, but I’d bet it’s from practicing more to get used to it than it is from the method itself.

  3. Golf needs to up the youth program, pronto! First Tee is a great initiative, but lets take a page from the General Aviation community. Adopt – a – Pilot.

    Have an older person ‘adopt’ a younger individual for the purpose of mentoring and or exposure to the course.

    Golf courses need to have more open houses and let folks walk on the course during non playing hours.

  4. Frank, I respect and appreciate your candid views on all aspects of the Game. I feel that the USGA made a decision long ago to approve anchoring and, in that sense, encouraged entrant players to adopt it. Changing course at this point does not resonate with consistent ruling or judgement. I’ve been playing this game for over fifty years, I’ve tried anchoring and it does not work for me; therefore, how can we deem it an unfair advantage? Thanks for your tenacity – hang in there!

    Tony Castro

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