Dear Frankly Friends,
I was very disappointed to witness the chatter surrounding Bernhard Langer’s victory this weekend with some implying that he may be violating the anchoring rule.
Bernhard is one of the most honest and sincere individuals that I have met on Tour. He clearly understands the rule and would not violate it. In the interests of full disclosure, he has sought my research advice in the past regarding his putting in general.
I have copied below an October 2015 article I wrote which addresses the adoption and implementation of the anchoring rule.
Two points I have made in the article that I would like to re-emphasize:
- “There was no evidence that anchoring had a detrimental effect on the game.”
- “The way it has been explained and written introduces ambiguity, confusion, complexity as well as difficulty in monitoring, all of which will inevitably lead to disagreement and confrontation. This is not good for the game.”
Unfortunately, the ambiguity of the rule has resulted in the inevitable controversy, as I predicted would be the case many months ago.
If you have any comments, please share them below.
The Point of Anchoring
(from October 2015)
Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf will prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke, and will take effect on January 1st 2016.
No local rules, or conditions of competition will be permitted nor will a golfer be permitted to submit his/her score for handicapping purposes if they use an anchored stroke.
I ask you to visit the USGA link, so you can better understand what is involved in adopting and playing by this rule:
This link consists of a 38 page, 15,250 word document explaining the new rule and covering why it has been adopted.
There are further documents located at this link covering; the Announcement of the rule; Implementation of the rule; a Guide for Players and Officials, as well as a video and infographics. In total there are about 20,500-words covering anchoring. All of this in an effort to abolish the manner in which long and belly putters are used.
I have written extensively on Frankly Golf.com, and elsewhere over the last 3 years on this subject and have received numerous, very considered comments, regarding my concern about anchoring. To visit some of my previous articles on this subject, please visit the links at the end of this article.
There is no evidence that anchoring has detrimentally affected the game but there existed a confined frenzy that it needed to go. In my opinion the solution has turned out to be worse than the perceived problem.
The way it has been explained and written introduces ambiguity, confusion, complexity as well as difficulty in monitoring, all of which will inevitably lead to disagreement and confrontation. This is not good for the game.
This will be the first time in about 600 years that the rules have dictated how to hold an implement. Yes, croquet style putting and shuffle board pushes made getting the ball into the hole easier but this was dealt with by how to address the ball and the definition of a stroke. These restrictions were neither ambiguous nor confusing.
The general method of dealing with objectionable “non-traditional” intrusions into the game has been to modify the equipment rules to make it awkward to use the implement in a “non-traditional” manner, or to gain some performance advantage. In this regard, modification to equipment rules worked well and they were not ambiguous or confusing.
If we want to get rid of the manner in which the long and belly putter are being used, then take the bull by the horns. Simply modify Appendix II Clubs. c. Length – to include “The length of the putter shall be no longer than the shortest club in the player’s bag.” This is only 17 words and requires no lengthy explanation. Violation of this rule would be the same as carrying a non-conforming club.
This is not only easy to interpret, monitor and implement but it resolves the “non-traditional” manner in which a club can be used – based on inefficiency in performance through awkwardness in doing so. Yes, it is a quick execution of the long and belly putter rather than the long drawn out death sentence of anchoring, with the same end result.
The only problem with this proposal is that it is an equipment rule change which the governing bodies seem to be reluctant to consider for various reasons, but it is as justifiable as the 20,500-word explanation of anchoring. In time this may change for the sake of “….ways to clarify The Rules of Golf.”
I have dedicated a good portion of my life to writing, interpreting and monitoring the equipment rules, as well as researching putting. I sincerely believe in the importance of simplicity and clarity of the rules which promotes observance.
We all need to be reminded that you don’t go to jail for violating the Rules of Golf, BUT if you do, you are not playing golf.
If you would like to comment, please do so by replying below.
For further reading: