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A Dumb Move for the Game of Golf

Blue Coats
Today the Blue Coats (a term I will use to describe the powers that be at the USGA and R&A) decided that “anchoring” a club would no longer be permitted in golf. I really have no use for the blue coats who in attempting to protect the history of the game and the advantage that “anchoring” supposedly creates (although they have no proof of this). The Blue Coats have lost touch with the game and seem to have no clue that it is suffering from the lack of new players entering the sport.

This ruling effectively removes the typical use of the belly putter from conforming to the rules of golf. Here is the official rule coming into effect on January 1, 2016:

Proposed Changes to Rule 14-1
The proposed change would relabel current Rule 14-1 as Rule 14-1a, and establish Rule 14-1b as described below:
14-1b Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.” 

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. 

Grow the Game
I work in the golf business and have a vested interest in seeing more players come into the game and become lifetime golfers. It is good for the business of golf and the sport as a whole. All today’s ruling does, in my opinion, is take away a method of putting, that cannot be proven to be an advantage, but does make the game more enjoyable for some people. The other thing that this new rule does is create more rules in a sport that already has too many. Let’s make the game fun and maybe it will grow!

Canadian Blue Coats
As expected Golf Canada our governing body over the sport has followed suit and will go along with the new rule. This after hearing (at last week’s Golf Business Canada Conference) how Golf Canada was going to support new, fun and outside the box thinking to allow possible alternations to golf handicapping to attract new players. I was however extremely proud of the Canadian PGA (of which I am a Member) for issuing the following statement after rule was announced:

“The PGA of Canada has long supported the governing bodies of golf—the R&A, the USGA and Golf Canada—in their role of establishing the Rules of Golf governing play and equipment. Our organization’s commitment to the golf industry both domestically and globally is to grow the game. On behalf of the PGA of Canada, we are asking them to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people’s enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game.” – Gregg Schubert, President, PGA of Canada

I currently use the anchored belly putter and have for the past 10 years, I use it because it made the putting part of golf more fun for me. I will continue to use it after January 1, 2016… good-bye dreams of qualifying for the Champions Tour in 2023. 

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6 Responses to A Dumb Move for the Game of Golf

  1. Aaron says:

    Hey Jeff and Tara,

    While I agree with you in principle, in practice I feel that this rule change, or any other rule change, is going to have zero effect on promoting or discouraging growth in the game. While we can all likely agree that the main causes of lack of growth in the game are the costs associated with playing, the time it takes to play, and the difficulty of learning the game. The rule change clearly has the potenti

  2. Aaron says:

    Sorry about my half comment previously.

    The rule change clearly has the potential to impact the difficulty one has in playing the game. But, when speaking of growing the game we are speaking less about developing top amateurs and pros and more about getting more recreational players. How many recreational players follow all the rules? Most guys I see at the course on a Saturday or Sunday mornings could care less about how many clubs they have in their bag, or if the balls and clubs they do have conform with the rules. I think the cost to play golf, and the time it takes to play a “round” are much bigger concerns for growing the game, in my opinion.

  3. CK Golf Solutions says:

    Thanks for the feedback Aaron. Agree there are bigger issues, but this is just another hinderance to the game in our opinion! We are opposed to anything opposing fun for the sport.

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