Rules and Rants
Anchoring, long putters, belly putters and Rule 14-1b... the debate continues
Golf Canada's Cam Crawford discusses the ongoing debates surrounding last week’s announcement by the R&A, USGA and Golf Canada.
Cam Crawford, Golf Canada's Coordinator of Rules/Competitions
Published on Tuesday, Dec. 04, 2012 11:23AM EST Last updated on Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012 10:04AM EST
Less than a week after golf’s governing bodies announced the proposed change to Rule 14-1 of the Rules of Golf, discussion and debate have continued in what can arguably be described as one of the more contested (proposed) changes to the Rules in recent history. While the Rules of Golf are reviewed by the Joint Rules Committee – comprised of members from the R&A, USGA and Golf Canada – in a quadrennial period, it is difficult to recall any change (let alone a proposed one) that received so much attention.
With a wealth of coverage on the topic last week, many Golf Channel Analysts dissected the proposed Rule change and debated its potential effect on the game and, more specifically, how a stroke is made.
In a Golf Central segment entitled “What you need to know: Anchored putting ban”, Michael Breed (Host of Golf Fix on the Golf Channel) and Thomas Pagel (USGA Senior Director, Rules of Golf & Amateur Status), visually depict what would be and what wouldn’t be acceptable methods of making a stroke under the proposed Rule 14-1b. Further, and what is crucial to note among the debates that have surfaced recently, is what Pagel asserts regarding the proposed Rule in that it is:
“not a ban on equipment, this is a very narrow ban on anchoring the club”
The segment, which is a great analysis of what is permitted using a long or belly-length putter, not only clarifies the proposed Rule, but also lends insight into what can still ‘legally’ be achieved with a non-traditional length putter.
To conclude and clarify, the proposed Rule 14-1b will not prohibit the length of the long or belly-style putter, nor will the Rule itself preclude creativity in making a stroke, so long as the club swings freely from the body. While the proposed Rule has seen much discussion and debate in recent days, one has to appreciate that the discussion itself is being had.
In addition, a further time frame for discussion and feedback from now until the Spring of 2013 is in progress, while any change to a player’s method of making a stroke would be circumvented until January 1, 2016, in line with the consistent four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback as we continue to look at the proposed Rule in our efforts to grow the game. If you'd like to contact us regading the proposed Rule, please contact our Director of Rules, Competitions and Amateur Status, Brent McLaughlin at email@example.com.
Also, please consider purchasing our Rules of Golf publications available in Golf Canada’s eStore, or at your local book retailer.