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Governing bodies to outlaw anchored putting

Controversial law set to come into force in 2016 and carries a penalty on the course if breached

AN ISSUE that has been argued back and forth by everyone from the media to tour pros, the 'anchored putter debate' has finally reached a conclusion. While the numbers of those affected on the professional circuit are easy to find, numbers of club golfers that will be forced to change their putting style by this new rule remain sketchy.

In April, Adam Scott won the Masters, his first major title, using an anchored putter and it is a method that has proven popular in aspects of the amateur game, particularly in American collegiate golf. However, the trend has not really found its way into the heart of Scottish club golf.


Arguments have been made both for and against this new rule, but Ernie Els’ suggestion that he would not have won the Open Championship last year had he not been using an anchored putter will have sent alarm bells off in the head of many a golf enthusiast.

Those who do not anchor their putter will be unaffected by the change, which is due to come into force in 2016, but if you do, there are a few things you need to know. Rule 14-1b means that you will not be able to “anchor the club, either 'directly' or by use of an 'anchor point'”.

The term 'directly' relates to a player intentionally holding the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except the player may hold the gripping hand against a hand or forearm.

Meanwhile the term 'anchor point' refers to a player intentionally holding their forearm in contact with any part of their body to create a stable point with their gripping hand. Violation of this new rule will result in the loss of the hole in match play competition or a two-stroke penalty for each occurrence in stroke play.


“Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed Rule was announced, our best judgement is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game – that the player freely swing the entire club,” said Glen D. Nager, USGA president.

“This new rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf.”

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