Today is the last day the USGA has set aside for comments regarding the proposed ban on anchoring a golf club against one’s body when making a putting stroke. The PGA Tour came out earlier this week stating that they disagree with the proposed ban and would be concerned if went through. They feel that the long putter, and how it anchors against the body to swing the club, has been used for the past thirty years and their statistics show that there is no advantage to the golfer by anchoring the putter against his body over the traditional putter which requires the golfer to swing his arms freely when making a putting stroke.

Quite frankly, what else did we expect from the PGA Tour? Their interest is to keep their members happy, especially Keegan Bradley, a winner of their premiere tournament, the PGA Championship.

Quoting from an article by Steve DiMeglio, of, “The governing bodies (the USGA and R&A) said the proposed rule change is not based on performance, but instead deals with the fundamentals and traditions of the game.  “There is no compelling data to prove anchoring helps”, said the R&A’s chief executive Peter Dawson. “This is about defining what a golf stroke is.” Many players won’t shed a tear if anchoring ultimately is banned, including Tiger Woods, who thinks the “art of putting” is swinging the club and controlling nerves without a fixed point.


I agree with the USGA and R&A and feel that anchoring a club against one’s body could be an advantage to a golfer over another golfer when making a putting stroke. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Why do golfers switch or use a long putter to begin with?” The answer, I have frequently come across, is because it has helped them make a smoother stoke and they might have “quit” the game (which I also feel is an exaggeration) if they had to continue to putt using a traditional putter. The bottom line is that is has “cured” the yips for many golfers.

The responsibility of these governing bodies is to ensure that the integrity of the game remains intact for years to come and that the rules should be consistent for all players. This would not be the first time that the USGA has banned something that golf club manufacturers were making and golfers were using. They have overturned rulings regarding the size of the club head, the length of the shafts, the design of the grooves, and the face of the driver. These rules are primarily designed for the better golfers, especially professionals and single digit amateurs, who compete on a national level. However, to keep the sport consistent across the board, the rules also apply to the recreational golfers.

The main argument going against the governing bodies is the question as to why has the anchor putter been allowed to be used for all this time and why, after thirty years, is this suddenly an issue? The answer is because the club has made its way up to the professional ranks and tour players are suddenly winning using the technique, i.e.  Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Tim Clarke, Johnny Miller, Orville Moody, Tom Lehman, Bernhard Langer, among a few.  According to, after college, Scott McCarron gave up golf for four years. His return to golf was sparked in 1991 at a Champions Tour event at Rancho Murieta, CA. After watching seniors (who used the long putter), Scott went home and built a long putter in garage. He nearly won the U.S. Mid-Amateur with a homemade model later that year. Scott used a more sophisticated version to win his three Tour titles.

Those against the ban argue that it will chase the recreational golfer away from the game. Nonsense. If a golfer quits the game because he could no longer be permitted to use an anchor putter, then so be it. I suspect that number would be so insignificant that it will be almost incalculable. So I don’t buy that argument.

However, in order to compromise, which is what will need to be done at this juncture, I propose the following:

Ban the technique of anchoring any club against the body when making a golf swing or stroke at the professional level. For the amateur level, in competition play, consider it to be a “local rule” left up to the discretion of the tournament’s governing body to determine whether it would be permitted for their competition.

This will allow recreational golfers to continue to use the anchor putter and continue to play the game if they were considering quitting the sport had the ban was to be upheld for recreational golfers. Think of it as the same as the ruling that permits the usage of distance measuring devices. The usage of devices are permitted for recreational golfers and is left up to the discretion of tournament organizers for competition play.

I welcome your comments.

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