No anchoring putter from 2016

Golf’s governing bodies adopt rule change

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington watches his putt on the 10th green during the second round of The Players Championship PGA golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass. Chris Keane/Reuters

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington watches his putt on the 10th green during the second round of The Players Championship PGA golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass. Chris Keane/Reuters

Tue, May 21, 2013, 12:57

The Royal&Ancient (R&) and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf’s governing bodies, today announced the adoption of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf that prohibits anchoring the club in making a stroke. The new Rule will take effect on January 1st, 2016 in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf.

Rule 14-1b, which was proposed on November 28th, 2012, has now been given final approval by The R&A and the USGA following an extensive review by both organisations. The decision to adopt the new Rule came after a comprehensive process in which comments and suggestions from across the golf community were collected and thoroughly considered.

The R&A and the USGA have prepared a detailed report to explain the reasons for the decision to adopt Rule 14-1b. The report explains the principles on which the Rules of Golf are founded, why freely swinging the entire club is the essence of the traditional method of stroke, and why anchoring is a substantially different form of stroke that may alter and diminish the fundamental challenges of the game.

It points out that the Rule will still allow the use of belly-length and long putters and that a wide variety of types of strokes remain for players to use. The report concludes that the new Rule should not adversely affect participation in the game, that it is not too late or unfair to require players to comply with it and that it will remove concerns about any potential advantage that anchoring provides.

The current Rule 14-1 of the Rules of Golf will be re-numbered as Rule 14-1a, and new Rule 14-1b will be established as follows:

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.

Rule 14-1b will not alter current equipment rules and allows for the continued use of all conforming golf clubs, including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are not anchored during a stroke. The new Rule narrowly targets only a few types of strokes, while preserving a golfer’s ability to play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style.

The January 1st 2016 timetable for implementation also provides an extended period in which golfers may, if necessary, adapt their method of stroke to the requirements of the new Rule.