Making the game easier would grow game - PGA of America

Thu, Dec 13, 2012, 00:00

Limiting how far the ball travels and the type of putters players can use could do more harm than good for golf, the PGA of America has said.

The PGA of America, which is opposed to a proposed ban on players anchoring long putters to their body, feels making golf easier would grow the game and is ready to resist a possible move to reign in the distance golf balls travel.

“If you do anything that’s going to cause the rank and file amateur player to not hit the ball as far, there’s no way you’re going to enhance their enjoyment of the game,” said PGA president Ted Bishop.

Golf’s rules makers have not formally proposed dialling back how far a golf ball can go, but it has been something the United States Golf Association (USGA) has long pondered.

According to Bishop, the USGA has said controlling the distance of golf balls is something that may be worth exploring to help improve golf course maintenance costs and potentially lessen the amount of land required to build golf courses.

“I’m not so sure that’s the greater issue we have to deal with,” he said. “This game is a hard game and anything we do to make the golf course play longer, play more difficult, is certainly going to deter from the enjoyment of the game for the average player.”

A review process on the proposed anchoring rule by the USGA and the Royal and Ancient is set to continue through next February and if approved would be enforced from January 1st, 2016.

A survey of PGA members showed 63 per cent were against a ban of anchoring, a putting style used by three of the past five Major champions - Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els.

Some have suggested two sets of rules, one governing professionals and another applied to more ordinary players, referred to as bifurcation. However, Pete Bevacqua, the new chief executive the PGA of America, did not think split rules were a good way to go.

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