usga rulling

Great message Carl.  I do agree with your point of view regarding playing golf for your own enjoyment.  In your case, the long putter is fine and you choose not to play in any sanctioned events.  Your situation is not unique and in your case, you can and should use the putter that makes this great game of golf the game for a lifetime.  Good luck to you in the future.

Wonderful post Fred.  I agree with your input completely.  Golf is a game for a lifetime and should be enjoyed by all.  If you choose to play with a putter that soon will not conform to the rules, then be aware of the limitations as to when you can play with, sanctioned events or club events if they adopted this rule change.

I'm a standard putter, but I do have some compassion for the anchored putters out there.  My interpretation was the use would be banned in 2016.  Not just from competition like my wedges I can't use now and also can't use at all after 2026.  In 2016, anchoring will be as legal as 15 clubs.  Your best friends may be ok, but many others with regard for the US rules will object.  Most clubs will tend to ban them for scrambles, etc.  I'm ok allowing an exemption to 2026 so those 65+ that have purchased in the last couple of years could use them for the remainder of their careers.

Hi Carl i hope i didn't strike a nerve or come off the wrong way. my opinion is in agreement with the ruling and i have try'd to explain my agreement. as far as the casual use of the club i am all for it. i don't mind a person with a long putter so long as its casual. in the spirit of competition i agree it should not be used. but its true the game is meant for fun and enjoyment so continue to use it all you want in casual play. i would even play a money game with a person with a long putter so long as we established it was ok after the dead line. 

cheers greens and fairways and i hope you continue to enjoy the game.

I cannot say I agree with the proposed rule change for two reason. The first is that it appears to me to be an irrational narrowing or constriction of the original rule 14-1 which simply stated that;

"14-1. Ball to be Fairly Struck At
The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned"

In keeping with the spirit of 14-1 there is no reasonable basis to disallow anchoring the elbows or hands to any part of the body as long as the ball is "fairly struck at". Keep in mind that all the interpretation I have ever seen surrounding this rule has to do with if a stroke is incurred when the ball is struck and not how the stroke is implemented.

If they were going to make an addition similar or the same as what is proposed under 14-1b it would have been more logical to me to do so under 14-3 and more specifically in part where it indicates that ;

.....Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an unusual manner:
a. That might assist him in making a stroke or in his play; ...

The problem they would have faced in trying to enlarge this to include anchoring the hands or elbows I believe would have been that they would have created a contradiction to another part of that same rule under the exceptions where it provides;

"2. A player is not in breach of this Rule if he uses equipment in a traditionally accepted manner."

Long putters have been in use since the 1980's and belly putters since as early as the 1960's when it was used by Phil Rogers. I don't think its an unreasonable statement to say that as both of these having been used with or without anchoring for the past 30 years or so that has been a clearly  established traditional accepted manner of use for them.

I think the USGA recognized the anomaly they would be creating if they tried to regulate the use of the these putters in 14-3 where it really belonged and instead opted to add a very indefensible addition  under 14-1 where it clearly does not belong.

To me the addition of 14-1b, particularly in the manner and where it has been added,  evades the entire spirit and tradition of the rules as written and intended and for that reason I cannot agree with USGA's arbitrary and indefensible addition of it.

The entire rule 14-3 is as below for your reading;

"14-3. Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Unusual Use of Equipment
The United States Golf Association (USGA) reserves the right, at any time, to change the Rules relating to artificial devices, unusual equipment and the unusual use of equipment, and make or change the interpretations relating to these Rules.
A player in doubt as to whether use of an item would constitute a breach of Rule 14-3 should consult the USGA.
A manufacturer should submit to the USGA a sample of an item to be manufactured for a ruling as to whether its use during a stipulated round would cause a player to be in breach of Rule 14-3. The sample becomes the property of the USGA for reference purposes. If a manufacturer fails to submit a sample or, having submitted a sample, fails to await a ruling before manufacturing and/or marketing the item, the manufacturer assumes the risk of a ruling that use of the item would be contrary to the Rules.
Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an unusual manner:
a. That might assist him in making a stroke or in his play; or
b. For the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play; or
c. That might assist him in gripping the club, except that:
(i) plain gloves may be worn;
(ii) resin, powder and drying or moisturizing agents may be used; and
(iii) a towel or handkerchief may be wrapped around the grip.
1. A player is not in breach of this Rule if (a) the equipment or device is designed for or has the effect of alleviating a medical condition, (b) the player has a legitimate medical reason to use the equipment or device, and (c) the Committee is satisfied that its use does not give the player any undue advantage over other players.
2. A player is not in breach of this Rule if he uses equipment in a traditionally accepted manner."

@David P - your argument is well stated, but may be moot. The new rule simply defines how a stroke may not be made and, makes no comment of the tools used to make the stroke. For example, in the past, the USGA and R&A ruled the feet cannot straddle the line of play to eliminate the "straddle" putting method used by Sam Snead. However, it also prevents playing a stroke anywhere on the course in this manner, resulting in the USGA and R&A defining how the stroke cannot be made. Their point is that one would not anchor the hands or club to make a standard shot. As an example, would you anchor your driver to hit a tee shot? Their point is that an anchored stroke does not "look" like a golf swing and therefore, is not a golf swing.

Fred- I'm sure you are correct and the argument is moot as they USGA will do what it will do regardless of being dead wrong. The point here is that where they placed the rule change is completely inappropriate as 14-1 has nothing to do with how the golf swing is defined. They knew this full well but did so to evade the issues they would have rightly faced if they had placed the definition change under 14-3 where it belonged.

Moreover, It is also a ridiculous extension of the rules in general which to my knowledge have not until now tried to limit the mechanics of the swing. A stroke has been fairly defined as "the forward movement of the club made with the intention
of striking at and moving the ball". There is nothing nor has their ever been to my knowledge any rubbish about the free movement of the hands.

I understand the USGA does this sort of thing from time to time, the point is whether it should in the best tradition of the game. I don't think that the founders of golf were not wise enough to limit (beyond what they did) the exact mechanics of a swing if they had wanted to, I think instead they were extremely wise in leaving it wide open so as to promote innovation in the way the swing occurs and the way the game is played.

I am not going to to change from my long putter with an anchored swing back to a short putter as I have already stated I do not play in sanctioned events. I do play in a monthly MGA event but the local rules are very liberal e.g. the 14 club rule is waved, may roll the ball a club length, putts inside the leather are good, etc. My observation is that the majority of golfers do not play by the rules of the game anyway. Common rule violations that can be seen on a regular basis are changing to a different ball once the green is reached, ball hit out of bounds or lost when searching for a wayward shot is just dropped in bounds or in area thought to be lost (leaf rule ??)  with or without a stroke penalty. Hitting a provisonal without anouncing it, cleaning mud off a ball in the fairway, moving a ball out of a divot, without taking a penalty stroke. Looking for a lost ball more than 5 minutes, finding it and playing it without a penalty. Searching for a lost ball, not finding it, putting another ball in play and after striking it, finding the original ball and playing it disregarding the substitue ball which is really the ball in play without penalty. I could go on with these type of daily observations and so it would be the kettle calling the pot black for someone to say I am a cheater 3 years from now if I am still anchoring the putter to my body. Of course all of these observations are during "casual play" which 99 % of all golf is played even with all the members of this forum.

Dave, I agree it would have made more sense to further define rule 14-3 and state that anchoring is using the club in an unconventional manner that is not traditional, and is therefore a violation. Just the same, it's their rule book and they can (and will) do as they please. Being a golfer, I will follow their rules.

Today, the USGA and R&A laid it out and anchoring will be banned on 1/1/2014. Having had time to reflect on this issue, I asked a myself a question: "Why would a golfer anchor their putter?" Answer: It makes putting easier for them. Hence, anchoring offers an advantage to those players and no statistics need to be generated, or applied. Not to mention, the anchored stroke removes the "free-wheeling" aspect of what looks like a golf swing. In closing, the USGA and R&A are justified in their ruling. For what it's worth, I have always been against the use of anchored putting methods.

 According to the USGA notice I received the rule goes into affect 1 Jan 2016 not 2014.