To Anchor – Or Not

putter rule change

If you are paying attention to the golf press then you know what I’m talking about; should the bodies that control the rules of golf outlaw anchoring of the putter to the body. In simple terms it’s another way of doing away with long putters. It’s important enough to some pros that they have intimated they will sue someone if they can’t use their belly, or longer, putters. So what’s to be done?

Can you really sue a governing rules body? It doesn’t seem likely. Maybe I think that the old rule for penalizing the player if his ball falls off a tee during address should be reinstated. Can I sue? Not bloody well likely. A pro could make a case that his/her ability to earn a living is being adversely affected, but that doesn’t seem to hold much water when every golfer has to play by the same rules.

Is there a real advantage to a longer, anchored putter? If there was, wouldn’t every golfer, certainly the pros, use them? After all, one stroke can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on Tour. To my knowledge, the players using the long putters are not dominating. Some are winning, but not more so than players using more conventional putting techniques.

There’s probably no other club that has more variety and gets changed more often by golfers than the putter. If there was one clear winner, I know I’d have one and you would too. If only new clubs could fix our problems we’d all be scratch players! Remember the ‘two ball’ putter? banned for years and now legally available. If you’re a putter junky I’m sure you have one, but do you still use it?

Putter variations are almost limitless – humongous grips, face inserts of every kind,  heads that look like they should be on Mars rather than the course. Maybe you’re thinking that I’m missing the point here. We’re talking about anchoring, right? Just look at the putting grips you see on tour these days, conventional, lead hand low, the ‘claw’ and split hands to name just a few. As for as anchoring, there seemsto be almost endless variations on how that should be done.

The bottom line; I don’t think the ‘perfect’ putting solution has been developed yet. Keegan Bradley has won some tournaments, but so has Rory McIlroy. If one becomes dominant just because of a putting style, the other will change. Look at how Tiger’s physical fitness has completely changed the professional game in the last decade. If you don’t have a personal trainer on tour you’re so ‘yesterday’ these days.

For purists, the long putter is – ugly at best! Personally, I wish it had been banned long ago with a rule on allowable club length. But as they say, it’s a little late to think about locking the barn door once the horse is out. Your thinking ‘didn’t they do that with grooves’? Yes, but the situation was very different. Everyone was using the bigger, sharper grooves and then everyone wasn’t so no one had an advantage. The commentators talked about it for a month or so, and there was a minor run on ‘old’ ping wedges, but now who can even remember it happening?

I have know idea if the ruling bodies are going to do something about anchoring putters, but when I look at it logically I can’t find any real advantage to it. And, if there is, then everyone can go buy one and use it. Putting will always be the most mystical, fascinating part of the game and golfers will continually change putters and methods no matter what decision is made.

  • Great post John,

    I agree completely. If the long putters really were an advantage wouldn’t every golfer be using them?

    The best 3 golfers in the world are using the traditional length putter.

    I think the rules officials need to leave things the way they are. The game is strong and providing lot’s of entertainment and doesn’t need to be changed.