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Banning Long Putters?

As we all watched the PGA Championship this year, announcers were saying that this is the last major that will allow long putters… What do you say? “I heard something like this but is it that time already?”  To answer your questions and to clarify what you can and can’t do is the reason I am writing this blog regarding long putters.  We all saw that Adam Scott, a predominant user of the long putter, miss the cut this year’s in the PGA championship, so why… why are they banning the long putter?

Well the R&A and USGA are NOT banning the use of long putters in the game, they are banning the anchoring of a stroke made by a club.  In January of 2016 there will be a new rule that will take place (14-1b) which states:  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 wen the player intentionally holds a forearm I 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.

The 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.

Back in 2013 when all this new rule info was coming out, PGA professionals like myself were totally against this and PGA president Ted Bishop commented “We do not believe 14-1b is in the best interest of recreational golfers and are concerned about the negative impact it may have on both the enjoyment and growth of the game.”

Jack Nicklaus said “They’ll all learn to adjust.  Like anything else, they’ll get used to it and get over it… We’ve had changes with balls, wood heads, grooves, all kinds of changes.  Players have adjusted to those and they’ll adjust to this.”

We have seen players like Keegan Bradley go back and forth from long to short putters. It won’t be easy for these types of players that used an anchoring stroke up until now to make their putts in 2016. We will soon see, but as Nicklaus said, “they’ll have to adjust”.  Fair or not, it is the way it will be starting in 2016.

Every game must have rules that each of us must abide by to make it fair for everyone.  We may not like some of the rules we play by…. But it is … what it is…