Inside the golf rule book (Thursday, June 13): Anchored putters

June 13, 2013 

Genger Fahleson is the executive director of the Idaho Golf Association and a former director of rules education for the U.S. Golf Association. Each month, she'll write about a hot topic in golf.

Rule 14-1b, which prohibits a player from anchoring a club to a body part other than the hands and forearms, is effective Jan. 1, 2016.

There has been much media coverage and debate about the anchoring ban. Those opposed receive most of the air time. The two groups voicing opposition are the PGA Tour and PGA of America.

Those supporting the USGA and R&A decision include the European Tour, the LPGA, the Ladies European Tour, the International Association of Golf Administrators (state and regional golf associations, including the Idaho Golf Association), the Mexican Golf Federation, Golf Canada and Golf Australia.

The Rules of Golf prohibit a player from rolling the ball by hand because that is simply not golf. The rules also prohibit making a croquet-style stroke on the putting green or pushing or scraping the ball, as in hockey; such actions are not golf. Preserving the essential character of the sport by adopting Rule 14-1b is a clear benefit to golfers and the game as a whole.

The USGA and R&A have made the judgment - with the majority of golf associations and golfers around the world agreeing - that anchoring could change the nature, and reduce the challenge, of making a golf stroke. They concluded that freely swinging the entire club is integral to maintaining the traditions of the game and preserving golf as an enjoyable game of skill and challenge.

Golfers still will be able to use the longer putters and stand upright while making a stroke. They simply will be prohibited from anchoring the club to establish a fixed pivot point around which the club can be swung, which is a departure from the traditional golf swing.

• For a complete explanation of the decision to adopt Rule 14-1b, go to http://www.usga.org/anchoring.

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