Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Belly Putters, Are You Ready for the Coming Ban on Anchoring?

The United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews are hard at work on a ban of anchoring clubs against the body. The USGA and R&A are looking at you, belly putters and long putters.

Are you ready for the ban? Because it's coming, and all indications are it is coming soon.

Let's be clear about what's being discussed, though: belly putters and long putters themselves won't be banned, only anchoring them (or any other club) against the body. In other words, if you want to use a 42-inch putter or a 54-inch putter, that's fine, so long as you don't press the grip end into your belly or hold it against your sternum. It's not length that will be banned, but the act of anchoring.

And also note: The coming ban - which might be announced within a few weeks, but definitely by the end of the year - won't take effect until 2016, which is the next, regularly scheduled update to the Rules of Golf.

Why are we so sure that a ban on anchoring is imminent? Because golf insiders are so sure, and some of them have leaked warnings.

For example, at the U.S. Amateur Championship a couple months ago, multiple observers spotted USGA and R&A official huddled in whispered discussions, and one of those observers tweeted that he overheard the rules poobahs discussing the wording of a potential ruling that bans anchoring.

An informal survey of PGA Tour pros also finds that they are unanimous in believing a ban is imminent. These guys are plugged into the grapevine, they know what the scuttlebutt is, and they all believe that anchoring is going to be outlawed, and that the ruling will be announced soon.

And some of the top journalists in golf, with impeccable sources, are matter-of-fact about the coming ban on anchoring: It's simply a given that it's happening.

So, once again you belly putters and you long putters: Start preparing now. You'll have three years to enjoy the feel of the butt end of a putter in your gut. After that, it's back to the short stick.

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