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OEMs weigh in on the anchored putter ban

by   |   November 28, 2012
Keegan Bradley Belly Putter Ban

The USGA and R&A unveiled their proposal to ban anchored putting in a joint press conference Wednesday morning, setting off a fury of discussion in the golf world.

The proposed rule is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2016, and will likely play a huge rule in changing putting. It will hurt some amateur golfers, many of whom depend on anchoring to keep the game fun. It will also have financial implications for some tour players, whose livelihoods depend on their ability to hole putts under pressure.

But it’s not just golfers who will feel the effects of the belly putter backlash. Companies who design and sell putters and their components will also be forced to changed their strategies. Here are the statements we received from Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist and SuperStroke on the USGA and R&A’s proposal to ban the anchoring of putters.

Callaway: From Chris Koske, Global Director, Odyssey Golf

“Regarding the USGA and R&A proposal today, Odyssey has long held the belief that confidence with the putter is good for the game, particularly regarding player retention and growth potential. But one of the beauties of putting is that there are so many ways to do it

Notwithstanding the final ruling in 2013, it is Odyssey’s pledge to ensure golfers have the same level of confidence when they line up a putt with one of our products – regardless of the putting technique. We have anticipated this proposal for some time now and have been busy exploring several alternative options.

It should be noted that Odyssey will continue to offer belly and long putters in the short term for golfers who want to continue using them recreationally.

We’d like golfers everywhere to know that Odyssey has an optimistic approach to the proposal regardless of the outcome. As the #1 Putter in Golf, we have more tour players around the world playing and winning with Odyssey putters than any other company, and we will continue to work with those players to innovate new products and new, alternative methods to putt at the highest level.”

TaylorMade: From Mark King, TaylorMade CEO

“Because the proposed change to the Rules of Golf bans the act of anchoring the putter to the body, and not long and mid-length putters themselves, we’ll continue making them. Does it mean the demand for these kinds of putters would drop? Maybe. But at the end of the day I don’t think we would sell one more or one less putter if the change to the Rules is made.

It’s definitely possible to use a broomstick putter without anchoring it, and I speak from experience. I use one and I hold my left hand in a stationery position a couple of inches away from my sternum. So I think we would definitely see players who currently anchor the putter who will find ways to use a long putter without anchoring it, so they can keep playing by the Rules.

Yet I also think that there will be plenty of amateur golfers who won’t give up anchoring the putter. Anybody who’s played this game knows that good putting requires an extremely precise stroke, and anchoring the putter helps a lot of golfers do that. It will be hard to give up anchoring if your putting is a lot worse without it.

However, golfers who continue to anchor the putter would be breaking the Rules, which would exclude them from holding a legitimate, USGA-sanctioned handicap, which means they couldn’t compete in tournament or event where the Rules of Golf apply. Because of that I think we would see a lot of golf leagues and golf clubs making their own exception to the anchoring rule, which essentially means that they wouldn’t strictly be playing by the Rules of Golf.

But the truth is that most golfers don’t play strictly by the Rules of Golf when they play with their friends, anyway. I don’t mean they cheat, I mean that they often go ahead and flatten spike marks even though the Rules forbid it. And how many golfers are okay with hitting a mulligan off the first tee? And that’s fine, because the game is about having fun for 99 percent of the golfers who play it, not grinding out a score in tournament play.”

Titleist: From Joseph J. Nauman, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Company

“We intend to review the announcement regarding anchoring issued today by the USGA and R&A and, as a matter of process, appreciate the opportunity to provide comments to them during the comment period.”

SuperStroke: From Jon Luna, SuperStroke Marketing

With regards to the USGA and R&A proposal, we at SuperStroke Golf have always believed that putting is a form of art and that there are several successful ways to make a consistent stroke.  While the new ruling will change the modern game, SuperStroke Golf feels that when one door closes another one opens.  Four new SuperStroke putter grips have been in development, each specifically designed to enhance alternate putting strokes and styles of holding the grip. We at SuperStroke will continue to listen to the world’s best players and create USGA/R&A conforming products that continue to be at the forefront of putter grip technology.

Click here for more discussion in the putter forum.

About

Zak is the Managing Editor of GolfWRX.com. He and his team cover golf's most important stories. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz.


8 Comments

  1. Johnnym

    December 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    The long putter has been around for 3 decades but was not popular until recent wins (within the last 24 months) forced the likes of Tiger and others to complain. It was not an issue when no one was winning……be real….we amateurs should be allowed to anchor the putter if it helps us enjoy the game a little more.

    My view is that maybe Tiger and the others who complain should practice a little more OR join the club

  2. Dolph Lundgrenade

    December 1, 2012 at 4:10 am

    One shouldn’t be allowed to anchor any club for any reason whatsoever. I commend the R&A and USGA for doing the right thing.

    AGAIN… golf is for fun for most of us so do as you please. If you have back, knee, hip or whining problems you may still use a long or belly putter. Stop. Nope. Stop.

    What makes golf different from almost all other sports is an adherence and reverence to traditions and history and this rule confirms this. Tournament players should have to MAKE A PUTTING STROKE when the game is on the line. Its what separates nerves, talent and practice. It is what we all enjoy watching.

  3. AndyE3

    November 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    It is fine to say “recreational golfers are free to keep anchoring…” but it won’t work out that way. I play in a group of guys that meet mid morning every day for a 2 dollar skins game. There are those in the group that are already bitter about long putters. Although most in the group stop counting when they reach “a double”, continuing to use a belly putter is not going to fly. As Mr. King from TaylorMade said, adherence to rules is somewhat selective in recreational golf, but if the rule to be ignored appears to only benefit one or two “anchorers” in the group, you can bet the group is going to strictly adhere to the rule book on that one.

    I can’t believe the ruling was left this long if there was some question. Bad and discouraging move in a sport that is not exactly growing by leaps and bounds.

  4. JR|Ray

    November 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Putting Average stats when belly putter users won their majors: Els (30th), Simpson (16th), Bradley (3rd). Els was 1st in GIR at 2012 Open. I’m just saying…

  5. harrold

    November 29, 2012 at 6:25 am

    collingsom1asb

    i dont think you understand the proposals? There not banning long putters there only banning having an anchor point so the putter, like every other club in the bag, only has two points of contact.

  6. collingsom1asb

    November 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I think the Ruling by the USGA and R&A on the Anchored Putter Ban is a step backwards for the amateur golfer. I think there should have been a separate rule for PGA players and a separate rule for the amateur player. I use a long putter because I have lower back problems that prevent me from bending over to putt, as is common place with normal putting methods. If this rule is enforced I will be forced to consider quitting the game I love. I don’t compete on the PGA Tour….I am just an older golfer playing golf with my buddies in out Saturday morning foursome. This new rule needs to be revised to allow exceptions for the amateur golfer. Lets be practical.

  7. Ethan

    November 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    “At Titleist, our nose is so high in the air, its hard for us to understand your putter problems.” Or thats at least what it read to me.

    • Gangnam

      November 29, 2012 at 1:31 am

      Naw, it’s more like “we don’t really care how you get the ball into the hole, as long you keep buying Titleist golf balls, the #1 ball in golf”
      LMAO

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