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.