November 28, 2012
Dear USGA Member:
The USGA cherishes its strong relationship with our Members, and we appreciate the support you provide in helping us lead the game toward a sustainable future. Your membership bolsters the critical mission of the USGA in many important ways and has helped to make the game more enjoyable for golfers of all ages and skill levels.
Recognizing the role that you play in all that we do to protect and nurture the game, we want you to be among the first to know about some important news. This morning, together with The R&A, the USGA is proposing a change to the Rules of Golf for players at all levels of the game that would disallow direct or indirect anchoring of the club in making a stroke with any club from any location on the golf course.
The proposed Rule 14-1b would prohibit strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club intentionally held directly against the player’s body, or with a forearm intentionally held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club.
The proposed Rule would not alter current equipment standards and would allow the continued use of all conforming golf clubs, including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are used in a non-anchored manner. The Rule would target only a few types of strokes in which the club is anchored, while preserving the golfer’s ability to play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style.
Throughout the game’s 600-year history, the essence of the golf stroke has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball. This Rule change is being proposed to preserve the fundamental challenge that makes golf a unique competitive sport.
The proposed Rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016, at the start of the next four-year cycle for revisions to the Rules of Golf. This timetable provides an extended period during which golfers currently using an anchored stroke may adapt their method of stroke, if necessary, to conform to the requirements of the new Rule.
We are proposing to take action now in response to the recent upsurge in the use of anchored strokes at all levels of the game. We believe that the proposed Rule is necessary to protect the essential nature of the golf swing and to fulfill our fundamental responsibility to the game.
The proposed Rule is the culmination of a review process that began in early 2012, and it reflects the strong consensus of our leadership and the Rules of Golf Committee. Given the high level of public discussion and interest in this issue, we are announcing the proposed change in advance of final action by the Executive Committee, which is expected to occur in early 2013. Between now and then, we will explain our rationale for the Rule and its application, answer questions and solicit feedback on the proposal from the golf community.
Recognizing that you may have questions, and that you may also want to share this information with fellow golfers, we have developed videos, images, graphics and other materials that are available at www.usga.org/anchoring to help you become more familiar with the specifics of the proposed Rule. We have also provided an opportunity to offer written questions or comments on the proposed change, and we encourage you and others to do so.
Thank you for your support and passion for the game as we continue to serve all golfers around the world and work to secure the health and traditions of the game for current players and for future generations.
USGA Executive Director
For the good of the game®