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Common Sense: A Simple Solution to the Anchored Putter Debate that is Fair to All

JimGrundberg-CEO

By Jim Grundberg – Co-Owner/CEO – SeeMore Putter Company

A few weeks ago, prior to the USGA and R&A announcement, I had shared my opinion about why I felt that a ruling to ban anchored putters might actually hurt the game more than it helped.   In quick review, here were the main points.

  1. The losers in this decision lose much more than the winners will gain. The issue us about protecting the rights of a minority group.
  2. The ruling taints some great accomplishments by some great players, whether the decision makers believe so or not.  Anchored now means cheating, or an unfair advantage, and this will apply looking forward and back.
  3. This is not a necessary decision at this time.  Without any statistical evidence to support a ban for competitive reasons, the impact is too harsh vs. the gain.

Now that the proposed ruling has actually been introduced for feedback and discussion, and I see the divisions it is creating, I still firmly believe the best solution would be to abandon this proposal and move on with golf life as it has been the last few years.

Yet I do have a compromise solution that I will put forward, which should work for everyone.  Common Sense. Practical. Painless. Without discrimination or alienation.

The solution is very simple and addresses the ruling bodies main concerns that the future of the game should not include kids learning to play golf using an anchored putting stroke.  In the end that was their major argument. My proposal keeps the new proposed rule 14-1b, exactly the same.  With one huge twist.  Call it Rule of 2000.

Any golfer born on or after Jan. 1, 2000 will not be allowed to anchor a club. Ever. Rule 14-1b applies. Rule 14-1b doesn’t apply to golfers born before Jan. 1, 2000.

TourFGP-best(closeup)The USGA and R&A talked about how the game of golf was played for over 600 years, with only 35 years or so involving the anchored stroke. The Rule of 2000 should apply at all levels of competition, from junior golf to the PGA Tour.  Golf does not need bifurcation.  This is fair to all golfers.  It will get the anchored putter out of the game painlessly, in one generation. Nobody loses. Everybody wins

Golf’s greatest competitive window is from 13 to 48, or about 35 years.  That is the generation that will phase out anchored putters. If you are 13 today, you have one full generation, yours, to use this style of putting.  If you are 30 right now, and just got your PGA Tour card for the first time using an anchored putter, you have about 18 years left at the highest levels of competition, and the thousands of hours you have put in with the anchored putter will not be for naught.  And you will never be called a “cheater.”  If you are twelve or under right now, tough.  You will never know anchored putting.

In review, here are my 10 main reasons why no ban at all, or worst case the Rule of 2000, is a better solution for the game of golf.  I look forward to a great dialogue on this one!

1.It is too late in the game to have a philosophical discussion about whether long putters should be anchored or not anchored.  Even if everyone believes that anchoring is wrong, we need a fair solution to the situation we are in.

2.The rights of a minority of golfers will be violated, whether they stand to lose money, opportunity, status, respect, or accomplishments. This is a high price.

3.This proposal has turned golfers against golfers, organizations against organizations, and young against old.  For what?  Who are the winners?

4.There are no supporting facts to prove that anchored putters make the game easier.  Only opinions.  Most believe like everything else in golf, it is a trade off.

5.Some prominent golfers have used the word “cheating” in respect to the anchored putter.  Lets make something perfectly clear.  They have used the same term about other golf technologies. It is a figure of speech. If golfers at the highest level really believed anchoring was “cheating”, they would have never used them.  Not Ernie. Not Keegan. Golfers don’t cheat. Ever.

6.The USGA has attempted to downplay this as a narrow ruling.  That just isn’t the case.  There are players at all levels that are already feeling ridiculed, criticized, and labeled.  And with a ban, immediately or in 2016, there will be an asterisk. It is human nature. Being labeled a “cheater” is the worst thing in golf.

7.If the ruling bodies do not like the way that “anchored” putters look, then why would the many alternatives proposed not be just as bad?  Side Saddle?  Extended pendulums? Arm locks? This is truly a slippery slope.  Is this what they want?

8.Putting has very little to do with a singular stroke or swing.  It is completely different than the rest of the game. It is about rolling the ball into the hole, getting the line, speed, and alignment right at the same time. Putting is difficult. Period.

9.It is likely that we could go many years until another Major Championship winner uses an anchored putter.  If left alone entirely the anchored putting trend may very well have died out.  Lets not rush its demise, when so many may be hurt.

10.The Rule of 2000 allows the PGA teaching professionals to get right to work at teaching the next generation of golfers the best way to putt without anchoring.  And many golfers of all ages will certainly want to move away from anchoring sooner, and again this gives the teachers a chance to work with them now.  

This issue is deep down about fairness, and protecting the immediate rights of the few, while honoring the long-term wishes of the many, in the fairest way possible.  That’s my view.  What is your opinion?

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