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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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Anchored Putter Ruling by USGA and R&A

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by Ted Gallina, SPi - Director of Instruction (11/28/12)

Being a PGA professional and wanting to help grow the game of golf, today's decision hurts the sport. We have heard from many golfers on why they use an anchored putter.  Yesterday, Ted Bishop, PGA president, sent a letter to Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director, stating the position of what a ban on anchored putters would mean to the game of golf.  He writes, "...as an Association that serves and represents 27,000 PGA Professionals and exists, in large part, to promote the game and contribute to its growth, we feel compelled to inform you that we are concerned about the impact a ban on anchoring a golf club could have on participation now and in the future."

Bishop goes on to say, "We believe that golf is the greatest of all games. We also believe that we need to continue to do what is necessary to preserve all that makes it unique and, consistent with our mission, take actions to grow the game. Therefore, as you near decisions regarding a potential ban on anchoring, we wanted to be sure that you were aware of the polling results as our PGA members are truly the tangible connection between the game and its participants.

As Mike mentioned in his presentation to us at our PGA Annual Meeting in Baltimore earlier this month, there does not appear to be any data that suggests that anchoring a golf club results in an unfair competitive advantage. In the absence of such data and based on the polling of our PGA members and all of the exciting progress the industry has made through Golf 2.0 and other related initiatives to make the game more fun and, quite frankly, more enjoyable and welcoming to a broader and more diverse audience, we respectfully ask you to consider our concerns."

WATCH VIDEO BELOW TO SEE SEEMORE's INVISIBLE ANCHOR POINT

Golf Channel estimates approximately 20 Million golfers will be impacted by today’s proposed rule change from the USGA and R & A.  This means that a herd of golfers around the world will be searching for the new answer to great putting.

The proposed rule change focuses on the stroke and how an anchored club impacts a stroke. If implemented, an anchored putter will be a breech to the rules of golf beginning January 1, 2016. USGA’s Mike Davis clearly explained that this alteration is not an equipment change.  Belly and long putters are allowed when there is no intent to anchor.

Billy Kratzert made a fantastic point today on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive:

“The only advantage that I see with the belly putter and the longer putter is the fact that you can  actually set up to the putt the same every single time.  Other than that, you still have to move the  putter head and you still have to move the ball down the line.” 

The focus in putting goes back to natural fundamentals, just like in your golf swing.  Pat O’Brien has been the leader in teaching putting fundamentals for over a decade.  O’Brien believes successful fundamentals in putting can be achieved with great instruction, even with a short putter. O’Brien’s SPi instruction reinforced with a SeeMore Putter has won two major championships and tour putting titles.  SeeMore putters have been used to win 16 PGA Tour events.

There has never been a better time to wake up players who complain about their putting and provide them with a simple system that works! 

The answer to great putting is to use SeeMore’s RST to reinforce consistent:

-        Ball Position

-        Head Position

-        Loft

-        Hand Position

-        Forearm Position

-        Synchronized alignment of the club face, eyes and the entire body

A golfer needs feedback to implement a system. At setup and throughout the stroke, a SeeMore standard length putter features the benefits of an anchored putter with an invisible fulcrum!

The main reason why golfers used the anchored putter was to obtain a consistent set-up, ball position and stroke.  Under the proposed rule change a golfer may use a belly or long putter but with out anchoring it to the body.  This golfer will still need to set-up correctly and have the ball in the same position.  Utilizing the RST in this fashion will still help the person who wants to continue to use a SeeMore belly or long putter.

The goal is to grow the enjoyment of the game.  You can provide the best direction for enjoying by giving golfers a road map to the destination through SeeMore’s RST.

WATCH VIDEO to SEE the INVISBLE ANCHOR POINT below....

 

My Opinion – 3 Reasons Why Banning Anchored Putters Will Create More Problems Than It Will Solve

JimGrundberg-CEOBy Jim Grundberg – Co-Owner/CEO – SeeMore Putter Company

The CEO of the SeeMore Putter Company recently posted an opinion on the long/anchored putter debate. Here are his thoughts. He welcomes your input.

The first important reason that banning anchored putters will create more problems than it will solve is that it wasn’t a hot issue until the USGA and R&A got involved.  

  1. Most golfers are relatively indifferent to this issue. Even on tour. They see long and belly putters as just another option for putting.  No big deal. 
  2. Many golfers have used belly or long putters for quite some time, for a variety of reasons.  Some for physical reasons.  It allows them to practice longer.
  3. Some long putter users have put in thousands of hours on the greens and courses over the years.  It is simply how they putt.  It’s never been an issue.
  4. There is a small group of people on the other side (some in very prominent positions) that seem to think that using a long putter looks funny, or is not pure golf, or should have never been allowed, or is somehow making the game too easy. If that were true, then wouldn’t everyone be using them?
  5. The debate ultimately comes down to a few people who now want to turn the clock back and believe that the anchored putter is “against” the original spirit of the game vs. those who will need to re-learn in some instances the most important part of the game.  They have been in the game for generations.  It is too late to turn back now.
  6. Sb2plat-centershaft-blklines-best-closeup-USAflagIf anchored putters are banned, the winners really don’t gain much, but the losers stand to have victories and reputations tarnished, enjoyment lost, and faith in the game and its ruling bodies gone forever.  And even worse, many will have their learning curves set back years (see Carl Pettersson, and the many PGA teaching pros and USGA club level golfers with the same situation).  Of course it will be easy for the majority of golfers and PGA members to say they favor a ban, because a ban does not directly affect them (they do not use long putters.)  But would these golfers want to give up their fat putter grips, or their graphite shafts, or their custom fit oversize drivers of all shapes and sizes, if others voted them out? 

Second is that the very act of banning anchored putting will cast a dark shadow on one of the greatest 2 year stretches in the history of the PGA Tour.

  1. Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els all happened to win great victories using anchored putters in the past 2 years.  This may be nothing more than coincidence.  It may be another 25 years until a Major is won again with an anchored putter.  I don’t think anyone believes that they made the big putts at the end and won these events because they had long putters.  Yet banishment puts an asterisk on their accomplishments.
  2. Other players on tours of all levels have earned PGA Tour cards, won club championships, and simply enjoyed the game more, while using a long putter. These are good people and respectful golfers.  Now they will be forced to defend their accomplishments. 
  3. Even if the R&A and/or USGA had some sort of evidence that the long putter has made putting somehow “easier” by a few percent for some golfers, why is that an issue?  Putting greens themselves are faster and more undulated than ever before, and far more difficult than in the old days.  New balls, better shafts, oversize grips, larger heads – all of these constantly improving innovations have all made the game somewhat easier (more enjoyable), in trying to keep up with golf courses that are far more difficult.
  4. Even for those who believe (and I know many who agree with this) that the tour should have its own tighter control on equipment, in essence a bifurcation of the rules, in my opinion the long putter is not the place to start. It does not impact the competitive balance of the game. And it should stay in the game at all levels.

The third reason is that a lot of other people, who haven’t necessarily won Majors with a long putter, still get hurt by this decision if it goes against the long putter.  And who really wins?  

  1. A small company like SeeMore, doing 15% of business in long putters the last few years prior to the USGA bringing the market to a halt, stands to lose all of that revenue, which impacts our ability to hire more American workers. 
  2. SeeMore has earned an outstanding reputation for great customer service by trying to understand and then meet consumers unmet needs.  We only do putters.  And when thousands of golfers tell us that they want a better long putter, a better belly putter, and a better standard length putter, and a better way to be fit for these putters, and a better way to learn putting (through our SPi-SeeMore Putter Institute) we have invested in every way possible.  Now we will be punished as well.
  3. Lastly a ban on anchored putters now makes a lot of other people look bad. For example many teaching club golf professionals and club fitters as well as representatives of the world's finest golf retailers have actively promoted and fit their customers into long putters over the last few years. It just looks bad to the golfing public. And that's not fair either.

So where does this leave us?  Are we gaining or losing in this pending decision?  You know my thoughts now.  How do you feel?  I hope I have helped to at least introduce some new ideas to the discussion.  That is my view!

 

Jim Grundberg

Co-Owner, SeeMore Putter Co.

615-435-8015 office

Jim@SeeMore.com