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Putter Anchoring Ban 2016: What You Need To Know!

The 2016 golf season is officially off and running. With the start of the new year, golfer’s who previously putted with “anchored” strokes must change their ways to be in compliance with the USGA’s new rule prohibiting this style of play.

A number of top players such as Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley must find their way with possibly more traditional methods if they hope to keep pace with past performance. With the number of golfers wanting to putt better, long putter and belly putter sales have remained steady for years. The ability to create a fixed, stable point of suspension made it easier to produce a smooth and repeating pendulum style putting motion. You could argue the technique was so effective, it saved or at least extended a number of careers which had fallen victim to putting woes.

The amended rule 14-1b “Prohibits strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player’s body or with a forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club.”

To be clear, this new rule is not about the equipment, but rather how that equipment is being use. So, if you have a long or belly putter you can still use it. Your method of use is what may need adjusting to keep those scores you post legal with the USGA. To help keep you up to speed, here are the styles currently permitted and prohibited by the USGA.

The ability to create a fixed, stable point of suspension made it easier to produce a smooth and repeating pendulum style putting motion.

Permitted

Traditional
If your putting right hand low like they’ve done since the beginning you’re good to go.

Cross Handed
Also known as Left Hand Low (Right Handed Golfers) this method most notably used by players such as Jim Furyk is no problem at all.

The Claw
This grip used recently by Phil Mickelson unusually positions the back hand (right hand, right handed golfer) on top of the club so that the palm faces back towards the body. According to the USGA you’re free to keep rocking this style as well.

Long/Belly Putter Not-Anchored
Yes, you can still use these putters. You just can’t anchor them to your chest or mid-section like you have been. Will players still use them? Who knows, but they can be utilized legally.

Grip Against Forearm
Made popular by Matt Kuchar, the grip resting against the forearm might be the best remedy for players needing to switch. With the grip against the left forearm (right handed golfer) the natural anchor point of the stroke becomes the left shoulder joint. Providing a fixed, stable place of origin to swing from, expect this style to become the ultimate work around for the USGA rule. Even better, if you want to clamp the grip to your arm with the opposite hand like Bernhard Langer did back in the 80’s you can do that too!

Prohibited

Club Anchored
If the club is intentionally in contact with the body for a long, belly or standard putter, that’s a no no.

Hand Anchored
If your gripping hand is intentionally secured against the body (mostly seen with long putters) you can’t do that either.

Arm Anchor
Say you like to squeeze your forearm up against your torso to secure your stroke (most common with long putters). Count that as a penalty too!

For professionals and amateurs alike, 2016 should prove to be interesting, enlightening and very likely frustrating for some on the greens. To get the full breakdown of the new rule and to see some great images that might help you with your game visit: www.usga.org. 

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