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The Overall Golf World Reflected Through the Ban on Anchored Strokes

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 

As I’m sure many of you are aware, the USGA has imposed a ban on anchoring the golf stroke, which the PGA Tour has adopted, effective January 1, 2016.  Just like with any other rule or ban that comes out, a lot of argument and debate closely followed suit. I believe that this ban, and all the arguments surrounding it, actually brings attention to some of the fundamental aspects of the golf world as whole.

One of the reasons this ban was put in place is because those opposed to the long putter felt that this new anchored putting stroke looked unconventional and unnatural when compared to the traditional putting stroke. This reasoning shows how deeply steeped in tradition golf really is. By proposing a ban primarily because the anchored putting stroke is not traditional shows how much golf values the many traditions surrounding it. The traditional putting stroke can be thought of as similar to the traditions of the Green Jacket or the fact that the US Open always concluding on Father’s Day.

The other aspect of the game that is revealed because of this ban is that everything in golf is meant to be as fair as possible so that competition stems completely from the skill of the player, rather than the equipment they’re using. It’s been argued that the belly putter provides users with an advantage while putting. Golf doesn’t want people to be more skillful purely because of a piece of equipment; rather, players should be skilled because of how they use the same equipment as others.

In the end, this ban manages to show the true colors of the golf world. One, that it is deeply steeped in tradition and two, that competition should stem completely from the skill of a player and not the equipment being used. I believe both aspects can be seen as a result of this ban and surrounding arguments. My question to you is if you agree with me, or have any further analysis?

post #2 of 76

I don't understand the traditional aspects of banning the belly putter.  All equipment has changed over time, putters have reltivly stayed the same. I'm of the lot that if it improves your game, why not use it?  This isn't something new, guys have been using belly putters for over 30 years.  Anyone can purchase a belly putter if they desire.  If you think it's an advantage to use one, then use one!  For the record, I don't use a belly putter, nor have I ever tried using one, but I'm not apposed to, nor do I look down on anyone that does.

post #3 of 76

'One of the reasons this ban was put in place is because those opposed to the long putter felt that this new anchored putting stroke looked unconventional and unnatural when compared to the traditional putting stroke.'

 

I believe that there is more to this than simply 'looks'. You claim the belly putter 'looks', or appears, or seems unconventional or unnatural. And this appearance goes against the traditions  of the game, hence cannot be tolerated. 

 

However, those who do oppose such putters maintain that. in fact, the use of those putters does not conform to the traditional method of striking the ball. We can't scoop the ball, can't use the handle to hit the ball (ala billiards) nor can we push the ball with the club head. Tradition and current rules indicate that we use our hands only to hold the club and swing the stick to strike the ball. Positioning the club against our body, resulting in a stable point, denies a free swing of the club. Ergo, Banned!  I concur. 

post #4 of 76

My question is - what will the *traditionalists* cry about when the long putter is still used in a non-anchored fashion?

post #5 of 76

Funny thing about "traditionalists" (in any sport) is that they only take back it so far. Usually to how the game was played when they were young. Not when their grandfather was young, and certainly not further back than that. For that reason "tradition" changes over time no matter what. The people that would consider tradition a feathery and a wooden club are all dead.

 

In this case I don't have a problem with a long putter except that I don't like the way it looks, but I can say the same for some of the huge putter heads on some conventional putters. I have yet to consider it a disadvantage when my opponent is using an anchored putter. In fact I figure he's probably got putting problems and I have the advantage.

 

I remember when batter's helmets with ear flaps had to be grandfathered in gradually because of tradition and when the Fosbury flop looked completely silly and unconventional.

post #6 of 76

Calling something not traditional is like a "Get out of Jail Free" card, there's no time limit or rules on when you use it but it always seems to work.  In the case of anchored putting, the first recorded use of an anchored stroke was in 1924 by Lou Diegel and in 1966 PGA Tour Pro Phil Rodgers wins two tournaments with it.  Up until the end of 2011 it seemed to be an accepted method, but once more golfers started using it and winning Majors with it, it became untraditional.

 

It should have been banned in 1924 or at least in 1966 but the USGA and R&A dropped the ball.  I never used an anchored stroke and actually agree that it's not a legal golf stroke and never has been, but I'd prefer people (R&A, USGA) own their mistakes and not hide behind the tradition of the game.

post #7 of 76

I don't expect a change but I think they should allow the 50+ guys use it, I think were going to see some careers cut short especially the older guys and I think that's a shame.

post #8 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Man View Post
 

I don't understand the traditional aspects of banning the belly putter.  All equipment has changed over time, putters have reltivly stayed the same. I'm of the lot that if it improves your game, why not use it?  This isn't something new, guys have been using belly putters for over 30 years.  Anyone can purchase a belly putter if they desire.  If you think it's an advantage to use one, then use one!  For the record, I don't use a belly putter, nor have I ever tried using one, but I'm not apposed to, nor do I look down on anyone that does.

 

How a stroke is made had not changed significantly through the centuries until the advent of the anchored putter, and that is what is being banned.  The putter itself is NOT banned, only the anchored stroke.  

post #9 of 76

When discussing the anchoring stroke, one thing not often mentioned is that in 1968 the USGA banned croquet style putting. I, for one, had been very successful with this style of putting, especially from 10 feet and closer. I survived the ban, but I am also certain that I missed a number of putts over the years that I could have made croquet style. I tried anchoring, but it just did not work for me.

 

A little history:  Bob Duden invented and patented the croquet style putter, which he named "The Dude".  Although Mr. Duden never won on the tour, he did finish second 3 times. When other well-known professionals like Sam Snead adopted this revolutionary putting technique, its popularity began to surge. Late in his career Snead's putting was failing him and during the 1966 US PGA Championship he straddled the golf ball and decided to putt croquet style with good success. After posting good results including a top-10 finish at the 1967 US Masters, Bobby Jones and others took a dislike to the style and by January 1, 1968 the putting style was outlawed and Rule 16-1e added to the rules of golf:

 

USGA rule 16-1e:
The player must not make a stroke on the putting green from a stance astride, or with either foot touching, the line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball.

 

Here is a wonderful article about the ban on croquet putting...

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2013/06/croquet_putting_golf_s_unconscionable_ban_on_putting_between_your_legs.html

 

Here is an another interesting article on nine things that have been banned form golf....

http://www.aussiegolfer.net/9-things-that-have-been-banned-from-golf/

post #10 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nked95 View Post
 

As I’m sure many of you are aware, the USGA has imposed a ban on anchoring the golf stroke, which the PGA Tour has adopted, effective January 1, 2016.  Just like with any other rule or ban that comes out, a lot of argument and debate closely followed suit. I believe that this ban, and all the arguments surrounding it, actually brings attention to some of the fundamental aspects of the golf world as whole.

One of the reasons this ban was put in place is because those opposed to the long putter felt that this new anchored putting stroke looked unconventional and unnatural when compared to the traditional putting stroke. This reasoning shows how deeply steeped in tradition golf really is. By proposing a ban primarily because the anchored putting stroke is not traditional shows how much golf values the many traditions surrounding it. The traditional putting stroke can be thought of as similar to the traditions of the Green Jacket or the fact that the US Open always concluding on Father’s Day.

The other aspect of the game that is revealed because of this ban is that everything in golf is meant to be as fair as possible so that competition stems completely from the skill of the player, rather than the equipment they’re using. It’s been argued that the belly putter provides users with an advantage while putting. Golf doesn’t want people to be more skillful purely because of a piece of equipment; rather, players should be skilled because of how they use the same equipment as others.

In the end, this ban manages to show the true colors of the golf world. One, that it is deeply steeped in tradition and two, that competition should stem completely from the skill of a player and not the equipment being used. I believe both aspects can be seen as a result of this ban and surrounding arguments. My question to you is if you agree with me, or have any further analysis?

 

I think you are wrong on both counts.  It would be hard to find a sport that has been more embracing of advances in technology in equipment that makes players better.  Look at the driving distance change over the last 30 years, for example.  There are guys on the Champions tour that hit it longer at age 55 than they ever did at age 30.  Tradition did not prevent these things.  

 

There have been 2 major equipment rulings over the last 20 or so years, the groove ruling and the anchoring ruling.  In both cases the rulings address qualitative aspects of the game, not quantitative aspects.  The groove ruling was made because the square grooves upset the distance/accuracy balance by insulating players from the natural consequences of inaccurately hitting into the rough.  The anchoring ruling was made because a swing and a hinging action are not the same, not because of aesthetics.  The fact that some people use this argument does not mean that this played any real factor in the decision of the rulesmakers.

 

I also disagree with your "fairness" argument because there is no evidence that anchoring intrinsically gives an actual advantage.  It may prove an advantage for individual players, but so does the choice of a golf ball.  A player may putt better with an anchored putter just as he may play better with a low-spin ball.  But that does not mean that anchoring or a low spin ball provides a universal advantage.  The simple evidence of this is that most players do NOT use an anchored putter.  If the advantage was universal then everyone who plays for a living would have made the change.  Are any pros still playing with a balata covered wound ball?  Or does every single one play with a modern ball.  Are any pros playing with a steel shafted driver, or have they universally shifted over to graphite.  THESE are things that provide a universal advantage and they have been universally adopted.  And not banned, so arguing that achoring was banned because of the advantage it brings just makes no sense.  If your advantage argument was valid we would be seeing a lot of other things banned.  If you want perfect "fairness" then every player would be required to play with the exact same equipment.  

 

Welcome to the board, and nice first post.

post #11 of 76
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for the feedback! I would just like to point out that I don't consider the advancements in technology to help the ball be hit farther or spin more untraditional, just that the actual physical act of making an anchored stroke untraditional. It looks unnatural when compared to the conventional putting stroke which is why I feel that was one of the reasons the ban came about in the first place. 

post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nked95 View Post

Thank you everyone for the feedback! I would just like to point out that I don't consider the advancements in technology to help the ball be hit farther or spin more untraditional, just that the actual physical act of making an anchored stroke untraditional. It looks unnatural when compared to the conventional putting stroke which is why I feel that was one of the reasons the ban came about in the first place. 

Your basis for this is likely unfounded. They gave reasons why it was banned and "looks" wasn't among them.
post #13 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleback View Post

I think you are wrong on both counts.  It would be hard to find a sport that has been more embracing of advances in technology in equipment that makes players better.  Look at the driving distance change over the last 30 years, for example.  There are guys on the Champions tour that hit it longer at age 55 than they ever did at age 30.  

Hell, even I hit it longer now, at 55, than I did at 30.....
post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


Hell, even I hit it longer now, at 55, than I did at 30.....

 

So how sad does it make me, who still hits it shorter than when I was 30 (I'm 57).  :-(:cry: 

post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nked95 View Post
 

...One of the reasons this ban was put in place is because those opposed to the long putter felt that this new anchored putting stroke looked unconventional and unnatural when compared to the traditional putting stroke. This reasoning shows how deeply steeped in tradition golf really is. By proposing a ban primarily because the anchored putting stroke is not traditional shows how much golf values the many traditions surrounding it. The traditional putting stroke can be thought of as similar to the traditions of the Green Jacket or the fact that the US Open always concluding on Father’s Day...

 

No. Sorry. It has little to do with 'tradition' unless you mean that it's 'traditional' to only have a single anchor point when swinging a golf club during any sort of shot.

post #16 of 76
I couldn't care less about how something looks, the main issue is the fact that, when under pressure, the nerves affect your hands and this style of putting takes that out of the equation. Matt Kuchar's forearm anchoring doesnt sit too well with me either but they don't seem keen to take that on at this point.
post #17 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleback View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


Hell, even I hit it longer now, at 55, than I did at 30.....

 

So how sad does it make me, who still hits it shorter than when I was 30 (I'm 57).  :-(:cry: 

 

Wait 'til you're 67 like me. ;-)  I'm definitely a shorter hitter now than I was at 30 something, but then I never saw the supposed added length that the evolving equipment was supposed to be generating.  My first metal driver, a TM Tour Driver (9.5° with a 43" steel TT shaft) back in 1988 was still as long as any I've ever owned - I've never been able to figure out why.  And that  was playing a Titleist Tour 100 Balata ball.  The equipment supposedly gets better, but I mostly stayed the same, even when I was still in my 40's.  I just played my game and didn't let it bother me that much.  

 

I still believe that the added length is as much a factor of the 2-3 inch added shaft length in the driver and the stronger lofts in irons as it is in the hotter ball.  I cut my driver back to 44" for better control, so I wouldn't expect to see crazy distance out of it.

post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleback View Post

So how sad does it make me, who still hits it shorter than when I was 30 (I'm 57).  a4_sad.gifd1_bigcry.gif  

That just means you were a lot better at 30 than I was! a2_wink.gif
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