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Category: Belly Putter


May 21, 2013

Equipment manufacturers divided on anchored putting ban

Posted at 11:56 AM by Robert Sauerhaft

Here is reaction from the game's leading equipment companies on the USGA and R&A's decision to ban anchored putting, effective Jan. 1, 2016:

Acushnet Company, maker of Titleist equipment: "The rule change regarding anchoring, as explained by the USGA and R&A, concerns only the definition of a stroke, and does not alter any current equipment regulations or impact any equipment that we manufacture and sell. We believe in one set of rules in golf and support the USGA and R&A as the ruling bodies and will continue to manufacture golf equipment that abides by the rules they establish."

Bob Philion, President of Cobra Puma Golf: “Golf lost today. This is not the direction we should be going, it will only continue to alienate people from golf… game enjoyment is how we are going to bring people back to golf. This decision is a giant leap back on that front. With this decision, bifurcation needs to be front and center in golf's conversations and we should be focusing on adapting the rules and the game to be inclusive and fun."

Nike Golf: “In cases like this, the USGA and R&A’s decision to redefine the rules on a product that has already legitimately been in play for many years has an impact on both manufacturers and golfers. Despite this, Nike always manages to adapt to the changes and deliver innovative products within the redefined rules. The USGA and the R&A have the right to make these changes for competitive play. Beyond this decision, we believe that the best interests of the sport of golf are better served by focusing on providing experiences that inspire golfers to play more; developing products that help them to perform better; and better connecting to the golfer in a world where alternative recreational choices are increasing.”

Chris Koske, Global Director of Odyssey Golf: "Odyssey strives to make putting easier for golfers while respecting and operating within the rules established by the USGA. We've anticipated the anchoring technique ban and have already introduced products -- including the Odyssey Tank #7, which has won on Tour -- that promote stability in the putting stroke in accordance with the USGA rules. ... we plan to continue leading the industry in alternative methods of putting with future product launches."

John Solheim, Chairman and CEO of Ping: “I appreciate this was an open process. I also recognize the importance of a single rule book. However, I believe the rulemaking bodies need to better address how we need to make the game more welcoming. I will continue to focus my efforts on that goal.”

TaylorMade Golf: "We appreciate the process the USGA used in its decision to ban the anchoring of putters, but we don’t agree the decision is in the best interest of the game."

November 29, 2012

Putter makers react to the pending anchored putter ban

Posted at 2:11 PM by David Dusek

P1-Keegan1-USGA Executive Director Mike Davis made an important distinction about the ban on anchored putting that was announced Wednesday and will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016. 

"This is not an equipment rule," he said. "The equipment rules are based on facts, research. There's a formal notice and comment period that we go through with manufacturers. In this case, this is simply us clarifying what a stroke should not be."

So golf manufacturers can keep making and selling long and belly putters, even after the ban goes into effect. That's good news for companies like Odyssey Golf, the world's top-selling putter-maker, which saw sales of belly and long putters triple from 2010 to 2011. Today those putters consitute 12% of sales. At TaylorMade, anchor-style putters represent almost 15% of sales.

Here are some reactions from leading putter brands to Wednesday's announcement:

Odyssey Golf
Regarding the USGA and R&A proposal today, Odyssey has long held the belief that confidence with the putter is good for the game, particularly regarding player retention and growth potential. But one of the beauties of putting is that there are so many ways to do it.

Notwithstanding the final ruling in 2013, it is Odyssey's pledge to ensure golfers have the same level of confidence when they line up a putt with one of our products – regardless of the putting technique. We have anticipated this proposal for some time now and have been busy exploring several alternative options.

It should be noted that Odyssey will continue to offer belly and long putters in the short term for golfers who want to continue using them recreationally.

We'd like golfers everywhere to know that Odyssey has an optimistic approach to the proposal regardless of the outcome. As the #1 Putter in Golf, we have more tour players around the world playing and winning with Odyssey putters than any other company, and we will continue to work with those players to innovate new products and new, alternative methods to putt at the highest level.

The Acushnet Company (parent company of Titleist)
We intend to review the announcement regarding anchoring issued today by the USGA and R&A and, as a matter of process, appreciate the opportunity to provide comments to them during the comment period.

Mark King, CEO, TaylorMade Golf
Because the proposed change to the Rules of Golf bans the act of anchoring the putter to the body, and not long and mid-length putters themselves, we’ll continue making them. Does it mean the demand for these kinds of putters would drop? Maybe. But at the end of the day I don’t think we would sell one more or one less putter if the change to the Rules is made.

It’s definitely possible to use a broomstick putter without anchoring it, and I speak from experience. I use one and I hold my left hand in a stationery position a couple of inches away from my sternum. So I think we would definitely see players who currently anchor the putter who will find ways to use a long putter without anchoring it, so they can keep playing by the Rules.

Yet I also think that there will be plenty of amateur golfers who won’t give up anchoring the putter. Anybody who’s played this game knows that good putting requires an extremely precise stroke, and anchoring the putter helps a lot of golfers do that. It will be hard to give up anchoring if your putting is a lot worse without it.

However, golfers who continue to anchor the putter would be breaking the Rules, which would exclude them from holding a legitimate, USGA-sanctioned handicap, which means they couldn’t compete in tournament or event where the Rules of Golf apply. Because of that I think we would see a lot of golf leagues and golf clubs making their own exception to the anchoring rule, which essentially means that they wouldn’t strictly be playing by the Rules of Golf.

But the truth is that most golfers don’t play strictly by the Rules of Golf when they play with their friends, anyway. I don’t mean they cheat, I mean that they often go ahead and flatten spike marks even though the Rules forbid it. And how many golfers are okay with hitting a mulligan off the first tee? And that’s fine, because the game is about having fun for 99 percent of the golfers who play it, not grinding out a score in tournament play.

RELATED: PGA Tour ConfidentialVideo: What's Next? | Obituary for belly putters
RELATED: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook | Google+

(Photo: AP)

November 27, 2012

R&A and USGA holding joint teleconference Wednesday morning

Posted at 7:45 AM by Golf.com

Webb-simpson-belly-preview

LIVE: Golf.com's David Dusek tweets the long putter ruling at 8:30 a.m. ET

After years of debate and months of rumors about what golf's governing bodies will do about anchored putters, it appears the golf world will hear a decision on Wednesday morning. 

The R&A and USGA announced Tuesday that they will hold a joint teleconference with members of the media at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. On the call will be Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A; Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA; David Rickman, executive director of rules and equipment standards for the R&A; and Thomas Pagel, senior director for the Rules of Golf for the USGA.

The topic of the call was not announced, but it's certain to address the growing controversy around the use of various kinds of long putters that are anchored to the body while putting. The most common method is belly putting, in which the butt end of the grip is steadied against the golfer's stomach. Purists argue that this makes putting under pressure easier by lessening the effects of shaky hands.

Three of the last five majors have been won by players using belly putters: Keegan Bradly at the 2011 PGA Championship, Webb Simpson at the 2012 U.S. Open, and Ernie Els at the 2012 British Open. Golf.com will have more details as they become available.

RELATED: The long putter's rise to controversy

(Photo: Webb Simpson won this year's U.S. Open using a belly putter. John Biever/SI)

April 02, 2012

Ping introduces adjustable-length belly putter

Posted at 8:33 AM by Golf.com

Ping_belly_msPing released an adjustable-length belly-putter shaft, the company announced in a statement last week.

The adjustable putter shaft, offered exclusively with the Nome 405 putter, allows players to adjust the length of the putter within a 9-inch range. Ping said it is the first major golf company to introduce a USGA-approved adjustable putter shaft.

Belly putters have surged in popularity since to Tour pros like Adam Scott and Webb Simpson used them in victories in the 2011 season. At the 2011 PGA Championship, Keegan Bradley became the first major winner to use a belly putter. In February, a New York Times article called belly putters, "the hottest product in golf equipment." 

“At PING, custom fitting is our priority, and with the popularity of belly putters we saw a unique fitting opportunity because shaft length is so critical to performance,” Ping CEO John A. Soleim said in a statement. “Adjustability is key because the standard 42-inch belly putter fits a narrow range of people. When the shaft is too long or too short, it alters your distance from the ball, your eye position, and the path of your stroke. Adjustability lets you experiment until your posture is comfortable and your eyes are over the ball, which helps you make a consistent stroke and solid impact. We’re pleased to have USGA approval of this easy-to-use, innovative technology. Golfers are going to find it will help improve their putting.”

According to Ping, the putter's length can be adjusted from 37.5 to 46.5 inches. How does it work? Here's how Ping explains it:

The player changes the length using a Ping adjustment tool that threads into a locking ring on the shaft. Turning the tool loosens the ring, allowing the shaft to slide telescopically. The player then adjusts the shaft to the desired length. Turning the adjustment tool in the opposite direction and removing it locks the ring and secures the shaft so it’s ready for play.

As one more fitting step, the shaft is available in three different bends to match Straight, Slight Arc, and Strong Arc stroke types. This coincides with PING’s Fit for Stroke™ putter-fitting concept.

The standard-length Nome arrives in pro shops this week, but it had an impressive debut on the PGA Tour when Hunter Mahan used it during his winning run at the Accenture World Match Play in February. He also used it en route to his win at the Shell Houston Open. The Nome long putter with adjustable shaft will be available May 1 for $320.







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