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Category: R&A


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
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(Photo: AP)

November 28, 2012

USGA, R&A to ban anchored putting stroke in 2016

Posted at 8:48 AM by Golf.com

P1-KeeganThe USGA and R&A announced a proposed rule change Wednesday that would outlaw anchoring putters--that is, long putter and belly putters as used by Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley (right) and Webb Simpson. The rule change, if approved after a period of review, will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson and USGA executive director Mike Davis made the announcement at a joint teleconference. In a sign of how closely the issue has been followed in the golfing world, the Golf Channel broadcast the teleconference live on Wednesday morning.

RELATED: Pros who could be affected by rule change

(Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

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)

September 22, 2009

Looming Wedge Rules Create Key Dates for Golfers

Posted at 5:02 PM by David Dusek

Readers of The Shop know that the USGA has recently made some sweeping changes to the rules governing grooves in clubs with a loft of 25° or more. In a nutshell, the governing body of the game in the United States, Canada and Mexico has decided that the grooves on these clubs must be made smaller in volume and have edges that are less sharp.

(If you are interested in reading the USGA's announcement regarding the rule changes, click here.)

However, the rules kick in for different players at different times. Here are the keys dates:

JANUARY 1, 2010
All products submitted to the USGA for approval must contain the new, conforming grooves.

PGA Tour players, and golfers who try to qualify for PGA Tour events, will need to use equipment that has the new grooves starting on this date. Golfers who compete in the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open will need to use clubs with the new grooves as well. However, the USGA has ruled that golfers may use the older, non-conforming grooves at local qualifying tournaments for these events. At the sectional qualifying level, the new conforming grooves must be used.

JANUARY 1, 2011
This is a key date for weekend players because manufacturers will have to stop making and shipping clubs that contain the larger, sharper grooves.

This is why we've been reporting on so many new wedges recently; companies are scrambling to get high-spin clubs into the marketplace while they still can. Still, it's important to note that retailers will be able to sell any clubs they have in stock, even those with nonconforming grooves.

Amateur players who value spin may want to stock up before this date. Once supplies are gone, that's it.

JANUARY 1, 2014
All USGA and R&A championships will require competitors to use the newer, conforming grooves.

JANUARY 1, 2020
The USGA has said that it will evaluate the effects of the groove rules no sooner than this date.

JANUARY 1, 2024
As things stand now, this is the date when the vast majority of the world's golfers will have to start using the new grooves. Before this date, golfers will be free to play with the older, larger grooves, even in rounds used for handicap purposes.




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