A Pro-Bono Defense
In light of the recent USGA and R and A ban on anchored putters and seeing other hubs praising the decision; I felt it necessary to add my two cents. This decision seems to me to be political in nature and has nothing to do with a supposed advantage the anchored putter gives. There are several reasons for this belief, as follows.
First and foremost the anchored putter has been in use for decades. Keegan Bradley recently tweeted a photo from the early 1900's from Riviera; The photo depicts a golfer anchoring his putter. The link is here:
Of course rules have been changed midstream before with golf balls and equipment but they were due to performance advantages. The anchored stroke has never been proven an advantage in golf and many contend it is just another way to perform a golfing stroke.
"What we have here is a different method of putting," Clark said in March.
"It's not wrong. It's not against the values of the game.
It's still a stroke. People who come out and say, 'It's not a stroke, you don't get nervous,'
I can't believe that. I've been using it for 15 years. I get nervous. I miss putts under pressure. Putting essentially will always come down to 99 percent brain and mindset and confidence.
"If I felt I was cheating, I wouldn't be using it." - Tim Clark (Source: http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/9297193/golf-governing-bodies-impose-ban-anchoring-putter-starting-january-2016)
If it such an advantage, why are their so few using it and why was the first major championship won with a long putter not until 2011 with a style first patented in 1924.
Why political, because the USGA and R and A have to show they matter and are doing something to help the game. Just like congress focusing on baseball players and steroids while the deficit quadruples. Since the 1990's the game of golf experienced a boom that fostered the resources for club makers to invest in research and development. This created a whole new game with drivers peaking at 460 cc's, longer irons, and most importantly a much improved golf ball. Comparing today's ball and equipment to that of just 20 years ago is like comparing a Ferrari to a Pinto.
What does the USGA do about this, ban a putter that has not changed the game at all. You still have to swing it back and through just like any other putter. If you get nervous and shaky you still pull and push putts the same way you do with a standard putter. I have used both. I carry a handicap of 5 and I can truly say it was harder for me to use an anchored putter than the standard one. All three long putters I owned, 2 belly and one long, were sold in less than a year of using them.
The original golf game was done with feather balls and sticks carved by men. The argument, it's not in the intended nature of the game holds no water when you look at the original game compared to today's game. Using that argument one could say that any form of golf played today is not in the nature of the game. But like everything else golf grows and changes, hence better balls and clubs. The anchored putter is no exception, just the easy target. Focusing on the non issue, anchored putting, is Much easier than making every manufacturer dial back the ball or MOI (moment of inertia) in clubs. Manufacturers who make long putters create standard ones as well so the initial pain felt will be momentary. Don't forget the biggest manufactures of balls also make clubs and have a strong lobby with the USGA.
Golf has many problems, it is too expensive, courses are becoming to long and difficult for average players, and it takes to long. All of this can be addressed by dialing back the ball. With shorter, easier courses management will be easier and more cost effective making the game less expensive. The speed of the game will also improve. Banning the anchored putter does nothing to improve the game. It only takes away a fun and quirky way for people to enjoy the game. A novelty that amateurs can enjoy. The ban will take effect and slowly but surely long putters will disappear taking away from the game of golf, not improving it.