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Anchoring Ban Polling: Ban And Ban It ASAP

We've had some nice response numbers for various anchoring polls and while those on this site would never be called scientific, they are nonetheless revealing. With last week's prior to the PGA Tour player meeting, I thought it'd be worth revisiting the various polls.

Golfdatatech found that 60% of golfers support the ban.

In one poll before the anchoring ban announcement, 69% were in favor of anchoring from 974 votes. 

The number slightly dropped to 65% of 1,346 votes after the proposed 14-1b announcement.

And you may recall way back when asking about the possible rule change, bifurcation was on the polling table and 31% of 605 votes were for bifurcation.

When the question was posed about timing of the anchoring ban, 41% of 723 votes were for an October 2013 start (when the 2013-'14 season starts). 31% were for bifurcation, presumably to let average golfers to anchor while pros lost the privilege.

And last week 80% of you out of over 500 votes were in favor of a ban applying to the PGA Tour, with a 2013-14 start for Tour play edging 2016 43% to 37%.

Just based on these numbers, it's hard to see how the governing bodies come out of the "comment period" without solid feedback to reiterate their stance. I'm sure Nate Silver has a word for this, but I'm not far enough along in his book to tell you what it is!

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Reader Comments (13)

While 60% is a strong majority, do we really want a rule change that is going to alienate 40% of the participants in a sport that is struggling? BTW I tried it but I do not anchor.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbcsgreenkeeper
I am not sure I understand this idea that the tours must rush to adopt this prior to the deadline. Granted you would have to start at the beginning of the 2015/2016 season for both the PGA and Euro Tours, which is 4q 2015, but if the main objection to the implementation of the rules from the Pro side is that guys have been putting with anchoring for so long, isn't it only fair to give them as long of an adjustment period as possible ? Weighing against that is the (silly) perception that it is cheating to use it in the interim, which I guess some people will have, but so what ? That is only perception, vs. the reality of the need for guys to learn a new method.

Prediction: The Senior Tour does not go along with this, creating the "reverse bifurcation" issue that has been discussed. I say reverse bifurcation because that would be a case where the pros (albeit Seniors) have it easier than the average golfer.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Interesting comment by Sam Snead re his side saddle style of putting which could be related to anchoring.

"If Hogan could win another Open putting side saddle, he wouldn't do it. It looks so God-awful"

Anchoring is also ugly.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
I anchor, so i am biased. I would assume few (if any) that currently anchor would vote for a ban, and few that don't anchor would vote against a ban. A minority of golfers anchor, so why are people surprised that a majority of polled golfers support the ban ?
01.29.2013 | Unregistered Commentermdrgolf
I don't understand the need to wait, Nike says "Just do it!". Good advice, already.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfFan
Stanley passes Go and collects $200!!
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I do not anchor and am a good putter. I say let them anchor. It shows weakness.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
AMEN! Ban it now! Anchoring is NOT killing the sport--SLOW PLAY is...
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterViz

Do you have a suggestion for the USGA/R&A for fixing the slow play problem?

There's a slow play problem on the tours that should be fixed by each tour.
There's a slow play problem at many golf courses that needs to be fixed at each of those courses.

There's a slow play problem at the championships run by the USGA and R&A that they should fix BUT fixing those events isn't going to do much to help the game as a whole.

The anchoring matter is different than the slow play matter - fixing it (if one thinks a fix is needed) has to come from the USGA/R&A.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Nelson
Mr. Nelson.

As to the tours; penalize slow play with strokes after one warning. As to golf courses- marshalls are available for the privelage of free play- however - marshall the marshalls, many who simply go ball hounding instead of actually moving play along.

Additionally, bowling has a reset 'cock'' on each lane to see how many frames are actually bowled-the use of a time stamp, while I am not for it in daily play on an open course, could be used to move heavy usage time play along.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@digsouth, are you agreeing with me that the matter of slow-play is best solved at the course-level (for general play) and at the tour-level (as the tours have more events than the ruling bodies themselves do) and thus Viz' linking of slow-play and anchoring (suggesting that the ruling bodies should be tackling slow-play rather than the issue that they chose to tackle) was silly?
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Nelson
On one side you have the traditionalists who don’t agree with the anchoring of the putter against the body. I understand their complaint that anchoring provides an advantage to those who need the additional stability during their putting stroke. I’m not going to debate their point. In fact, I’ll concede their point as being true. The comments on how it looks are irrelevant.

The other side argues that the vast majority of players “still” do not anchor because it’s actually a crutch for those who have problems putting. And while there has some recent success in majors, there has been little evidence in the amateur and professional tours to suggest that it’s the game changer it’s being played out as by the ruling bodies. Interestingly, the vast majority of elite players still use a traditional stroke.

I’ll throw in a third point of view.

About 10 years ago I began to get the yips on the greens. The problem progressed over a couple of years and the yips lead to the occasional shank. It got worse leading to me freezing and unable to make a stroke. Once that problem began to creep into my chipping and short shots, I quit playing and tried to overcome this with lessons and intense practise. I saw improvement but froze as soon as I tried to play. So I quit the game and played summer hockey. The next year I bought a long putter and used that to rekindle my love for the game. I wasn’t good with it, but at least I could putt. Over five years I progressed all the way back to a short putter, which I was better with the days I relaxed enough to be fluid. Without the long putter, I’m not sure what I would have done.

Here’s what I don’t get in the debate…

Why do casual amateurs have to go without the long putter? I don’t care about whether they ban it for the professionals and competitive amateurs. I only care about whether they take the putter from the casual player. As the PGA of America questioned, why would we take away something that helps make the game easier for the regular guy or gal when participation in the game is dropping?

What I struggle with is the notion that one of golf’s essential elements is “all” players play under the same rules and with the same equipment. I would bet that 90% of all rounds don’t follow the rules and 99% of all players don’t actually know the rules. As for the equipment, if you think their swinging the same clubs you are, you need to visit one of the tour’s trailers at an event.

For the good of the game, let’s separate the game for the competitive and non-competitive play. That may even open up a great angle to address the ball.
02.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan Andrew
I 'm in favor of anchoring. I'm trying to learn how to use a long putter effectively but so far I find the regular (short) putter much easier to use. I think it's going to take an enormous amount of practice to get any good with a long putter.

As for speeding up play, one possibility might be to buy time (e.g., 4.5 - 5 hours) instead of 18 holes of golf. Then, if you finish 18 holes in 3 hours and 45 minutes, you get to play extra holes. Of course, one slow player could mess up this method of play (although he/she would have a lot of group pressure to speed/keep up) and it may have to wait until a day when every player could be monitored/timed by computer. I haven't really thought this idea through so there may be glowing holes in it. So, instead of ridiculing me, maybe you could go practice your putting, anchored or not.
02.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

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