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How About This Data? Anchoring On The Decline?

In GolfDigestix, E. Michael Johnson reports a couple of interesting findings from GolfDatatech on the possible chilling effect that the proposed anchoring ban has had on sales along with PGA Tour use.

He reports a 21.2 percent decline in putter sales over a year ago when long putters were flying off the shelves.

More interesting is that only six tour players anchored at the AT&T Pro-Am and just 12 at Riviera. However, 12 of the 64 at the WGC Match Play used a long putter, which is much higher percentage. But of course, Matt Kuchar's method would be legal, so...ah just ban it.


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Reader Comments (18)

Not to pick on Tim Clark, but I am going to pick on Tim Clark. Can someone please explain to me why his physical condition requires that the end of the putter be jammed in his sternum? I understand he can't rotate his arms a certain way, but couldn't he putt with a long putter without it anchored into his body? I understand how his physical condition makes the long putter his only option, but I don't see why the condition forces him to anchor it, couldn't he merely grip it the way he is now, and hold the butt end of the putter 1 inch from his chest.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ
J, have always found that odd too. How can you be a world class ball striker but physically unable to putt with a regular blade? Surely a full swing puts more physical pressure on the arms, wrists, body than a putting stroke? Happy to be disproved if anyone knows the specifics.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAV
This doesn't surprise me in the least and I believe it was discussed/predicted in these forums in prior threads. A couple guys winning majors will definitely create a spike in demand. Then those folks go out and try a belly putter or long putter and find out it takes lots and lots of work to become proficient with it, and they bag it.

Basically it's a fad.

Real life example. I bought a 48" two-ball in the Eldorado pro shop 8 or 9 years ago. Since then it's probably been in the bag half the time, like any other putter it runs hot and cold. My inventory now includes two identical 48" two-ball putters. One of my regular partners witnessed me get on a little bit of a roll one month and went out and got himself the exact same putter. He threw the towel in on it in less than a month and offered it to me for half what he paid for it, I accepted.

Me personally, I couldn't putt with a belly putter if I had to, feels completely foreign. Now next week I am looking forward to trying out Mr. Ballard's right-index-finger-down-the-shaft technique at Big Rec with my sweet oil can Catalina Two ;) One of the 48"ers will make the trip too...
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
To J and AV:

Agree. Not to dispute Clark, but it would be interesting to see him demo how a developmental wrist deformity can make conventional putting more difficult, but not impair the full swing.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Stepping into a confessional can be a good thing, DTF. Especially in the house of Shack ;-)
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
I call BS on the notion that a rule banning anchored putting is a significant long-term detriment to equipment sales. I'm even willing to give E. Michael Johnson a bit of credit for reporting that the comparison of December '12 sales to December '11 sales was skewed by an uncharacteristic bump in the 2011 sales numbers.

In any event, I see few recreational players using them. And I see no reason for anyone to base any Rule-making decision on the basis of putter sales.

It might be a nice topic for polling on the matter of an anchoring ban:

For those who use an anchored method of putting; how many years have you been utilizing that method exclusively?
A. Less than 2 years
B. 2 to 4 years
C. 4 to 10 years
D. More than 10 years

When there is talk of a "30-year" history with anchored putting, I think the number of players who have relied on anchored putting for the majority of their competitive careers is miniscule. I suspect that it is a very small minority of golfers who utilize anchored putting and of those who do, an even more tiny percentage have relied on it for more than four years.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Tim Clark started using the long putter in college. That means that he, as a teenager, was good enough with a conventional putter to be offered a scholarship on the other side of the world. Sure, his condition might hamper his touch (it does show in his chipping and bunker play) but to claim physical disability? Get real. I could live with a disability that made me one of the straighterst hitters in the game.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Chuck, you are correct, banning anchoring will not even be a blip on the earnings screen of the traditional manufacturers.

Here's a way you can tell for sure...

Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY) is publicly traded and followed by 9 different research analysts (all listed on their website). I will be surprised if any analyst changes earnings estimates for ELY because of the ban on anchoring. Let's watch...
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I have been a sweeper for 25 years. making the change this weekend.

I have used two different long putters in the last 20 years and the last one only because the airlines now open your bag on every trip and for me it was a ten minute process to fit the club in my travel bag and I was convinced some union baggage handler would bend my favorite putter.

Now that I will be putting with a short putter I am sure I will have a basement full of putters to go with my hybrids that all only go left one I buy them.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPABoy
D. mac, I've always been up front about weapons chosen ;)

Is there some new information out there about Tim Clark suing the PGA Tour? I haven't seen anything to this effect and I'm pretty sure Clark hasn't spoken on the record about the topic. Anyone?
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

deja vu? i don't think the ban is going to affect the game in the long run. maybe a few guys are going to have little harder time on the greens, but the health of the game is immune to the ban of the anchor. if anything, if someone quits the game of golf because they feel like the game is less fun when they can't make putts, that would be proof enough that the anchor is an unfair advantage for those with less skill on the greens.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRay
I know you have, DTF. Always curious about the justification for a switch from conventional. The way the anchoring dialogue is going it might attain cult status, or not. I'd never lock horns over it unless the person thought it provided an advantage. More so with a guy that plays the same driver I do ;-)
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
D. mac, for me it was simply a long stretch of just not making anything, no yips or anything like that, most 3 putts were a result of bad lags. I was in SoCal playing a different course every day, played Eldo and hit it great -- and made nothing. So I went in the proshop after round to look at some putters and it just kind of jumped out at me, took it to the practice green and got started. That was it for me. Now when I switch one way or the other it's usually after a couple rounds of hitting long putts poorly -- just like to switch up the look now and then. Returning to the scene of the crime next week, psyched! Weather flat out sucks here.
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Ray, while I don't agree with your position on the issue, great catch on the SI article!

Superb quotes here...

"The essence of the rule is that not only does a golfer have to try to sink a putt, he has to look good doing it." (June 1967)


"We made the decision with great reluctance," says USGA Executive Director Joseph C. Dey, "but we felt it was the only way to eliminate the unconventional styles that have developed in putting. The game of golf was becoming bizarre. It was some other game, part croquet, part shuffleboard and part the posture of Mohammedan prayer." (June 1967)


And after all this they anchoring just kind of slipped by without anyone noticing?
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
That article is mind blowing!

Snead rails against the USGA! Nicklaus says croquet putting should be allowed!! Prescott Bush claiming amateurs should be allowed!!!

And MORE!!
02.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I built a belly putter. It kept hitting the ground when I attempted to take it back. So much for that.
Imagine a fine sport like golf, wanting to ban something based on how it looks!?
The game is moving back to its' roots (see what I did there?)
02.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenter20/20 rearview
Understand, DTF. Every convert that I know personally, to the man, never even entertains the thought of going back. The 3-foot downhill slider on slick greens when it means something will do that to you. Using both puts you in the rare bird category in my mind. The remedy for NE weather is close at hand so enjoy SoCal! The most pressing issue I have is how to balance a spouse with FL and a standing invite at Whisper Rock ;-)
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata

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