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« R.I.P. H. Lowrey Stulb | Main | The R&A's Distance Measuring Device Flowchart... »
Thursday
Jan092014

PGA Prez & Finchem Pushing For Amateur Anchoring Delay

Say what you want about PGA of America President Ted Bishop--and many have accused him of using the anchored putter debate to get attention--the man has not given up his fight for the average yipper. I for one, now admire his determination to look out for everyday golfers and empathize with his case for the everyday man who would like to continue to anchor his putter post-January 1, 2016.

Thanks to reader Carl for sending along Bishop's recent email to PGA members that reveals the PGA President's plan to attend February's USGA meeting along with Tim Finchem to present a case for a grandfather period for average hackers.

Greetings! 

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday Season. Now, it's time to turn our attention to 2014 and another exciting year of golf. 

On Feb. 8, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and I will jointly attend the USGA Executive Committee meeting in Pinehurst, N.C. Our main purpose will be to formally request a "grandfather period" for recreational amateurs who anchor long putters.

As you know, the USGA and the R&A have approved Rule 14-1b, which bans the anchored stroke, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The leadership at the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR both believe that it would be reasonable to offer recreational golfers who anchor a longer period of time to convert to the approved method of making a stroke. For example, when the "Grooves Rule" was instituted in 2009, the USGA allowed a 15-year "grandfather period" for amateurs to switch to conforming golf clubs.

We believe our request for a "grandfather period" can further assist you, the PGA Professional, in transitioning recreational golfers who do anchor, to the approved method. 



To help support our request, I am asking you to submit real-life stories and/or case studies of players at your facility who may be adversely affected by this change in the Rules. We want specific names and details of those who may find it difficult to enjoy the game after Jan. 1, 2016. I encourage you to have players tell their own story, and I ask you to submit all stories and case studies to me at pgapresident@pgahq.com, by Jan. 24. Our goal is to compile these stories and present them to the USGA Executive Committee in February.

The purpose of this exercise is to humanize the effects the anchoring ban likely will have on golfers. As the tangible link between the game and all who play it in this country, PGA Professionals can help tell these powerful stories.

We don't know what decision the USGA will make, but we do feel strongly that they should hear these real-life stories. Furthermore, this is a critical step in our pursuit to have a more direct and timely impact in the Rules process - a more viable seat at the table, if you will. As we move forward, we will continue to have these meetings with the USGA Executive Committee so that they can hear the viewpoint of our organizations. 


Thanks for your help. We want the voices of golfers to be heard and PGA Professionals are the ones who can make it happen.

Ted Bishop, PGA

38th President
 The PGA of America

While I'm not too keen to read golfer sob stories about the yip cures they've enjoyed due to jamming a rod into their belly, I do understand their plight and asked Mr. Bishop to explain his thinking on the push to grandfather in the anchoring ban, and he replied with this statement:

"In July of 2013 when the PGA of America notified the USGA that we would adopt Rule 14-1b in our championships, we also asked for consideration of a "grandfather period" for recreational amateurs, similar to the process when the groove regulations were modified in 2008.

We have worked with Mike Davis and the USGA to set up a time when we could present our reasons to the Executive Committee for consideration of this grandfather period. This will take place in February at the USGA Annual Meeting.

We appreciate the opportunity to make this presentation to the USGA.  Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new era between our respective organizations which opens up the lines of communication on future Rules of Golf matters.

Throughout this entire process, the PGA of America has solicited the opinions of our members on the anchoring topic. We are simply asking our members to share some of their stories regarding golfers who will be impacted by the anchoring ban. This is in no way intended to reignite the debate on anchoring because we accept the USGA decision to invoke Rule 14-1b in 2016. We just want to ask the USGA to consider a grandfather period to give amateurs a longer period to make the appropriate transition."

It's been a while since we've kicked around anchoring, but I remain pleased that the USGA pushed the ban through for the sake of preserving skill on the elite level.  But I've also come to respect Mr. Bishop's case for average golfers after hearing enough examples of people who will be impacted by this and may drop the game for no sound reason (though I'm not sure about Commissioner Christie's place in this as his actions on this topic have been downright strange).

So I'm going to throw it to the wolves: would the anchoring ban be undermined if there was a delay in the ban-date for everyday golfers to a year such as 2020, just as we saw with the groove rule?

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Reader Comments (76)

Good for Bishop and the PGA of America. PGA seems to get it and understand the viewpoint of the everyday golfer.
01.9.2014 | Unregistered CommenterGreenwichGolfer
Screw off.... either you allow anchoring or you don't.
Weekend golfers do want to play under the same rules as PGA tour and other pros.
Bifurcating rules, esp. at the last moment is chicken S*&T.
Personally, if a guy sucks at putting with regular strokes, the handicap system is his only recourse, not some achoring, croquet type effort.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenteriGOLFchip
What is it that makes players so set against requiring real skills by always seeing aids - the modern player has very little real commitment to the game of golf if they keep seeking aids to supplement the need to develop conventional skill. Their game is the weaker for it IMHO.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterOld Tom
Geoff,

This is a good move. Aside from the fact that there should not be an anchor ban at all, it certainly is irrelevant to recreational amateurs.

I have been using a broomstick putter for more than 30 years, a refugee from an involuntary 'cut' stroke with the short stick brought about by playing in a muni league with a bunch of sandbaggers. My partner had just taken up the game, so basically I had to make every putt, whether 6 feet or 60.

After putting with a one-iron for awhile, I discovered a broomstick in the barrel at a country course, and it saved the game for me. Confidence restored.

On the rare occasion when I have to rent clubs when traveling - usually no broomstick is available - my stroke with the conventional putter reverts to the severe, last-second slicing action. If I had to use a short stick all the time, it would be embarrassing enough to give up the game which I deeply love.

I'm not your average 15-handicapper. I competed at a high level against Crenshaw in junior golf, went to college on a scholarship, and have cashed in regional pro tournaments.

Just can't handle a 36-inch shaft.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRick Adams
I agree 100% with Old Tom and iGolfchip. Putting (and the short game) is the great leveler in golf. Not everybody can hit it 300 yards, but around and on the green everybody's equal. And some are better putters than others. If you cannot stomach that - go find yourself another game. The higher level a player aspires to play on the better a player must putt. Simple as that. If you cannot putt to get on that level, or stay at that level, well tough luck.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPer
I'm a "weekend player" and I always play by the rules. I want to play by the rules, then my score means something.
I agree with most here, either ban it or don't. Personally, it should have been banned years ago, it isn't a proper stroke and anchoring is an aid. If you can't handle a 36 inch shaft, too bad . That's the rules .
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
The great thing about golf is it is played by ONE set of rules. Time to get over this subject and move on! Lucky this method hasn't been banned MOONS ago!
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commenterviz
Nearly 3 years is not enough time to make the change???
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Adams
Enough already move on. Its over.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Quite so Nick Adams.

Besides which, it's quite wrong to compare a rules decision based on the golf stroke with one based purely on equipment. Time to bring the game back to a level playing field.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commenterscots wha hae
Scots wha hae (indeed)

Time to reinstate The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf in all its glory that made it a worldwide game - that means golfers play unaided with no need for toys or aids. Stop this 'lets make it easy' for those who just will not commit to the very basic challenge that is Golf.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterOld Tom
It's done. Get over it. This will be seen by the USGA as another attempt to introduce bifurcation and they will and should resist it.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeterM
Anchors are for canoes
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commenter3PuttAficionado
Well, I use the long putter and I just don't anchor it now. Nor do I brace my right elbow. This actually works better for me. I believe the long putter will still be used on the PGA TOUR non anchored.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSammie
Anyone who currently anchors can continue to anchor as long as they want and enjoy playing golf for decades to come. It's a political move and a power play on the part of the PGA of America, nothing else.

If you want to play in competition that uses USGA rules, then learn to putt conventionally. If you don't care to do that, then anchors aweigh! If you'd rather quit, then good luck to you.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Bifurcate. Player improvement equipment is for everyday players whose enjoyment is enhanced by equipment that allows them to score better. And we have day jobs outside the game. Top level amateurs and pros are a different issue and anchoring should be banned. As for the hair-shirt Opus Dei purist crowd, grab your hickories and kilts and enjoy yourselves. It's only a game.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Bifurcation is inevitable.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Malloy
this is exactly why the usga and pga needed to enact the ban starting this year. pushing it off until 2016 means we have to talk about this ridiculousness for another 2 years.

jamming a putter in your gut is not putting. ban the anchor and lets move on. either learn to putt with a short putter, or accept the fact that putting is another part of the game that separates the best from the rest and accept that you aren't a good putter. Otherwise, lets just eliminate the hole all together and just make this a game to see who can hit the most greens in regulation.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharles
I guess this proposal might be thrown in the barrel with the conforming groove issue. I have one set of irons that conform- mizuno mp 60's and a set of titleist 704's that don't. I don't spin the ball enough that I notice a difference. But I did notice a changes on wedges the first year the grooves were revised. Remember, the ban is on anchoring, not long putters. How did I adjust on the wedges? I practiced chipping more. In my men's club mud balls have a bigger impact on consistent scoring. I am curious to see Webb Simpson adapt-perhaps he should ask Snedeker for some "pop stroke" help.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
If you want to play for fun, I don't care if you use plastic clubs if you don't hold anyone up. But pros, top amateurs, club golfers playing in club competitions, play by the rules. And in 2016,that means no anchoring
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Finchem's job has nothing to do with representing average golfers. He should be pressing USGA to double the purse for the U.S. Open rather than socking away all its TV money into reserve fund.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
I fail to understand this, sooner or later the 'anchored putter' will be banned in both the amateur and professional game. Postponing only delays the inevitable. Amateurs will have to bite the bullet sometime, why is 2020 better than 2016, time for the anchorers to start training and practicing without anchoring, There has been plenty of notice.
John
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Morris
"If you can't handle a 36 inch shaft, too bad . That's the rules ."

EW, there's absolutely nothing in the rules about a "36 inch shaft".

Sammie, I've had the exact same experience and agree 100%. Guys like Adam, Tim and Carl will motor on uninterrupted...for those using a belly putter there's no easy solution.

Funniest part is, this is really an Aesthetics Rule and the USGA/R&A have written a law that will not allow Anchoring Police to sanction the most egregious violators, those using the 48"/50" "contraptions"....ROFLMAO!!

I think I will email this to Mr. Bishop, Mayo Clinic study about the yips: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/23/us/yips-the-curse-of-golfers-are-put-to-the-test.html

Wonder what Mayo concluded?

Conclusion: no matter what happens USGA comes out looking bad. 1. USGA denies PGAoA & PGAT in their "grandfather" request, the USGA will be seen as exclusionary and inflexible. 2. Tournament of Champions 2016 the average fan/golfer flips on TV and sees Adam Scott wielding the 50-Incher with aplomb and thinks "wait a minute, I thought long putters were banned"?!?

This is gonna be fun to watch! Only 721 days until the Anti-Anchoring Decree is in effect!!
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
15 years would imply 2029, not 2020. (assuming clock is retroactively started same time as pro's)

My sense is the USGA is taking this about as seriously as the "comment period", not at all.

Another screwup on their part...."comment period" only resulted in months and months of dissension, back-biting, name calling, and hurt feelings (Dawson) -- and damned if the USGA isn't diving into the exact same rat hole again.

As one of my favorite GCA posters would say -- Morons!!
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Bifurcation is already here at most clubs, and has been for years -- the only time the RULES are 100% enforced is in competition.

I don't anchor, and really don't care if my fellow competitor does. As long as we are playing by the same rules once we begin a competition. Most times I have 16-18 clubs in my bag when playing a casual round of golf, ,plus I use a Bushnell. And often times I am playing proto-type golf balls not yet on the "approved list" -- I am always trying out new equipment a manufacturer has sent me to use, so I usually have 3-4 drivers stuck in the bag. In competition, I play by the rules posted - 14 clubs, and a golf ball that is on the USGA "approved list". There is a distinct difference between casual golf and competitive golf.

For those that call themselves "purists", put the range finder in the trash along with the cavity-back irons, go back to persimmon-headed woods, throw out the hybrids, steel shafts only (no graphite), play a wound golf ball, eliminate the golf car, and have a go at it.

If a golfer is going to play in any from of competition, then let the prevailing ROG take precedent. But who really cares what a guy does in a casual round of golf for enjoyment? The average club golfer plays no where near the level of scrutiny the Tour Professional or highly ranked amateur does.

Some people just want to "play golf" to enjoy the camaraderie and their game. All golf is not about competition, nor should it be.

Whatever rule they decide will not affect my passion for enjoying the game, nor the camaraderie of my friends, at whatever level I chose to play - casual or competitive. But there is a huge difference between the two.

And play it forward for gosh sakes!
I wish Teddy boy would shut the eff up and go away.

It is OVER.

Move on.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
DTF, I was just quoting Rick Adams above on the "36 inch shaft"
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Bifurcation exists in all the major sports that come to mind. Just a few examples...
Basketball: halves vs. quarters of play in college/pro; distance to 3-point line
Baseball: aluminum vs. wood bats (I'll spend my time crusading against aluminum bats before huffing about anchoring)
Football: penalty assessments (e.g., pass interference), clock runs

What is so precious and dear about the sacred game of golf that people can't accept bifurcation? You want to forbid anchoring in pro tournaments, fine. That would affect less than 1% of all golfers.

To lightly quote from Stripes, "Lighten up, Francis."

For those who may recall from older posts, I do use a broomstick, not anchored. May those who condemn its use never have to deal with nerve damage in one's arm.

Happy Friday, Shackians.

PTL
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPTL
EW, ok, just making sure. Thing is I believe 99% of golfers don't understand that "this is not an equipment rule". I am repeatedly asked "what are you going to do now they've banned that putter"? They are all astonished when presented with the facts!
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
In total agreement there Del, though 99% might be a tad high
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
looking forward to all the new insights on this issue during its second year of discussion.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commentersmails
This rule change came about because a few did not not like their "Opens" being won by something that was not aesthetically pleasing.
The new rule has always been about professional golf and how it looks to those who "rule" the game. If Simpson, Els and Bradley had not won their Majors putting the way they do, this would not have even have made a mention, let alone a rule change.
To the guys that have made a living from something that was perfectly legal and acceptable since forever - "bad luck sunshine, go find another way."
Is that fair and or equitable?
01.10.2014 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
2020? Sob stories? What nonsense. Some will be dead by 2020, and the 99% that quit will do so for reasons unrelated to anchoring. Will these real-life stories be about recreational players with real problems? Those on medication for nerves, vacillating over elective surgery vs. therapy or movement disorder treatment at the Mayo Clinic. I'd wager the number is minuscule and the kind folks so afflicted couldn't care less what the USGA, PGA or PGAT does. This is about the bread and butter. A dog & pony show to benefit 99.9% of anchorphiles, players that advance the brand. Some have developed competition yips while others are capable of handling the pressure but choose to anchor simply for the advantage it provides. Whether its real or perceived doesn't matter. As stated above by Rick Adams, confidence is a huge factor in how well we roll it. We're born with a set of mental tools for competition. You either have them and refine them, or you don't.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Pro from Dover

You say and I quote "For those that call themselves "purists", put the range finder in the trash along with the cavity-back irons, go back to persimmon-headed woods, throw out the hybrids, steel shafts only (no graphite), play a wound golf ball, eliminate the golf car, and have a go at it."

The R&A have allowed so much to pollute the game over the years, actually over a 100 years that the game and many of our great old courses have been watered down to a point that the challenge, test and penal are now dirty words. Golf had by the turn of the 20th Century achieved parity between ball and clubs that allowed even more great courses to be designed and built up to the late 1930's.

By all means use whatever material or high tech material but it needs to be sustained and pegged at the standards of that day circa 1900. That would have given the game uniformity over ball and equipment stopping the madness of longer and longer course etc. etc.

Technology is not the enemy of golf, never has been but new equipment be they clubs or ball should not be designed to travel further than say those of 1900. But no wisdom and total lack of thought on behalf of the governing bodies meant little was done to stop this madness, allowing anything and seeing the courses being adjusted again and again, costs incurred for new equipment , for new land, new longer Holes and all in the end paid for by the humble golfer.

If equipment technology allows the score to fall then there is something wrong with the game and its governing body - yes pre 1900 the ball developed from a featherie prone to the wet and splitting, while the gutty gave golf 50 year to get some stability which allowed the clubs to develop, to finally compete with the quality courses being built in the 19th Centuries, the improve Green keeping and good management of the land and maintenance procedures.

As mentioned by the late 1890's 1900 the balance had been achieved but along came the Haskell and the distance mods started again and as yet have not stopped - all to the cost of the humble golfer. Technology is great but proper control is imperative.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterOld Tom
Here comes the "temporary delay" while the matter is "studied further..." I maintain my original opinion that it'll be talked about and talked about while nothing changes...
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRLL
Earth to Old Tom: it's the year 2014. Try living in it. Those GolfNow commericals show you know what "tee times" are, so you are capable of post 1900 intelligence.

While we're at it, I can introduce you to new techonological advancements such as a "car" and "plane" ? It's going to rock your world!!
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDC
Sixer of Brooklyn Brown for the first person who can tell when this was said & who said it:

"I fear me that the modern ball has all but killed the skillful shots that were demanded when I played it with the proper ball. Indeed, true golf can no longer be played. And I can say that, statically, play is worse than the days of the Triumvirate to, Vardon, Taylor, and Braid."
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
>> Nearly 3 years is not enough time to make the change???

@Nick, that was one of the points I mentioned to Geoff in e-mail. A lengthier grandfather period made some sense when discussing sets of irons but the 2+ years is plenty for golfers to swap out a single club.

'Opening communications' is silly too given that the PGA and the TOUR are both represented on the USGA rules committee.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
This is such a hollow argument it's embarrassing. How did Bishop convince Finchem to join this goose chase?
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJS
DC

This is what happens when you allow cheats into golf - they talk crap, they use crap arguments and are not willing to examine the damage they do to the game in not understand first the game then how it is played.

Use whatever aid you want but have the balls to say you are not playing golf but assisted golf -

It only takes the governing body to say - hey guys use aids but you get penalty strokes if you do - then we would see just what would happens - suddenly the fear of not being in the game to win will concentrate the mind of the weak into ditching the aids as their game would not be strong enough to compete without aids, nor could they accept the penalty strokes.

The Date circa 1900 by the way is just the starting point as it was a natural break at the a time of great stability in both ball/clubs.
01.10.2014 | Unregistered CommenterOld Tom

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