In an expected move, the USGA and R&A have announced the adoption of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf that prohibits anchored putting.
The new rule, first proposed last November, will take effect on January 1, 2016. The decision comes following a 90-day comment period after the proposal was first made.
The USGA and The R&A have prepared a report to explain the reasons for the decision to adopt Rule 14-1b. For more information, click here.
“Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed rule was announced, our best judgment is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game – that the player freely swing the entire club,” said USGA president Glen Nager.
“The new rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf,” he added.
Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, added that he felt all voices were heard in the process.
“We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organizations at all levels of the game,” said Dawson.
“The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised,” he added.
“We recognize this has been a divisive issue, but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf,” said Dawson.
The current Rule 14-1 of the Rules of Golf will be re-numbered as Rule 14-1a and new Rule 14-1b will be established as follows:
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either directly or by use of an anchor point.
Note 1: The club is anchored directly when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.
Note 2: An anchor point exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.
“The discussion around the rule has been very helpful, and we appreciate that so many different perspectives were offered,” said USGA executive director Mike Davis.
“We know that not everyone will agree with the new rule, but it is our hope that all golfers will accept that this decision is reasoned and motivated by our best judgment in defining the sport and serving the best interests of the game,” he said.