It’s almost official. The U.S. Golf Association and R&A on Wednesday proposed a ban on the anchoring of the club, gripping hand or forearm to the body during the putting stroke.
A final decision will be made in 90 days, but this rule change looks as if it will go into effect in January 2016.
So now, thousands of golfers find themselves left with putters that were designed with anchoring in mind.
Is your long, or belly putter now completely useless?
One thing the governing bodies made clear was that this was not an equipment ban, meaning you are free to use your unconventional putters however you choose, as long as it’s not anchored.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you decide to continue using a long or belly putter in the post-anchoring ban world:
• A long putter is increasingly difficult to control without an anchor. When the putter swings, the butt end of the club will have a mind of its own. This will make keeping the clubface square to the target line at impact extremely difficult, resulting in putts that start offline.
• You are allowed to “anchor” the club in a way that the grip fits against your forearm. This wonderful exception may be your best bet for using an unconventional putter if you deal with the yips - and if you don’t know what the yips are you don’t want to know. It can also allow you stand a little taller to alleviate any back issue you may have.
• Putting success is primarily about reading greens (speed and direction) and confidence. The equipment you use or the stroke technique you have play a smaller role in you becoming a good putter. As long as you take the time to practice reading greens, you will develop confidence no matter what kind of putter you use.
• And finally, be creative. Creativity is what originally led to the use of unconventional putters and different styles of putting grips. Go out and experiment with different ways to use your unconventional putter within the rules. Who knows? You may come across the next great thing in putting. And if it’s really good, the USGA and R&A might ban it!