Belly Putter Ruling

11/28/12:  The big golf news of the day was the anticipated announcement concerning anchoring of the golf club to the body.  As a manufacturer I was notified by email of the announcement seen at www.usga.org/rules/Proposed-Changes-to-Rule-14-1/.  This site has excellent explanation with illustrations of conforming and non-conforming use.

The USGA is taking a cautious approach, very Federal Government like, in asking for input.  It is my understanding that they first approached the PGA tour administration and player representatives to get their backing.  This did not happen.  The players do not believe it is a competitive issue.  Their opinion is based upon fact that anyone could do it and yet not many do.  If it were competitive advantage everyone would do it.  They recognized 3 majors have been won by player using belly putter, but most tournaments are won by those using unanchored methods.  They also cautioned against the transition method, since is some one wins during that period prior to the deadline it is illegal, there will be a public perspective of “illegal” and then will it require an asterisk by the winner’s name.

It will be interesting how the PGA Tour deals with this ruling.  Will they have their own competitive rules.  I doubt there will be a USGA/PGA Tour battle, but the consequences for competitive golf will be interesting to say the least.

It was interesting to me that at the close of the year, many players using anchoring method switched back, perhaps in anticipation due to the rumors.  At Q school practice days I only saw two players on the practice green using the long putter; one being Billy Mayfair.  I saw one player using he belly putter.  It will be interesting to see how many PGA Tour players revert back right away.

Another interesting aspect of the belly and long putter use on the PGA Tour is that it has not converted to commercial sales.  The reason apparently is the increased cost of the putter and or the grips to find out if it is much better.  The effect upon the manufacturers will be an useless inventory.

www.prescriptiongolf.com/PutterGrip.aspx

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