THE R&A AND USGA ANNOUNCE PROPOSED RULES CHANGE TO PROHIBIT USE OF ANCHORED STROKES
Rule Would Take Effect on January 1,
2016, Allowing for Transitional Period
Belly-Length and Long Putters Would Remain as Conforming Clubs
November 2012, St Andrews, Scotland: The R&A
and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf's governing
bodies, today announced proposed changes to the Rules of Golf that
would prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke.
The proposed Rule 14-1b, which follows an extensive review by
The R&A and the USGA, would prohibit strokes made with the club
or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player's
body, or with a forearm held against the body to establish an
anchor point that indirectly anchors the club.
The proposed new Rule would not alter current equipment rules
and would allow the continued use of all conforming golf clubs,
including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are
not anchored during a stroke. The proposed Rule narrowly targets
only a few types of strokes, while preserving a golfer's ability to
play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style.
Prior to taking a final decision on the proposed Rule, The
R&A and the USGA will consider any further comments and
suggestions from throughout the golf community.
"We believe we have considered this issue from every angle but
given the wide ranging interest in this subject we would like to
give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any
new matters for consideration," said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive
of The R&A.
The proposed Rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016,
in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the
Rules of Golf. This timetable would also provide an extended period
in which golfers may, if necessary, adapt their method of stroke to
the requirements of the Rule.
For more information about the newly proposed Rule, as well as
additional information including videos and images of strokes that
would be allowed or prohibited by the proposed changes to Rule
14-1, visit www.RandA.org/anchoring
New Rule Would Define and Preserve the Nature of the Stroke
In proposing the new Rule, The R&A and the USGA concluded
that the long-term interests of the game would be served by
confirming a stroke as the swinging of the entire club at the
"Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing
the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it
freely at the ball," said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. "The
player's challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in
striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that
challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be
amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by
eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club."
NEW RULE WOULD ADDRESS RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE GAME
This proposal reflects The R&A's and USGA's responsibility
to define how the game is to be played. Aspects of how a player
must make a stroke have been addressed in past Rules changes, such
as the century-old Rule codifying that the ball must be fairly
struck and not be pushed, scraped or spooned and the 1968
prohibition on the "croquet" style of putting.
"As governing bodies, we monitor and evaluate playing practices
and developments in golf, with our primary mandate being to ensure
that the Rules of Golf continue to preserve the fundamental
characteristics of the game," addedDavis.
Although anchoring the club is not new, until recently it was
uncommon and typically seen as a method of last resort by a small
number of players. In the last two years, however, more and more
players have adopted the anchored stroke. Golf's governing bodies
have observed this upsurge at all levels of the game and noted that
more coaches and players are advocating this method. The decision
to act now is based on a strong desire to reverse this trend and to
preserve the traditional golf stroke.
"Anchored strokes have become the preferred option for a growing
number of players and this has caused us to review these strokes
and their impact on the game," saidDawson. "Our concern is that
anchored strokes threaten to supplant traditional putting strokes
which are integral to the longstanding character of the sport."
REVIEW PROCESS AND TIMETABLE
Earlier this year, The R&A and the USGA announced that they
were reviewing the subject of anchoring. There has been widespread
discussion of the issue throughout the international golf community
which has been noted by the governing bodies.
Each organisation is expected to take a final decision on the
proposed Rule change in spring 2013. Anyone wishing to provide
written comments to the appropriate governing body is encouraged to
do so by 28 February 2013 as directed on the respective websites:
(In the context of this news release, The R&A refers to
R&A Rules Ltd)
The proposed change would re-label current Rule 14-1 as Rule
14-1a, and establish Rule 14-1b as described below:
14-1b Anchoring the Club
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.
R&A Rules Ltd is the rules-making company of The R&A.
Based inSt Andrews, The R&A organises The Open Championship,
major amateur events and international matches. Together with the
United States Golf Association, The R&A governs the game
worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of
Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf
Rankings. The R&A's working jurisdiction is global, excluding
The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the
growth of the game internationally and the development and
management of sustainable golf facilities. The R&A operates
with the consent of 143 organisations from the amateur and
professional game and on behalf of over thirty million golfers in
For more information about The R&A visit www.RandA.org.
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S.
Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two
state team championships and international matches. Together with
The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly
administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment
Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA's working
jurisdiction comprises theUnited States, its territories
The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of
sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a
primary steward for the game's history and funds an ongoing "For
the Good of the Game" charitable giving program. Additionally, the
USGA's Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six
continents in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.
Malcolm Booth, The
Mike Woodcock, The R&A
+44 (0)1334 460000
+44 (0)7917 759042
Joe Goode, USGA
Dan Hubbard, USGA Communications
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