Far Hills, NJ (Sports Network) - The United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club have announced a rule change prohibiting anchored strokes.
In essence, players will not be allowed to place the shaft of long putters against their bodies while making a stroke.
The two governing bodies in golf said the new rule, first proposed in November 2012, will take effect as of January 2016 in accordance with the regular four- year cycle for changes to the rule book.
Rule 14-1b was given a lengthy review by the USGA and R&A after comments and suggestions from across the golf community were collected and thoroughly considered.
"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 D. Nager in a joint statement with the R&A. "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."
Long putters can still be used, but they must be swung without the aid of anchoring.
"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 R&A chief executive Peter 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. We recognize this has been a divisive issue, but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf."
The new rule reads 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.