Anchoring the Club; Happy New Year?

In another month, Rule 14-1b will be in effect and you will no longer be able to anchor a club, either directly or through the use of an anchor point, to make a stroke. If you do, the penalty in match play is loss of hole or in stroke play it is two strokes.

Please be clear on this. It is a Rule of Golf; it cannot be modified by a Local Rule to change the penalty nor may a policy be introduced that says it is authorized. Just as if you were to hit a ball out of bounds, there is a penalty associated with the action that cannot be changed or modified.

So let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of the Rule. The Rule states “In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either ‘directly’ or by use of an ‘anchor point’.”

Instead of defining anchoring directly or by the use of an anchor point, the rules makers have decided to define them by “notes” directly after the Rule in the Rule Book.

Note 1 says “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 states “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 USGA has a page dedicated to explaining the Rule and also an informative poster that helps explain the Rule. Click here to view the page.

Now, as with any new Rule, questions will arise as to the implementation and enforcement of this new Rule. Did he or she anchor it or not? It will not be easy.

Personally, I expect a significant reduction in the use of “long” or “belly” putters used in the manner in which we have become accustomed. You may see an increase of the “facing front on” technique as we all search for the holy grail of putting techniques.

However, whatever method you choose, let’s still remember that it is a game to be enjoyed by all so go out and have fun!

Remember, use the index or the table of contents to find the correct Rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself to enjoy the game of golf.

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