The debate going on at the moment about the proposed ban of anchoring the putter to your body is an interesting one.

I was watching the Golf Channel’s ‘Morning Drive’ yesterday and Arnold Palmer (The King) mentioned how he would be in favor of the ban.

He states –

“Now the long putter, I’ve objected to that from the beginning. I only think that we don’t need a long putter. That’s not part of the game of golf. To attach it to your body in any way is taking a little bit away from the game,” Palmer said.

“I’m not going to argue with anybody about it. I’ve stated my position, and that is that. We do not need a contraption like that to play the game of golf. I would hope that we’d play under one set of rules, and those rules would include a ban on the long putter hooked to the body in some way, shape or form.”

Mr. Palmer has a valid point. The idea of attaching the putter to the body, to many seems like an advantage. We all know that when the pressure is on – the hands start to shake a little, the feeling of the tool in our hands is different, and what was easy yesterday suddenly seems a lot more difficult today.

Also, the idea of playing in the wind with the club attached to the body seems a little unfair. The wind is obviously going to blow you around a little over the ball. So being able to attach the club to your body in these conditions is an advantage I would think.

However, we now have a whole generation of players who are coming up through the school and college ranks who only know how to putt with a long putter.

Now the other issue is if the PGA Tour actually accepts the proposed ban. If Tim Fincham and the PGA Tour don’t accept the ban, the sport could be played with different sets of rules – one for Pros and another for amateurs.

Conversely, the European Tour, USGA and R&A have come out in favor of banning the anchored putting method. Leaving the PGA Tour and the PGA of America in the minority against the ban.

Although, I don’t particularly like the anchored putting method, I’m not in favor of a ban either. I think it’s too late to start banning things that have been around and in play for so long.

The idea behind a ban is the advantage of attaching it to the body. People who hold important positions within the game of golf have started to raise their eyebrows at the success of players using this method. Tim Clarke winning The Players C’Ship, Webb Simpson winning the US Open at The Olympic Club and Ernie Els winning The Open C’ship, have all contributed to the proposed ban.

“One of the most fundamental things about the game of golf is we believe the player should hold the club away from his body and swing it freely,” said Mike Davis, the executive director of the United States Golf Association. “We think this is integral to the traditions of the game. Golf is a game of skill and challenge, and we think that is an important part of it. 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.”

So the question remains who is right? And what’s the right thing to do?

My take is, keep the rules as they are. Even though there are many great youngsters coming through the ranks playing with a longer putter, not everybody is using one and not every one in the future will use a long putter. That’s what is great about the short game, much of it is personal preference.

Many of the best players in the world still prefer to use a smaller conventional length putter. I don’t see Tiger and Rory rushing out to try a new long anchored putter.

To me, putting is all about feel. I prefer to feel the club in both my hands and feel the ball into the hole. But I can also see how anchoring the putter with one hand and feeling the putt with the lower hand would work. Or how anchoring the club in the gut would work.

If you take a look at golf throughout history it has gone through many different fads and transformations and evolutions. Could long putters be next? Perhaps this is why there is such commotion.

We are going through a small swing revolution at the moment with the advancement of research into physiology and physics combined with receiving data from technology such as Trackman. We as golf Pros are saying things we weren’t saying 15 years ago. Why not the same for putting?

If someone were to market themselves as ‘The Putting Savior’ fully promoting an anchored style method over a conventional, proving through facts and data that it improves your conversion rate, I think it would be a winner. Dave Peltz there’s your next book!

My guess is the governing bodies want to avoid this scenario by nipping the issue in the bud ASAP and preserving the game’s traditions.

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