January - 2016
There has been a lot of interest and talk regarding the USGA and the Royal and Ancient's (R&A) decision to ban the use of anchoring a putter while making a stroke. Some people do not realize that they are not banning the use of a long putter, just the act of holding the putter against your body during a stroke.
This decision states that you cannot anchor the club against your chest or your stomach.
Your body and your arm (forearm) are treated differently under these new guidelines.
That is a very important distinction that seems to have created varying opinions as to the fairness of this decision.
Below I've included the new revisions to this Rule, and if this is your chosen method or one that you are contemplating using in the future, it's best to understand how this "Anchoring Ban" applies to you.
ANCHORING THE CLUB
14-1b/1 Intentionally Holding Forearm Against Body When Making Stroke
Q. Rule 14-1b prohibits a player from anchoring the club by use of an "anchor point," which Note 2 to the Rule defines as a player intentionally holding "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." Does this always preclude the player from intentionally holding his forearm against his body when making a stroke?
A. No. A player is permitted to intentionally hold one or both forearms against his body in making a stroke, provided doing so does not create an anchor point - see Decision 14-1b/2. (New)
14-1b/2 Meaning of "Anchor Point" in Note 2 to Rule 14-1b
Q. Rule 14-1b provides that a player must not anchor the club during a stroke by using an "anchor point." In Note 2 to the Rule, which defines "anchor point," what does it mean "to hold a forearm in contact with any part of the body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club"?
A. The "anchor point" provision prohibits only a very specific type of stroke in which a forearm is intentionally held against the body as an indirect means of anchoring the club. For an anchor point to exist, the following two criteria must be met: (1) the player must intentionally hold a forearm against the body; and (2) he must grip the club so that the hands are separated and work independently from one another (i.e., the top hand effectively secures the club in place as if attached to the body to establish a stable point, while the bottom hand is held down the shaft to swing the lower portion of the club around that point). (Ne
14-1b/3 Explanation of "Forearm" in Relation to Rule 14-1b
14-1b/4 Player Anchors Club Prior to Stroke
Q. A player anchors the club at address or during the backward movement of the club for the stroke, but stops anchoring before he makes the stroke. Is the player in breach of Rule 14-1b?
A. No. The prohibition against anchoring in Rule 14-1b only applies while the player is making the stroke (i.e., the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball). (New)
14-1b/5 Portion of Stroke Anchored
Q. A player directly anchors the club or a gripping hand, or anchors a forearm to establish an anchor point, during some portion of the stroke but not all of it. Is the player in breach of Rule 14-1b?
A. Yes. If the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand against his body, or establishes an anchor point during any part of the stroke (i.e., the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball), he is in breach of the Rule. (New)
14-1b/6 Club or Gripping Hand Inadvertently Touches Body During Stroke
Q. .When making a stroke, a player's club or gripping hand inadvertently comes in contact with or brushes against his body. Is he in breach of Rule 14-1b?
A. No. The prohibition in Rule 14-1b applies only to a player who intentionally anchors a club, either directly or through use of an anchor point, in making a stroke. (New)
14-1b/7 Club in Contact with Clothing During Stroke
Q. .If a player makes a stroke with the club or a gripping hand in contact with an article of clothing that he is wearing, in what circumstances does that constitute direct anchoring of the club in breach of Rule 14-1b?
A. Clothing held against the body by a club or gripping hand is treated as if it is part of the player's body for the purpose of applying Rule 14 -1b.Therefore, if the player were to intentionally use the club or a gripping hand to press an article of clothing against any part of his body, other than the forearm or a gripping hand, he would be in breach of this Rule. However, merely touching an article of clothing with the club or gripping hand in making a stroke is not a breach. This might occur in various situations, such as where the player is wearing loose fitting clothes or raingear, where the player's physical size or build causes his arms naturally to rest close to the body, where the player holds the club extremely close to the body, or where the player for some other reason touches his clothing in making a stroke.
Intentionally using a gripping hand to hold an article of clothing worn on any part of the body while making a stroke is a breach of Rule 14-3 - see Decision 14-3/7. (New)