Male golf player teeing off golf ball from tee box

Written by Rob McDonald, PGA, Eastern Shore Golf Magazine

It is pretty well known by now that the USGA has come out with a proposal against anchoring the club or forearm against the body while making a stroke. This rule changed, if implemented, will take place on January 1st, 2016.

While I make no judgements against anyone who currently uses an anchoring method of putting, I agree that the USGA is making the right decision on two counts.

First, lets take a loko at two past champions, Johnny Miller and Tom Watson. Both were players who reached greatness in golf. Both players were afflicted with the golfer’s dreaded disease “the yips”! The yips are basically what I call impact anxiety. The lack of confidence or fear of a bad result causes a deceleration of the hands and putter at impact and makes it very difficult to make putts. When he missed, he always seemed to make the come back putt, no matter how far it went past. When he got the yips, he stopped making those. Miller, with 25 victories, including two majors, had an attack style of play similar to Greg Norman. Watson eventually recovered from his poor putting and went on to win three Senior British Opens and Second Place in the 2009 Open Championship. Miller is now broadcasting.

What’s this have to do with anchoring? With anchoring and the long putter, it takes the yips out of the picture. You don’t have to recover; you just buy a longer putter and anchor it. I’m not saying you’ll make ever putt, but it takes the breakdown out of the picture. One of the two players, through practice and determination, was able to overcome the yips. It’s a facet of the game, overcoming adversity.

On the second count, I knew the USGA would make the rule universal. Initially, I had thought it would be appropriate for the professional level only. Especially with the USGA and PGA trying to make golf more fun for everyone. But, not I feel that keeping it universal was the right thing to do. It’s what keeps our game unique. You can go play the TPC at Sawgrass and play the same game as the best players in the world. When’s the last time you played baseball in Camden Yards? Or football in the Super Dome? There’s always the question about aluminum bats in college baseball versus wooden bats in pro baseball. Does a record with an aluminum bat get astericked? Would you want your record round of golf to come with an asterick?

You can contact Rob at the GlenRiddle Golf Club. 410-213-2325 or [email protected].