Over the last year, the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association have been pushing its "Tee it Forward" initiative in which it asks golfers to play from tee boxes that best suit their abilities and driving distance. It's an attempt to grow the game, speed up play, and with hope, increase a golfer's enjoyment.
So why is the USGA – and the R&A, golf's rules-keepers – effectively stealing away some of golf's enjoyment? Read on... .
For decades, the rules of golf have fallen under the aegis of the USGA and the R&A. A few months ago, those two organizations, in unison, proposed a ban on anchoring a putter to one's body. Comment was invited over a 90-day period following the proposed rules change, and most professional tours endorsed the rule change. However, golf's largest professional tour, the PGA Tour, disagreed with the proposal. It seems the USGA and R&A had their minds made up, though, and Rule 14-1b was added to the rules of golf, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
You can read the USGA's explanation of its decision on a number of websites. To me, it's a bunch of hooey and a knee-jerk reaction to the recent trend of major champions who used an anchored putting stroke.
Since 2011, four of the 10 major championship winners have used some sort of anchored putting stroke. None of those – Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, and Webb Simpson – have ranked among the top 20 in putting statistics in any of those years.
In fact, over the past three seasons, I found only one PGA Tour player using an anchored putter (Carl Pettersson) who finished among the top 20 in overall putting.
If an anchored putting style was really that much of an advantage, wouldn't more professionals be using it? Better yet, shouldn't the anchored putting stroke reflect better putting statistics?
Like many golfers, I was always searching for improvement in my putting. After 30 years of consistently frustrating results, I decided to try a long putter two years ago. At 67 inches tall, I estimated the 43-inch Nike putter that I was purchasing would serve its purpose. In reality, a 43-inch putter is more of a belly putter for someone over six-feet tall, but my height deficiency paid off in this instance.
I worked with the Nike putter for a few practice sessions before trying it in a league match. Wouldn't you know it, I made the first putt I tried, and I was sold on the Nike putter – for about two months...