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Golf to Ban Belly Putters

United States Golf Association, acting together with their counterpart the Royal & Ancient proposed Rule 14-1b

November 29, 2012- On Wednesday, the United States Golf Association, acting together with their counterpart the Royal & Ancient proposed Rule 14-1b. The new rule states when making a stroke with any of the clubs in your bag, a player cannot anchor the club intentionally on any part of the player’s body or use their hands to rest against their body.

Executive director Mike Davis said the rule was not a ban on equipment rather a clarification of what is a stroke. He said it was a rule that dealt with playing and not with equipment.

However, the proposed new rule would ban the use of all golf clubs that are non-conforming, including the long putter and the belly-length putter, if they become anchored against the body during the golf stroke.

The two governing bodies used examples of long putters that could be used legally, including Matt Kuchar’s stroke, where he rests the putter shaft on one of his forearms and clasps the putter with the other hand.

Davis said the two associations believe a player must maintain the club away from the body so it swings freely in any type of stroke or shot a golfer takes.

Prior to a final decision being taken on the proposed new rule, which would not take effect until 2016, the Royal & Ancient and U.S.G.A. will listen to any feedback from people in the golf community for three months.

Three out of the last five major’s in men’s golf, were won by players who used a long putter. The governing bodies of the sport were forced to act as mounting evidence showed that the clubs were becoming popular not only in the Champions Tour, but also on the PGA Tour and in junior leagues in emerging markets of golf such as China.

On the PGA tour this season, 15% of all players uses a putter that was anchored, which was up from last year’s 11% and the 6% who used them between 2006 and 2010.

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