The USGA and R&A announced on Tuesday that they will move forward with the anchoring ban they proposed on Nov. 28, 2012. The new Rule 14-1b, which will prohibit the anchored stroke for any club in the bag, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
“Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed Rule was announced, our best judgment is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game – that the player freely swing the entire club,” said USGA president Glen D. Nager in a release. “The new Rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf.”
The new rule will read the same as originally proposed:
14-1b Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.”
Note 1: The club is anchored “directly” when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.
Note 2: An “anchor point” exists when the player intentionally holds 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.
The governing bodies released a report with their findings in the period after the Rule was proposed, including a note that 2650 responses were sent in to them during the 90-day comment period that concluded at the end of February 2013. Over 2200 of those responses were to the USGA, while the remainder went to the R&A.
The report, however, did not provide statistical data which indicated the anchored stroke provided an advantage to players that used them. In comments announcing the new rule, USGA president Glen Nager said the Rules of Golf are not beholden to statistics, however. This rule passes the “eye test” for the governing bodies, hence its enactment.
In other words, the governing bodies thought anchoring was not golf. So they made it not golf.