USGA and R&A Unite to Take “Fresh Look” at Belly Putters
By Conor Nagle under Rules

Keegan Bradley's USPGA victory accelerated growth of the trend.

Yesterday’s announcement that golf’s governing bodies, the USGA and R&A, are actively considering the implementation of a rule outlawing “anchoring” (ie. the bracing of the golf club against the body during the swing/putting stroke) will come as a relief to those alarmed by the sudden prevalence of belly putters, at both professional and amateur levels.

According to Mike Davis, grand fromage of the USGA, both institutions agreed to take a “fresh look” at the issue after it became clear that it had “become a much bigger topic” with, one presumes, much wider implications than anyone anticipated.

“We are looking at it from a perspective that … what we should look at for everything: What is good for the game, for all golfers, long term?

“…More players are using it, both on the elite level and the recreational level. We want to be sure that we are looking at all the angles and thinking about what is in the best interests both of the traditions of the game, the history of the game, and what we think would be good for the game.”

(via J. Achenbach)

While Davis didn’t make explicit the grounds on which the USGA would consider challenging the technique, it is understood that the R&A are particularly concerned by the manner in which the clubs can be used to stabilise the putting stroke in adverse weather conditions (wind, rain, Qatari dust storms…).

Personally, I think the issue will (or at least should) be reduced to a question of whether or not an individual should be allowed to provide an artificial fulcrum to either a putting stroke or full swing [my list of objections here].

The USGA is expected to address the subject in greater detail during the week of this year’s US Open.

Conor Nagle