As of recent, the ban placed on anchored putters by the USGA and R&A has been a very hot topic amongst both professionals and amateurs across the globe. The permittance to anchor a putter to one’s body has been legal for years. However, the sudden success rate of those using it on tour sparked a debate on whether the anchored putter provided and unfair advantage in competition or an aid in performing a specific swinging motion with less effort put forth by the player.
The anchored putter easily aids in two of the most popular errors made in putting, the yips and stroke path. The yips develop from a sense of fear in missing short putts, thus creating a jabby anxious stroke. With the putter being anchored, it is much easier to allow the putter to swing in a natural pendulum motion with less control from the hands. This is a great thing for many amateurs who would just love to make that extra 3-foot putt per round. However, at a tour level, those nerves are difference making factors in careers.
Stroke path, also being an influencing factor in putting, is something that is effected by an anchored putter as well. An improper stroke path can influence the face angle of the putter, as well as where on the putter face you make contact with the ball. This is one of the challenges in using a standard putter. With a standard putter, a player must develop the skill to swing the putter on the proper path. With a putter being anchored, it does not make it automatic, but it provides a fixed axis for the putter to swing from, thus making the desired path more attainable.
The initial intent and spirit of the game was geared towards the club being swung and controlled by the player. This is not to say that the anchored putter does not require practice, work and some skill, but that it does provide an unfair advantage to those using it in a game that is honored in providing a level playing field for everyone.
The ultimate decision of the anchored putter ban was based around the characther of the game. In a game where the club must be put in motion through the skill and ability of the player, the opportunity to anchor the object opposes the intent of the game.