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Golf’s ruling bodies announced the long awaited and highly anticipated decision on Rule 14-1b, prohibiting the anchoring of a club in making a stroke. As what comes as no surprise belly-length and long putters remain conforming clubs to the rules of the game, however the way in which they are used must change. The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf’s governing bodies, today announced the adoption of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf that prohibits anchoring the club in making a stroke. The new Rule will take effect on January 1, 2016 in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf. Rule 14-1b, which was proposed on November 28, 2012, has now been given final approval by The R&A and the USGA.

“We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organizations at all levels of the game. The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new Rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised. We recognize this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf,” stated Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A. 

“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. “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.”

David Rickman, Executive Director of Rules and Equipment Standards at The R&A, said, “This Rule change addresses the future and not the past. Everyone who has used an anchored stroke in the past, or who does so between now and 1 January 2016, will have played entirely within the Rules and their achievements will in no way be diminished.”

“The discussion around the Rule has been very helpful, and we appreciate that so many different perspectives were offered,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “We know that not everyone will agree with the new Rule, but it is our hope that all golfers will accept that this decision is reasoned and motivated by our best judgment in defining the sport and serving the best interests of the game.”