FIRST came the headlines and now it is time to digest the implications of the proposed anchoring ban.
It is worth re-iterating that the ban is only proposed at this stage, as we are now in a three month consultation period that is mainly for procedural reasons – and presumably also just in case anyone has a better suggestion.
The new ruling will not come into effect until 2016 but the sight of Adam Scott, who has anchored using a broomhandle in recent years, already experimenting with a shorter putter, and Keegan Bradley being heckled (by one, admittedly stupid, fan) suggests that attitudes are changing both inside and outside the ropes.
The term ‘anchoring ban’ may not trip off the tongue but it is important to make clear that the USGA and R&A, the game’s governing bodies, made no mention of any restrictions on equipment. In other words, the belly (especially) and broomhandle (to a lesser extent) putters that have become such a common sight on tour in recent years remain legal.
What has changed is how you are allowed to wield them. This is where it gets tricky. The ban will outlaw anyone touching their putter during the stroke with part of their body beyond the hands and forearms. The distinction can be most neatly explained as follows: Ernie Els, Scott, Webb Simpson and Bradley will all have to change their methods but Matt Kuchar is fine to continue.
The Metal-X Arm Locks are designed to offer an alternative method of stabilising the putter through a natural-feeling extension of the golfer’s arm. Kuchar braces the shaft of his belly putter against his left forearm, which will remain legal, and that style has inspired the game’s leading manufacturer of putters, Odyssey, to introduce two new models within days of the anchoring ban announcement being made.
The Metal-X Arm Locks are designed to offer an alternative method of stabilising the putter through a natural-feeling extension of the golfer’s arm.
Available initially in two models, the Metal-X #7 and the Metal-X Dart, they allow golfers to extend the shaft and grip up their lead forearm.
“We have been anticipating the proposed ban on the anchoring technique for some time now,” said Chris Koske, Odyssey Golf’s global director.
“We have identified an alternative and tour-proven putting method and we’re now moving quickly to deliver the Arm Lock products that promote a stable and consistent putting stroke for both professional and amateur golfers.”
“At Odyssey we were adamant about offering alternative solutions to golfers who might change their current technique based on the recent anchoring proposal,” said Austie Rollinson, Odyssey’s principle designer.
Odyssey Metal-X Arm Lock