PGA Concerned Ban will Reduce Enjoyment & Growth of the Game

By: Tenna Merchent on December 2nd, 2012

They gave two reasons for implementing the ban on anchored swings now when anchoring has been going on for at least 30 years:

  1. Because it has become so popular
  2. Because it is no longer being used as a last resort.

They also said “In no way do The R&A and the USGA want to stifle creativity in making strokes by golfers.” That sounds contradictory.

During the press conference they were asked about how this ban would impact the growth of the game. They gave a long-winded answer:

  • Yes, the game is shrinking in the States, Europe and Japan, but growing in other parts of the world
  • The cost and time it takes to play is a deterant
  • Difficulty is way down on the list of things that keeps people from playing
  • “So ultimately, we don’t think quitting the game or not playing the game is really an option when this comes to this anchored stroke.”

I don’t see how quitting the game better than using an anchored stroke?

They pointed out that sales of long putters have increased. The logical conclusion is sales will go down after the ban. I don’t see how that is good.

There is no evidence that anchoring affects performance or lowers scores, and they were very clear to say that performance was not a factor in their decision.

Maintaining the “spirit” of the game is the reason they used to justify this ban. In that spirit, we should still be playing with gutta percha balls, hickory staffs, and using sand instead of tees.

The PGA has over 27,000 members. They conducted a poll of their members on the subject prior to the announcement. Approximately 16%, or 4,228 people responded. That is a very high response rate. 63% of the people who responded oppose the ban because it will negatively impact both the enjoyment and growth of the game. You can read Ted Bishop’s letter to the President of the R&A and the Executive Director of the USGA here Bishop’s letter reflected well upon the golf community, he was respectful and a gentleman in great contrast to the behavior and comments made by the USGA & the R&A.

What the USGA & the R&A may not be saying is they do in fact think it gives someone an advantage, even though they can’t prove it. But if anchoring really gave you an advantage, even 1 single stroke in an 18 hole round, every single player on the tour would be using it.

If Tiger Woods or Rory McIlory were using an anchored stroke, I doubt they would be banning it. Mike is quick to point out to that Tiger is supportive of the ban. So Tiger will be happy, but what about the rest of us that don’t want the ban?

This may be the defining moment for Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour Commissioner. Will he roll over and just do what the USGA says, or will he stand up and say “No, I won’t let you take this away from my players!” The PGA Tour is the 800-pound gorilla. If they walk away from the USGA the rest of the world will follow.

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