The R&A and USGA Announce Proposed Rules Change to Prohibit Use of Anchored Strokes

Rule Would Take Effect on January 1, 2016, Allowing for Transitional Period

Belly-Length and Long Putters Would Remain as Conforming Clubs

St Andrews, Scotland and Far Hills, N.J., USA (November 28, 2012) – The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf’s governing bodies, today announced proposed changes to the Rules of Golf that would prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke.

The proposed Rule 14-1b, which follows an extensive review by The R&A and the USGA, would prohibit
strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player’s body, or with a
forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club.

The proposed new Rule would not alter current equipment rules and would allow the continued use of all
conforming golf clubs, including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are not anchored during
a stroke. The proposed Rule narrowly targets only a few types of strokes, while preserving a golfer’s ability
to play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style.

Prior to taking a final decision on the proposed Rule, The R&A and the USGA will consider any further
comments and suggestions from throughout the golf community.

“We believe we have considered this issue from every angle but given the wide ranging interest in this
subject we would like to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any new matters for
consideration,” said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A.

The proposed Rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016, in accordance with the regular four-year
cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf. This timetable would also provide an extended period in which
golfers may, if necessary, adapt their method of stroke to the requirements of the Rule.

For more information about the newly proposed Rule, as well as additional information including videos and
images of strokes that would be allowed or prohibited by the proposed changes to Rule 14-1, visit or


In proposing the new Rule, The R&A and the USGA concluded that the long-term interests of the game
would be served by confirming a stroke as the swinging of the entire club at the ball.

“Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the
hands and swing it freely at the ball,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “The player’s challenge is
to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of
the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.”


This proposal reflects The R&A’s and USGA’s responsibility to define how the game is to be played.
Aspects of how a player must make a stroke have been addressed in past Rules changes, such as the centuryold Rule codifying that the ball must be fairly struck and not be pushed, scraped or spooned and the 1968 prohibition on the “croquet” style of putting.

“As governing bodies, we monitor and evaluate playing practices and developments in golf, with our primary
mandate being to ensure that the Rules of Golf continue to preserve the fundamental characteristics of the
game,” added Davis.

Although anchoring the club is not new, until recently it was uncommon and typically seen as a method of
last resort by a small number of players. In the last two years, however, more and more players have adopted
the anchored stroke. Golf’s governing bodies have observed this upsurge at all levels of the game and noted
that more coaches and players are advocating this method. The decision to act now is based on a strong
desire to reverse this trend and to preserve the traditional golf stroke.

“Anchored strokes have become the preferred option for a growing number of players and this has caused us to review these strokes and their impact on the game,” said Dawson. “Our concern is that anchored strokes threaten to supplant traditional putting strokes which are integral to the longstanding character of the sport.”


Earlier this year, The R&A and the USGA announced that they were reviewing the subject of anchoring.
There has been widespread discussion of the issue throughout the international golf community which has
been noted by the governing bodies.

Each organization is expected to take a final decision on the proposed Rule change in spring 2013. Anyone
wishing to provide written comments to the appropriate governing body is encouraged to do so by February
28, 2013 as directed on the respective websites: or

(In the context of this news release, The R&A refers to R&A Rules Ltd.)


Editor’s Note:
The proposed change would re-label current Rule 14-1 as Rule 14-1a, and establish Rule 14-1b as described below:

14-1b Anchoring the Club

In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.”

About the USGA

The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national
amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A,
the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status,
Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the
United States, its territories and Mexico.

The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management
practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the
Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used
on six continents in more than 50 countries.

For more information about the USGA, visit

About The R&A

R&A Rules Ltd is the rules-making company of The R&A. Based in St Andrews, The R&A organises The
Open Championship, major amateur events and international matches. Together with the United States Golf
Association, The R&A governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of
Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The R&A’s working jurisdiction
is global, excluding the United States and Mexico.

The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the growth of the game internationally and the
development and management of sustainable golf facilities. The R&A operates with the consent of 143
organisations from the amateur and professional game and on behalf of over thirty million golfers in 128

For more information about The R&A visit

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