As the possibility of an early golf season peaks through the forecast with sixty degree days in a Western Pennsylvania February, let’s take a look at few things to ponder before getting out to your favorite track this spring.
Rule 14-1b, “Anchoring the Club” has been a hot topic around the world of golf. The prohibition of the anchored putter certainly did not stop notorious anchor putter, Adam Scott from claiming his first victory this weekend at Honda Classic under the new Rule. Let’s examine some of the facts about Rule 14-1b, which states…..In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point”.
•An anchor point is established when a gripping hand and/or the club establish a stable point in which the other hand may swing the club in a pendulum style.
•Anchoring your hand against your body is considered the same as anchoring the club against your body and is prohibited.
•This Rule is not a limitation on equipment, so don’t throw out your “belly” putter or “long” putter. These pieces of equipment are just fine to continue using, so long as you do not anchor them to your body during the stroke. Rules in Appendix II are unchanged regarding the length of a club.
•Can I press an elongated putter against my lead arm to make a stroke? The answer is yes. While you have created a fixed point by pressing the putter against your lead forearm, you have not created an anchor point. A stroke will still be made traditionally trough the motion of your arms and shoulders.
Rule 14-1b is a Rule of Golf and prohibits anchoring at all levels of competition and in no circumstance does a Committee (Rule 33) have the power to waive a Rule of Golf. The penalty for making an anchored stroke is two strokes for each breach in stroke play and loss of hole for each breach in match play. To see visuals on Rule 14-1b click here.
Etiquette and honor are core words within the game of golf, so how do I resolve a disagreement over the Rules with a competitor without making an uncomfortable mess of the situation? Playing by the Rules is essential, however, so is keeping things civil. Let’s take a look at how we may be able to best settle a Rules dispute on the golf course.
• If you are troubled by something you see happening on the course, speak up. Don’t hold onto seeing a violation, this is recipe for disaster, distrust and worse things to come. If you think you may have witnessed a violation speak up at that moment and certainly before that player makes their next stroke. Once a player has taken further action, ie…played another stroke, Rule 3-3 is no longer an option. In match play the claim must be made before teeing off on the next hole, while in stroke play there may be an investigative process by the Committee.
• Don’t say, “your cheating.” Tell the competitor, “that you are unsure if they proceeded properly and that the Committee should review the situation.” If all parties are in doubt encourage the player to play a second ball under Rule 3-3.
• When a player evokes Rule 3-3 a dialogue with Committee has automatically been created, taking the pressure off others in the group. Rule 3-3 states, “before returning his score card, the competitor must report the facts of the situation to the Committee. If he fails to do so, he is disqualified.
• Keep playing! Regardless of what happened, it happened. The facts need to be reported to the Committee, who will take the appropriate measures to modify the score or standing of the match based on their findings. The safest way in stroke play to keep playing without risking disqualification after teeing off on the next hole is employing Rule 3-3. In match play the opponents need to decide on a ruling and move on.
• Once you have made it clear that you think a player may have proceeded improperly, step aside. The player in question needs to make a decision on how they would like to proceed with their round.
• Report the facts to the committee as they happened and let them make a determination. This will assist in mitigating the personalities involved and any potential confrontation.
Seeing to it that those playing with you are playing by the Rules is as important as playing by them yourself. While getting involved in a Rules dispute is not what any of us want on our weekend morning at the club, I hope some of the tips above will assist you in handling such a situation.
written by: Matt Rusinko, Director of Competitions