The summary of all of this is that the anchored putting population could represent as much as 25 percent of the core or avid golfers. That is why PGA club pros have been so vocal throughout the anchoring debate. This rules legislation will impact a substantial portion of our customer bases.
Whether or not the USGA and R&A concedes to extend the deadline of implementation for amateurs remains to be seen. They did grant a 14-year phase in period when the grooves rule was changed in 2010 and gave amateurs until 2024 to purchase conforming equipment. The difference here is that Rule 14-1b is not an equipment rule, but a rule that governs the stroke.
When Rule 14-1b does eventually come into play for the recreational amateur here’s what it means. Anyone who still wants to compete in club events must abandon the anchored stroke. Any scores shot and posted for handicap purposes using an anchored stroke will be invalid and not recognized by the USGA. This is important for the golfer who thinks they can acquire a handicap with an anchored stroke and go as a member/guest at another course, switch to a short putter and participate.
Less than 5 percent of all golfers in the U.S. actually have handicaps. The vast majority of golfers play the game for fun and it probably won’t matter what they do. Golf Digest polled a segment of “anchorers” and 41 percent said they would continue to anchor even after the rule is implemented. For golf pros, that is our version of citizens telling local government officials they don’t like a law and don’t intend to follow it. It could be called golf’s version of mutiny, discord and no interest in the values and traditions that the USGA is trying to promote.