Long And Short Of It
The golf world reacts to the USGA/R&A's proposed ban on anchored putting
Industry reaction to Wednesday's announcement of a proposed ban on anchored putting:
Mark King, President and CEO TaylorMade-adidas Golf: Does it mean the demand for these kinds of putters would drop? Maybe. But at the end of the day I don't think we would sell one more or one less putter.
It's definitely possible to use a broomstick putter without anchoring it, and I speak from experience. I use one and I hold my left hand in a stationery position a couple of inches away from my sternum.
There will be plenty of amateur golfers who won't give up anchoring the putter. It will be hard to give up anchoring if your putting is a lot worse without it.
However, golfers who continue to anchor the putter would be breaking the Rules, which would exclude them from holding a legitimate, USGA-sanctioned handicap, which means they couldn't compete in tournament or event where the Rules of Golf apply. Because of that I think we would see a lot of golf leagues and golf clubs making their own exception to the anchoring rule.
But the truth is that most golfers don't play strictly by the Rules of Golf when they play with their friends, anyway. I don't mean they cheat, I mean that they often go ahead and flatten spike marks even though the Rules forbid it. And how many golfers are okay with hitting a mulligan off the first tee? And that's fine, because the game is about having fun for 99 percent of the golfers who play it, not grinding out a score in tournament play.
Chris Koske, Global Director Odyssey Golf: Odyssey has long held the belief that confidence with the putter is good for the game, particularly regarding player retention and growth potential. But one of the beauties of putting is that there are so many ways to do it.
Notwithstanding the final ruling in 2013, it is Odyssey's pledge to ensure golfers have the same level of confidence when they line up a putt with one of our products regardless of the putting technique. We have anticipated this proposal for some time now and have been busy exploring several alternative options.
It should be noted that Odyssey will continue to offer belly and long putters in the short term for golfers who want to continue using them recreationally.
We'd like golfers everywhere to know that Odyssey has an optimistic approach to the proposal regardless of the outcome. As the #1 Putter in Golf, we have more tour players around the world playing and winning with Odyssey putters than any other company, and we will continue to work with those players to innovate new products and new, alternative methods to putt at the highest level.
Joe Naumann, executive vice president, corporate and legal, Acushnet Company: We intend to review the announcement regarding anchoring issued today by the USGA and R&A and, as a matter of process, appreciate the opportunity to provide comments to them during the comment period.
Stephen Boccieri, President and CEO of Boccieri Golf (maker of the Heavy Putter): Statistics indicate there is no clear advantage with anchoring. There are too many other variables required to make a putt than to insinuate that anchoring is contributing to more putts being made.
You could bring an Iron Archie putting robot out to a green and you are not guaranteed to make more putts. You still have to read the break, know the speed and the grain, so even with a perfect stroke you would not make the putt unless all the stars aligned properly. Golf is hard enough and right now we need more people playing and enjoying it, this decision will only reduce the number of golfers playing the game, not grow it. Hopefully golfers will continue to use whatever makes them play better and enjoy the game more.
Now that golfers know or have been told a belly or a long is illegal I think it will spark sales in that category. We have four years to make money on what is perceived to be an unfair advantage. Golfers are not going to steer away until they have to.