The Belly Putter Act of 2013: Anchor Prohibition



In 1920 the United State government passed the 18th amendment to ban the sale, manufacturing, and transportation of Alcohol.  The liquor ban lasted thirteen years, created some of Americas most famous gangsters, gave the South something to cheer about since the end of the Civil War (NASCAR), and was the start of American Royalty.  We all know now that the 18th amendment was fool hardy, and only encouraged criminal activity.

Why the book report on Prohibition?
I believe that the belly putter ban, or anchoring ban as the USGA calls it, will only damage the game of golf.  Love or Hate the belly putter, there is no reason to ban it.  Some golfers love it, and it helps them to enjoy a game that can be more than frustrating at times.  For those golfers who hate the belly putter, enjoy the fact that your weekly golf partner is so tired of getting beat on by you and your traditional putter that he is now resorting to putting with a broomstick.

The USGA cites rule 14-1 as the reasoning for its proposed ban on anchoring.  Rule 14-1 states: Ball to be fairly struck at: The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned.  I am not a rules official or an expert in the rules of golf, but I do not think that anchoring the club to oneself is defined by being pushed, scraped or spooned (what the heck does spooned mean anyways).  If the belly putter is currently conforming…why the change?

The USGA and the R&A want to uphold the integrity of the game.  No one wants Al Cervix on their course using a putter designed by Albert Einstein that lines up the putt for you and all you have to do is stand there…and I get that.  What I do not understand is why we would want to get rid of a club that makes the game more enjoyable for some people.

I am just thinking outside of the box here, but maybe the USGA doesn’t want the traditional game of golf to become nontraditional.  What if the game of golf looked more like it did in Caddyshack 2 with clowns and whistles.  If the belly putter ban is dismissed will we find golf courses that basically look like a 7000 yard miniature golf course complete with clowns mouth.  The idea of people using a belly putter should not scare the USGA into thinking that at some point (if this trend is not fixed) that the game of golf will suffer.

The game of golf is hard enough, the average golfer’s handicap is 16.1 and I find that statistic to be skewed.  The golfer who keeps a handicap with the USGA or the CDGA here in Chicago, is more than an “average” golfer.  He is the guy who loves the game of golf and pays the USGA/CDGA to keep his handicap.  How many golfers out there are just playing the game of golf with their buddies and don’t carry a handicap?  Out of those “average” golfers how many of them ever break 100?  How many of those golfers are going to finally get fed up with the game of golf because they can no longer use their cool new belly putter (that they spent $100+ on)?

If the average golfer is struggling to break 100, why would the USGA want to ban something that may or may not help the average joe. I don’t know what to think, but I for one would like the USGA to support the average weekend hacker (even if they don’t pay for a USGA handicap) by letting him play with is belly putter if he so chooses too.  On a side note, can the game of golf really take a chance at turning players away from the game of golf?

The only nice thing is that I have a stock pile of belly and long putters.  I am pretty sure that I am going to start a new golf blog and sell my illegal putters to the general golfing public through speakeasy’s and secret hand shakes.  Maybe I could be the biggest golf gangster in Chicago?  I kind of like this idea…in fact I now support the ban of belly putters, just for my own political and financial benefit.  Look out Chicago there is a new golf bootlegger in town.

Al Capone leaning on his belly putter.
Al Capone leaning on his belly putter.

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