It’s official, golf’s governing bodies will be taking action on the use of the long putter – looks like it will be banned by 2016. To be correct, it’s not an equipment ruling but rather a technique thing.

You could technically still use a long putter as long as you don’t have it anchored in any way to your body. But this seems ungainly and not a viable option, so in my opinion it’s the death of the long putter (which I think was the goal of the ruling).

Some might be surprised at my headline as I’ve been using a long putter for many years now. When I first heard that anchoring was being outlawed I wasn’t too happy – I even tried ways of coming up with a work-around. Looking at the FAQ from the Royal and Ancient, it seems they have got all bases covered.

So after giving it some serious thought and reflection I think the long putter should be banned. Here’s why;

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Long putters are ugly[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

They really are. No matter how many times you see someone putting with a longer putter, it just doesn’t look that good. I must add that the “claw” grip is just as ugly but that one would be a lot harder to ban.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Not in the spirit of the game[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

It’s just not. Having the club anchored to your body is a departure from what would be considered “normal”. When golfers first started playing the game I’m pretty sure that this strange technique never entered their minds. It’s not really golf and I must say at times I have felt a little uneasy using it.

Even recently, when playing in front of some members, I could hear rumblings about “Strachan’s putter”. The thought has always been in the back of my mind.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Good for the game[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

Some are going to be upset (like I was) when they have to stop using their long putter. But in the long run it’s going to be good for the game. Golfer inventiveness can go too far. If we get back to thinking about the basics of the game – hitting a small ball into a round hole – the integrity of the game will be safe.

Golfer’s are going to get more powerful and skillful, but let’s hope they will always look like they’re playing golf.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Long putter don’t stop the yips[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

I speak with some authority here. I used to have a terrible case of the putting yips. I tried everything, I really did. My first experience of the long putter was pretty ugly – I dropped kicked more putts than I care to remember. I struggled and ultimately threw it in the bin.

When I retried years later, I did so with a better attitude. So in my opinion it’s your attitude that’s more important than your tool. The long putter (anchoring) doesn’t stop the yips – it’s your mind that’s the deciding factor.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]We’ve had a good run[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

The last eight or so years have been the best of my career. And most of them have been with a long putter. So what have I got to complain about? I’ve had years of fun and enjoyment and it’s time to move on.

And the same goes for all those “older” golfers who have been using this technique for many years (over 20 in the case of Peter Senior). We’ve all had a fair go and benefited from some lenient rules. Rules change and it’s time to move on. There’s nothing we can do about it anyway – sooner we accept, the sooner we all can work towards an alternative.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Putting is not that hard anyway[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

Putting is a very simple skill – there’s hardly anything to it. If one can’t adapt to a shorter putter and roll the ball towards the hole then the long putter wouldn’t help them anyway. It’s not like the rule change is asking you to switch hit. Time to take a deep breath, accept it and move on.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Step in the right direction[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

Honestly, this rule change has been a long time coming. Any long putter user who really thought they (golf officialdom) wouldn’t change the rule is naive. It was always going to happen – I think 3 of the last 5 major winners (Bradley, Webb and Els) probably tipped the authorities over the edge.

Hopefully now they can make some other hard decisions. The ball is a monumental problem for the game. The average punter might not think it’s a big issue for them, but with more and more courses becoming obsolete (then having to undergo major redesign works) it really does affect us all.

This has been a big decision for such a conservative sport – let’s hope now more positive action can be taken in all areas of this great game.

I feel good about the rule change and truly believe that it has been made in the best interest of golf. It’s going to take some golfers a little time to adjust, but we’ve all been given fair warning. If you can’t find a legal and natural way to putt before 2016, then maybe you should go play tennis.

Final thought: I’m seeing this as a challenge and look forward to testing my theories about golf improvement/learning. The biggest issue I’ve now got is what bloody putter I should buy?

What are your thoughts? (not about my putter πŸ™‚ but the rule change)