Golf Datatech, the golf industry’s top independent research firm for consumer, trade and retail golf trends, has released a first-of-its-kind study developed to evaluate the reaction of “serious golfers” to the U.S. Golf Association’s proposed new ruling that would prohibit anchoring the putter to the body while making a stroke. The U.S. Golf Association has proposed a ban on anchoring beginning in 2016.
The Golf Datatech study reports that a majority of golfers surveyed feel that their games will not be impacted by the rule. A “small percentage” of players who use long putters, the study said, will continue to play regardless of the potential ruling.
The results of the study are based on responses from 1,766 randomly selected golfers drawn from Golf Datatech’s exclusive “Serious Golfer Database,” that is, a player an average of 68 rounds per year with an average handicap of 14.3.
“This is such an explosive topic in golf that we felt the industry needed a benchmark for evaluating the opinion of the game’s most avid players,” said John Krzynowek, a long-time industry executive and partner in Golf Datatech. “On a practical level, the proposed ruling on anchoring putters has minimal impact on most amateur golfers, as only five percent use a long putter, and the majority of serious golfers don’t believe long putters aid in the putting process. Overall, however, the debate over long putters has far more to do with a few elite professional players and less to do with the game as played by the average golfer.”
Key findings in the Golf Datatech study on the Anchor Ruling for Putters include:
- Among the respondents who had an opinion about whether or not anchoring the putter makes it easier to putt, 45 percent believe that anchoring the putter makes it easier to putt, while 55 percent believe anchoring the putter does not make it easier.
- 60 percent of respondents believe that the governing bodies of golf should ban the anchoring of clubs to the body, while 40 percent believe they should not.
- 62 percent of respondents do not believe the anchoring ban will cause some amateur golfers to enjoy the game less.
- If the proposed rule is enforced in 2016, 31 percent of current long putter users will continue to anchor their putter, while 31 percent will not anchor against their body, and 38 percent will switch to a conventional putter.