There are few people in golf as outspoken as Frank Thomas. The man who spent 26 years as technical director for the U.S. Golf Association developing the testing protocols and equipment rules as they exist today, doesn’t like what he sees in regards to the USGA’s decision to ban anchoring beginning in 2016.
“It’s just another nail in their coffin,” Thomas said yesterday during a seminar on equipment technology at the International Network of Golf Spring Conference at Reunion Resort near Orlando. “The reason I believe that is this is the first time in the history of the Rules of Golf that we’ve tried to tell someone how to use a piece of equipment.”
The new rule – 14-1b – basically is aimed at players who use belly putters and long putters and connect them to some parts of their bodies. Golf’s ruling bodies – the USGA and R&A – don’t consider anchoring a traditional stroke.
“The traditional stroke involves swinging the club with both the club and the gripping hands held away from the body, requiring the player to direct and control the movement of the entire club,” USGA President Glen Nager said today. “Anchoring is different. Intentionally securing one end of the club against the body and creating a point of physical attachment around which the club is swung is a substantial departure from the traditional free swing.”
Thomas, however, disagrees.
“If they (the USGA and R&A) don’t like the long putter and belly putter, then make the putter the shortest club on the bag,” said Thomas, who retired from the USGA in 2000 to found Frankly Golf. “That gets rid of all the obnoxious ways of using it.
“The problem is, (Rule 14-1b) is a very ambiguous rule. It’s very difficult to monitor and very difficult to enforce. Therefore it’s going to be a bad rule.”