Anchoring of club prohibited

The rules of golf aren’t simple–the only thing more complicated might be the U.S. Tax Code. That is obvious to everyone as even some of the game’s top golf professionals have run afoul of the rules. It takes more than 800 pages to cover the decisions on the rules.
Every four years, the USGA and the R&A, the governing bodies of the game, amend the rules. always saying they are trying to improve and change them to simply matters. It helps.
The USGA released a seven-page explanation of new rule 14-1b, which will prohibit the anchoring of a club when making a stroke. Reading it will definitely assist players, club officials and tournament administrators.
It makes clear that a player can not use an anchor point, defined as holding a forearm in contact with with any part of the body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club. For an anchor point to exist, the player must do it intentionally, not accidently. The player must grip the club so that the hands are separated and work independently from one another.
The penalty for anchoring will be two strokes in stroke play and loss of hole in match play.
According to Frank Thomas, who has spent many years writing, interpreting and monitoring the equipment rules, this will mark the first time in 600 years that the rules have dictated how to hold the club.
Thomas felt strongly that the best way to rid the game of a “non-traditional” manner of holding the club would have been to simply modify the rules to say that the length of the putter shall be no longer than the shortest club in a player’s bag.
He could eventually be proved right as I see the implementation of the rule creating some disagreements in the coming year.
Perhaps the most significant change besides the one on anchoring is the withdrawal of Rule 18-2b, ball moving after address. This means that a player will not automatically considered guilty if a ball at rest moves after the player has addressed it. A one-stroke penalty will now apply only if the facts show the player has caused the ball to move. Considering the speed of the greens and high winds, this is a really good rule.
A “limited” exception was added to Rule 6-6d, the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. A player will not be disqualified for returning a score lower for a hole as a result of failing to include penalty strokes that he was not aware of at the time he signed his scorecard.
The best example of this is where Camilo Villegas was DQed from the 2011 Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Hawaii. He moved a loose impediment when he saw his chip shot rolling back to him. The violation was reported by a television viewer. I saw it happen myself and realized the error, but wasn’t the one making the telephone call.
If this happens now, the Villegas would have been accessed an additional two-stroke penalty, but could have continued playing.
In addition, the same penalty would apply the first time a player breached Rule 14-3, using an artificial device, unusual equipment or the abnormal use of it. He would be DQed for the second such mistake.
D.A. Points was disqualified from the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when he used a spongy green ball under his arm as a training aid to keep his arms connected while waiting on another group on the 18th tee.
My first look at the decisions did reveal a few other things that simply things and makes common sense. I’m sure a closer look when the USGA sends me the entire book will reveal other interesting cases.
If you find you have a 15th club in your golf bag and realize it before you start, you can declare it out of play without any penalty, placing it on the floor of the golf cart and turning it upside down in the bag.
If you drop a provisional ball, it can be picked up if the ball is found in the five minutes allowed to search for the ball provided you have not made a stroke with it.
Animal hoof prints can be repaired on the putting green or treated as ground under repair provided a local rule has been added. I would think even the local rule would not be needed.
One other thing I’d like to see along these lines is that golfers should get relief from divots in the fairway.

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