Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Opinion: Banning Anchored Putters

Three Reasons Why Banning Anchored Putters Will Create More Problems Than It Will Solve
By Jim Grundberg - Co-Owner/CEO - SeeMore Putter Company

(Franklin, TN) - The CEO of the SeeMore Putter Company recently posted an opinion on the SeeMore blog page regarding his take on the long/anchored putter debate. Here are his thoughts. He welcomes your input!

1. The first important reason that banning anchored putters will create more problems than it will solve is that it wasn't a hot issue until the USGA and R&A got involved.
a. Most golfers are relatively indifferent to this issue. Even on tour. They see long and belly putters as just another option for putting. No big deal.
b. Many golfers have used belly or long putters for quite some time, for a variety of reasons. Some for physical reasons. It allows them to practice longer.
c. Some long putter users have put in thousands of hours on the greens and courses over the years. It is simply how they putt. It's never been an issue.
d. There is a small group of people on the other side (some in very prominent positions) that seem to think that using a long putter looks funny, or is not pure golf, or should have never been allowed, or is somehow making the game too easy. If that were true, then wouldn't everyone be using them?
e. The debate ultimately comes down to a few people who now want to turn the clock back and believe that the anchored putter is "against" the original spirit of the game vs. those who will need to re-learn in some instances the most important part of the game. They have been in the game for generations. It is too late to turn back now.
f. If anchored putters are banned, the winners really don't gain much, but the losers stand to have victories and reputations tarnished, enjoyment lost, and faith in the game and its ruling bodies gone forever. And even worse, many will have their learning curves set back years (see Carl Pettersson, and the many PGA teaching pros and USGA club level golfers with the same situation). Of course it will be easy for the majority of golfers and PGA members to say they favor a ban, because a ban does not directly affect them (they do not use long putters.) But would these golfers want to give up their fat putter grips, or their graphite shafts, or their custom fit oversize drivers of all shapes and sizes, if others voted them out?

2. Second is that the very act of banning anchored putting will cast a dark shadow on one of the greatest 2 year stretches in the history of the PGA Tour.
a. Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els all happened to win great victories using anchored putters in the past 2 years. This may be nothing more than coincidence. It may be another 25 years until a Major is won again with an anchored putter. I don't think anyone believes that they made the big putts at the end and won these events because they had long putters. Yet banishment puts an asterisk on their accomplishments.
b. Other players on tours of all levels have earned PGA Tour cards, won club championships, and simply enjoyed the game more, while using a long putter. These are good people and respectful golfers. Now they will be forced to defend their accomplishments.
c. Even if the R&A and/or USGA had some sort of evidence that the long putter has made putting somehow "easier" by a few percent for some golfers, why is that an issue? Putting greens themselves are faster and more undulated than ever before, and far more difficult than in the old days. New balls, better shafts, oversize grips, larger heads - all of these constantly improving innovations have all made the game somewhat easier (more enjoyable), in trying to keep up with golf courses that are far more difficult.
d. Even for those who believe (and I know many who agree with this) that the tour should have its own tighter control on equipment, in essence a bifurcation of the rules, in my opinion the long putter is not the place to start. It does not impact the competitive balance of the game. And it should stay in the game at all levels.

3. The third reason is that a lot of other people, who haven't necessarily won Majors with a long putter, still get hurt by this decision if it goes against the long putter. And who really wins?
a. A small company like SeeMore, doing 15% of business in long putters the last few years prior to the USGA bringing the market to a halt, stands to lose all of that revenue, which impacts our ability to hire more American workers.
b. SeeMore has earned an outstanding reputation for great customer service by trying to understand and then meet consumers unmet needs. We only do putters. And when thousands of golfers tell us that they want a better long putter, a better belly putter, and a better standard length putter, and a better way to be fit for these putters, and a better way to learn putting (through our SPi-SeeMore Putter Institute) we have invested in every way possible. Now we will be punished as well.
c. Lastly a ban on anchored putters now makes a lot of other people look bad. For example many teaching club golf professionals and club fitters as well as representatives of the world's finest golf retailers have actively promoted and fit their customers into long putters over the last few years. It just looks bad to the golfing public. And that's not fair either.

So where does this leave us? Are we gaining or losing in this pending decision? You know my thoughts now. How do you feel? I hope I have helped to at least introduce some new ideas to the discussion. That is my view!

Jim Grundberg
Co-Owner, SeeMore Putter Co.
615-394-6473 cell
615-435-8015 office

Contact: AmericanGolferBlog@gmail.com

No comments: