Chattanooga-area golf clubs will adopt putter rule

Chattanooga-area golf clubs will adopt putter rule

July 3rd, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Golf

Adam Scott of Australia celebrates after making a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the Masters golf tournament.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Adam Scott of Australia putts on the 15th green during the first round of The Players championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Golf's governing bodies have adopted a new rule that outlaws the putting stroke used by four of the last six major champions. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and U.S. Golf Association announced Tuesday, May 21, 2013 that Rule 14-1b would start in 2016. The new rule will make it illegal to anchor the club against the body when making a golf stroke.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The PGA Tour's policy board and the PGA of America announced Monday that they will fall in line and comply with a new USGA rule that bans the anchoring of a putter to the belly, chest or any other part of a golfer's body.

Chattanooga-area golf clubs will follow suit as well, at least for their championship events.

Four of the last seven men's major tournament champions have anchored their putters in some way.

The anchoring ban is set to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2016, but the PGA of America asked the USGA to delay the implementation for amateurs, perhaps until 2024 when new groove rules will be applied.

"It's going to become a rule of golf and there's no flexibility," Tennessee Golf Association executive director Matt Vanderpool said. "The USGA changes numerous rules every four years. We'll conduct our championships under USGA rules and adopt whatever changes that come into effect."

Chattanooga TPC series director Mike Jenkins said the ban would impact about 10 percent of the participants if the rule were put into place ahead of the Chattanooga Men's Metro next weekend.

"By 2016 or even later, I don't think it will affect anybody because I think they will have adjusted," Jenkins said. "The ones it affects, it affects big, but that's not a big number."

The head golf professionals at Cleveland Country Club, Lookout Mountain Golf Club and Creeks Bend Golf Club said they will follow USGA rules for their competitions -- no matter the rules at the time.

"I can see us staying with the USGA's stance, but our competition committee and tournament committees haven't had any formal discussions," said Lamar Mills of Cleveland CC. "I don't see us coming up with any special rules going up against anything the USGA and PGA will be doing during our tournaments."

But the pros wouldn't object if players continue anchoring a putter during average daily play where the rules and stakes are determined by the group.

Mike Nelms of Creeks Bend noted that head pros want to promote golf as much as possible.

"If they can stand on their head and putt, that's fine with me," he said.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.