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Rules Throwback: Lutz Last USGA Champion to Anchor Putter
August 28, 2017 | Far Hills, N.J.
By Jamie Wallace
On January 1, 2016, Rule 14-1b went into effect and eliminated the use of all varieties of anchored putting strokes. Just prior to this date, on October 1, 2015, Chip Lutz, of Reading Pa., won the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Hidden Creek Golf Club, in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. This made him the last player to win a USGA championship using an anchored stroke.
As a refresher, let’s run through some important items to note regarding Rule 14-1b:
- It states that the player must not anchor the club directly or by use of an anchor point. A club is anchored directly when the club or a gripping hand is held in direct contact with the body. A club is anchored through use of an anchor point when a player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.
- It does not apply solely to strokes made with a putter, although of course that is the most common use of this type of stroke. Using an anchored stroke for pitching or chipping, for example, would incur the same two-stroke penalty as using an anchored putting stroke.
- There is no limit to the number of penalty strokes that can be incurred during a round for breaches of this Rule. Every putt struck using an anchored stroke incurs a two-stroke penalty. There are other Rules, such as Rule 4-4 (carrying more than 14 clubs), that have a maximum number of penalty strokes that can be incurred during a round.
- It does not have anything to do with the equipment that a player is allowed to use. All varieties and lengths of putters that could be used prior to 2016 can still be used, but they simply cannot be anchored to the body.
A number of high-profile players continue to use long putters, including Bernhard Langer, who has eight victories (including five majors) on the PGA Tour Champions since Jan. 1, 2016. Langer and others, such as Stewart Hagestad, the low amateur in the 2017 Masters, simply move their top gripping hand away from their body when making a stroke.
For more information on Rule 14-1b, please see our anchoring resources page.
Jamie Wallace is the manager of Rules education and digital content for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.