Wednesday was a very good day--as we learned that one of the scourges upon our society will be lifted in just three years. I'm not talking about the Federal deficit--that will continue to grow no matter how much you tax the rich AND the middle class--and I'm not talking about poverty--which also continues to grow despite throwing more tax dollars at it. I'm talking about the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Association in Britain announcing their plan to ban anchored putters starting in 2016.
I have been on the side that believes long and belly putters should be illegal. By anchoring the shaft against your body, you eliminate a number of axes that the face of the putter can rotate--which is a factor in the swing of all other clubs in your bag. I've been forced to grit my teeth when someone would use one of those clubs against me in a competitive round of golf--accepting the fact that the governing bodies of the game had deemed them legal. However, that didn't stop me from jabbing them with backhanded compliments like "You roll it nice with that illegal putter" or "You look too young to be using that old man's club."
Now, I do have empathy for those who turned to the anchored putter to gain an advantage. As recently as five years ago, I was a horrible putter--a three-putt machine who could turn a perfect drive and approach shot into a bogey or worse. My specialty was to blow the first putt way past--then to hit the comebacker only halfway to the hole. I could also push a putt and then severely pull the next one with the best of them as well.
And I have a confession to make: in my darkest days I gave serious thought to going to the longer putter. I even spent the better part of an afternoon at Golf Galaxy trying them out--discussing shaft length, lie angle and face loft with one of the sales guys. But as I rolled more balls wide of the mark and well past the holes on the practice green I realized that my problem wasn't that I was trying to do something that was too hard for me. My problem was that I wasn't working hard enough to be good. And thus began a year-long focus on improving my putting. I spent hours on practice greens practicing short putts and medium putts and long putts over and over and over again. And wouldn't you know it, those putts started going down in tournaments and matches!
I'm not saying that I'm Tiger-Woods-before-the-Thanksgiving-night-crash-make-every-pressure-putt-ever great--or Steve-Stricker-in-any-tournament-but-a-major-or-the-Ryder-Cup good. But I roll in more than my fair share of putts now--without having to anchor my putter against my body. And if I can do it--pretty much anyone can do it.
Now if we could just convince the Wisconsin State Golf Association to ban the use of riding carts in tournaments--so that it's more of an athletic competition...........