Friday, December 7, 2012

It's not time to drop anchor just yet

A not so new way to blaze the greens

The anchoring era is over ... Or is it? Now that rule 14-1b smacked the golf world upside the head harder than Woody Austin after a really bad putt, a new era of anchoring may be upon us. This era, led by none other than 2012 Players Champion, Matt Kuchar, is saying goodbye to belly-anchoring and hello to forearm-anchoring.

Kuchar started employing forearm-anchoring beginning with the 2012 season where he finished 25th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting. Compare that to the 2011 season when he was using a belly putter to finish 26th in strokes gained putting. Obviously, the man affectionately known as Kuch, could probably putt well with a meatball attached to the end of a wet noodle, so stats don't much matter here. 

What does matter is golfers, both professional and amateur, finding a method that will help them overcome the yips. The yips are a motor function problem, caused by fear of missing a putt, that results in a involuntary twitch at or near the moment the putter impacts the ball. By many accounts, no amount of practice can save a golfer suffering from this affliction. A golfer could make 200 in a row from two feet on the practice green, then completely miss the hole on their first two footer of a real round. The yips have affected famous golfers throughout history including: Old Tom Morris, Harry Vardon, Johnny Miller and most famously Bernhard Langer.

Langer has had the most documented case of the yips in golfing history and has beat it on numerous occasions. If the yips are a disease, then anchoring (usually a broomstick putter) is the cure. This rule affects the yipping community, some say as high as 25% of total golfers, more than anyone else. The long putter wasn't the first cure that worked for Langer though. Langer first beat the yips using a forearm-anchoring technique, somewhat similar to the one Kuchar uses.

Although Odyssey Golf introduced a new line of putters set to release on 1/15/13 called "Arm-Lock," they aren't the first putter company to capitalize on this putting method. Bobby Grace Putters, a putter maker who has designed for both Cobra and MacGregor, has an "Arm-Anchor" line out now. Odyssey says their "Arm-Lock" will have a loft of 7 degrees to make of for the increased shaft lean employed by this method. Bobby Grace employs a bulged face, which creates variable loft. He describes the construction in a question that was reposted on GolfWRX:

"Your loft question is a good one. Our putters do not have loft, they all have a radial face which works well with the arm putter. What we do is to set up the putter with the shaft angle in a forward lean.  This does not change the angle of our face.  The radial remains the same but the shaft is completely different.  If you use it as a belly putter it will look about 5 degrees hooked."

For this reason, anchoring your belly putter to your forearm may not work.

If you've found you've beat your yips senseless with an anchor, you might not want to release that anchor from your ship yet, just move it to a different spot. Or ... Claw it to death. Until next time ... Keep the greens ablaze


Anonymous said...

Heres an idea.... Learn how to putt like a normal person!!

Kyle Rogers said...

Thanks green Blazer share this post about Drop in Anchor just yet.