I received a phone call Sunday from my friend, Richard Zokol, a winner on the PGA Tour and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member. Zoke and I disagree about the anchoring ban, and rather than leaving a lengthy comment, he asked if he could do a guest blog.
Here it is:
By Richard Zokol
An excerpt from Gregg Schubert, President of the PGA of Canada, letter to the USGA:
“…to date, there is no statistical data supporting the ban in terms of providing a competitive edge. This debate should not be left to conjecture or opinion, but to the truth of science based on statistical validation.”
Did the PGA of Canada not get the memo? Besides Schubert’s basis which misses the primary issue the PGA of Canada missed their tee-time by 2-weeks. The PGA of Canada had 3 months to comment before the deadline. I hope this wasn’t the PGA of Canada’s official statement, if it was, it should be ruled a DQ.
Primary Issue: The proposed ban is not an issue of growing the game nor is it an issue of determining whether or not the anchored stroke bestows a competitive advantage by its user. The issue is about protecting the integrity of the game of golf at the game’s essence… the golf stroke! Is the anchored stroke a golf stroke or is it not? That is the only question at issue and it supersedes all other offshoot issues. The USGA and R&A are not debating. They are deciding. The consequences on whether the anchored stroke provides a competitive advantage or the significance of growing the game are immaterial to the issue.
Secondary Issues: Growing the game at any cost is a slippery slope, one that will always be a threat to the game. The lines between the rules of golf, equipment technology and growing the game should never cross. It also should be clearly understood that the PGA Tour, PGA’s of America/Canada/Timbuktu or the game’s equipment manufactures all have a self serving interest directly relating to this important decisions. So it’s not a shock which way they want to go.
Shouldn’t the President of the PGA of America/Canada/Timbuktu fight just as hard for their members who support the ban on the anchors stroke? To state that “our pros don’t support the anchored rule change” sounds like those leaders are not in touch nor are they representing the majority of their membership body. Sixty three and a half percent of the 25% of 3,800 members who participated, voted against the ban (that’s 603 members out of 3,800) sounds more like the vocal minority. I know many members of the PGA of Canada who don’t want much to do with the political views of their association that do support the proposed ban, so they refrain from participation. Isn’t the silent majority speaking loud enough?
The USGA and R&A seriously screw-up when they did not banning the anchored stroke 25-years ago, but that does not mean the method is above reproach or should continued if the focused concern brings the issue into question today.
The Definitions of a Stroke
A “stroke’’ is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches the ball he has not made a stroke.
Anyone can decipher what basic physics demonstrates with the anchored stroke. A fixed pivot point of the anchored stroke does not allow for any movement (forward or backward) at the very top of the club while fixed. By definition the anchored stroke is not congruent in movement, motion in space & time, as all the other strokes in the game of golf.
Most golfers don’t play by the rules of golf anyway, so unless you’re playing championship golf, use the anchored stroke if you want and enjoy how YOU want to play golf.