Final Approval Given to Rule 14-1b That Prohibits the Use of Anchored Strokes

Oakville, Ont. – Golf Canada, in conjunction with the R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), has announced the adoption of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf that prohibits anchoring the club in making a stroke.

The ruling was originally announced Tuesday morning as part of a joint statement released by both the R&A and USGA . The new Rule will take effect on January 1, 2016 in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf.
The decision to adopt the new Rule came after a comprehensive process in which comments and suggestions from across the international golf community were collected and thoroughly considered by golf’s governing bodies.

“As the governing body of golf in Canada, we are thankful to all those golfers and industry stakeholders that have shared their comments and opinion on the anchored stroke since this decision was originally proposed back in November,” said Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons. “This ruling clarifies the definition of a golf stroke and we believe the decision will serve the best interest of the game moving forward. We will now work with our industry partners to communicate these changes to Canadian golfers during the transition period until the anchored stroke ruling takes effect on January 1st, 2016.”

A detailed report has been released by the R&A and USGA in conjunction with the announcement on anchoring which explains the reasons for the decision to adopt Rule 14-1b.  The report explains the principles on which the Rules of Golf are founded, why freely swinging the entire club is the essence of the traditional method of stroke, and why anchoring is a substantially different form of stroke that may alter and diminish the fundamental challenges of the game.

The new Rule only impacts the method in which a stroke is made, and will not alter current equipment rules. Players will continue to be able to use all conforming golf clubs, including long putters and belly-putters, provided the club is not anchored during the stroke.

“Since the inception of the game over 600 years ago, a stroke has been characterized by the club being gripped by the hands and swinging freely,” said Dale Jackson, Chair of Golf Canada’s Rules of Golf Committee, who also sits on the Joint Rules Committee along with leading representatives from the R&A and USGA. “The player’s challenge is to direct and control the movement of the entire club in making the stroke. The decision to act at this time is based on a strong desire to reverse this trend of anchoring and to clarify the definition of a golf stroke.”

The PGA of Canada – one of the national industry associations to express opposition to the proposed anchor ban – have expressed appreciation for having their comments heard as part of the review process and are now looking forward to the continued growth and development of golf in Canada.

“On behalf of the PGA of Canada, we would like to thank the USGA and R&A for the opportunity extended to the golf industry to comment on the proposed anchor ban,” said PGA of Canada CEO Gary Bernard. “We recognize the direction of the ruling today and although we are disappointed the proposal did not change course, we are already looking forward. We will continue to monitor the situation—particularly with regards to the PGA of America and PGA Tour —and discuss the ruling with the national board and our members who are on the front line each and every day working with the golfers of this country. Golf Canada is our closest partner and together we are excited to continue the development, promotion and execution of growing golf in Canada and around the world.”

National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA Canada) CEO Jeff Calderwood believes the ruling strikes a fair balance between protecting the competitive integrity of the game without inhibiting the ability of recreational golfers to enjoy the overall golf experience at facilities across Canada.

“The majority of golfers who play recreational golf tend to default to a less formal set of rules, based more on fun and pace of play. So I think the reality of 14-1b is that it will probably protect the integrity of the game in competitive events as intended, without actually inhibiting the behaviour of recreational golfers,” said Calderwood. “Most golf course owners across Canada will simply want their customers to continue enjoying the overall golf experience as much as possible.”

The current Rule 14-1 of the Rules of Golf will be re-numbered as Rule 14-1a, and new Rule 14-1b will be established as follows:

14-1b Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.”

Note 1:  The club is anchored “directly” when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.

Note 2:  An “anchor point” exists when the 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.

For more information about the adopted Rule, including a demonstration video, photos, infographics, and a Guidance Document for Players and Officials, visit