Over the past few months The PGA of America has taken a vocal and active position which reflected the strong viewpoint of our PGA Professionals in opposing the USGA and R&A’s proposed Rule 14-1b that would ban the anchored stroke. Today, the governing bodies indicated that they will proceed with the formal adoption of the rule.
We are disappointed with this outcome. As we have said publicly and repeatedly during the comment period, we do not believe 14-1b is in the best interest of recreational golfers and we are concerned about the negative impact it may have on both the enjoyment and growth of the game. Growing the game is one of the fundamental purposes of The PGA of America.
Although we do not agree with the decision, we applaud the USGA for its willingness to listen to our concerns and engage in meaningful discussions. In our opinion and based on our experience, the USGA treated the comment period for what it was intended to be — a time to exchange opinions, concerns and potential solutions.
We should also note that our difference of opinion regarding 14-1b should not in any way detract from the healthy relationship we have had with the USGA for nearly a century. Together, we have taken tremendous steps for the benefit of the game we both love and serve and we will continue to work together through the ongoing mutual support of Get Golf Ready; Tee It Forward; the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; the First Tee, Drive, Chip and Putt Championship; 9 is Fine; and critical pace of play issues. Let us not lose sight of the fact that The PGA and the USGA agree far more than we disagree.
We also want to note that our conversations and meetings with the USGA over these last few months have resulted in our mutual agreement to engage in a leadership conference no less than once a year to discuss our strategies and concerns and see where and how we can continue to improve the game together. In addition, we look forward to working openly with the USGA in order to ensure that on an ongoing basis, our inclusion in the Rules-making process is as meaningful as possible.
At this point in time, The PGA will digest the USGA and R&A’s decision to proceed with Rule 14-1b and discuss this matter with our Board of Directors, PGA Sections and, of course, our 27,000 PGA Professionals throughout the country. Our Board will convene in late June during our PGA Professional National Championship and at that time, we will decide how best to proceed. In addition, we will continue to confer with the PGA Tour as they similarly digest this information.
In the meantime, we will immediately do what we do best — teach the game. Since the end of November, The PGA Instruction Committee has been working on a process whereby our PGA Professionals can help with the transition from anchored putters to a non-anchored stroke in anticipation of this decision. Our PGA Professionals have always embraced our role as problem solvers when it comes to making the game better and more enjoyable for those who play it.
Ted Bishop, PGA
The PGA of America