The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA) have announced a proposed rule change that would see anchored putting strokes deemed illegal.

After an extensive review, golf’s governing bodies have proposed Rule 14-1b, which would prohibit strokes made with the club – or a hand gripping the club – held directly against a player’s body, or with a forearm touching the body to create an anchor point.

The proposed rule would not alter current equipment laws, meaning belly-length and long putters would remain legal provided they are not anchored during a stroke.

The proposed rule change is designed to target a small number of strokes, whilst maintaining a golfer’s ability to chose a wide range of different styles.

As per the Rules of Golf, the proposed rule change would take place on January 1, 2016. There would also be an extended period in which golfers could adapt their method of stroke.

The R&A and USGA will consider further comments or suggestions from the golf community before taking a final decision in Spring 2013.

“We believe we have considered the issue from every angle but, given the wide-ranging interest in this subject, we would like to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any new maters for consideration,” said Peter Dawson, the R&A’s Chief Executive.

Mike Davis, the USGA’s Executive Director, added: “Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing freely at the ball.

“The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters that challenge.

“Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.”

For more information about the proposed rule, including videos and images of strokes that would be allowed or prohibited, visit www.RandA.org/anchoring.

Proposed change:

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.