The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club announced Wednesday that they are not banning the belly putter or the longer "broom-handle" putters -- only the way they are used.
The proposed rule would prohibit golfers at all levels from anchoring a club against their bodies while making a stroke. The rule would not take effect until 2016.
"We believe a player should hold the club away from his body and swing it freely," USGA executive director Mike Davis said. "Golf is a game of skill and challenge, and we think that's an important part of it."
Three of the past five major winners, starting with Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship, used a belly putter.
Players could still use a broom-handle or belly putter -- as long as it not pressed against their body to create the effect of a hinge. The penalty for anchoring the club would be loss of hole in match play and a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
The R&A and USGA now offer a three-month period for open comment on the proposal before they approve it.
Bradley and 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, who both use a belly putter, had said they would go along with the new rule, though they weren't happy about it.
The PGA, European and LPGA tours will evaluate the proposed rule with their players. "It's a good one," Tiger Woods said about the new rule.