(Image via Twitter)
(via Golfweek)Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, the move will effectively render the books impractical to players who have increasingly leaned on them for reading putts.
Three golf industry rules experts confirmed the plan to Golfweek. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the move.
“We announced last year that we were reviewing green-reading materials and expect to be able to give a further update in the coming weeks,” an R&A spokesman said. “We believe that the ability to read greens is an integral part of the skill of putting and remain concerned about the rapid development of increasingly detailed materials that players are using to help with reading greens during a round.”
One thing that I have never gotten into (no matter how much I try) is to read and completely understand a green book. This may be why I have never come close to shooting under par (Live Over Par baby!), but I digress. The books that are currently being used by PGA pros are ridiculously detailed: from every tiny slope, to every inch of break, the greens are mapped by golf companies and given to the pros, with the hope people like me will become dumb and buy them. While it doesn’t work on me, it sure works on a lot of recreational golfers, and being able to read a complex green book can have a positive impact on your game.
Despite the positives, I see why the R&A and USGA have decided to restrict these. The two main points they gave was to increase the pace of play and to increase the skill level. The pace of play I 100% agree with: I don’t need Bryson Dechambeau doing rocket science in one of these books for 10 minutes, only to miss the putts and get cut again. I do believe that reading the greens instead of doing math in a book will increase the pace.
Now, with the skill level side, I’m 50/50. On one end, if PGA pros are just like one of us schlubs and have to read a green, their golf knowledge will increase and their green reading skills will be top-notch. However, I also believe that if you are a professional, you should be able to do what you can to try and be the best golfer you can be, even if it means the Rocket Scientist does quantum physics to correctly line up a three-foot putt. But in the end, I think these new rules will help show players that they don’t need all of this to succeed, but rather build their instincts and golf acumen to win tournaments.