Green reading books will be much less detailed if the R&A and USGA's plans go through

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Restrictions On Green Reading Books Announced

Golf’s two main governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, are clamping down on green reading books in the hope that players can use “their own judgement, skill and ability”.

Green reading books have been criticised by many for taking the skill out of the game as well as adding on unnecessary time.

It appears that they won’t be completely outlawing them but will instead attempt to make them less detailed.

The R&A and USGA say that there will now be a six week period, starting today, of “feedback and consultation with interested parties” before a final decision.

That will result in a finalised “interpretation” of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) and will come into play on 1st January 2019 along with all of the other new golf rules.

Related: New Golf Rules 2019 – All you need to know

There are four elements proposed for the final interpretation. They are…

Minimum Slope Indication – The new minimum slope indication will be 4% or 2.29 degrees – this basically means that the R&A and USGA are proposing that green reading books only show big and obvious slopes and not subtle ones. Holes are cut in positions that have less than 3.5% slope so the new proposals will mean that no slope indications will be given for near where a hole could be cut.

Maxmium Scale Limit – Similar to the above, the scale of the books will be 1:480, meaning less detail of the greens’ slopes will be shown.

Indicative Information – Basic illustrations including the shape of the putting green, tops of ridges and general slopes will continue to be allowed

Handwritten Notes – Handwritten notes will continue to be allowed but can’t be used to create direct copies or replicas of a detailed green map

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, “We have looked carefully at the use of these green-reading materials and the extremely detailed information they provide and our view is that they tip the balance too far away from the essential skill and judgement required to read subtle slopes on the greens. It is important to be clear, however, that we still regard the use of yardage books and handwritten notes to be an entirely appropriate part of the game.”

“Both the USGA and The R&A are committed to the position that a player’s ability to read their line of play on the putting green is an essential skill that should be retained,” said Thomas Pagel, Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status for the USGA. “The focus of the interpretation is to develop an approach that is both effective and enforceable.”

Ian Poulter will likely be happy with these proposals from the R&A and USGA.

He tweeted this last year:

We are bound to hear more Tour Players speaking out on the matter.

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