Green reading books will be much less detailed from 1st January 2019

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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.

After a six-week period of consultation, having announced initial proposals for green reading material changes, the R&A and USGA are happy with their view that “the ability of golfers to read greens using their own judgement is an essential skill that should be maintained.”

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 that golf’s governing bodies won’t be completely outlawing them but will instead attempt to make them less detailed and smaller in both size and scale.

The result from the six-week consultation period is a finalised “interpretation” of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) that 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 key limitations that are being introduced for 1st Jan 2019. They are…

  • The scale of the books will now be no larger than 1:480, which converts to 3/8 inch to 5 yards
  • The green reading book with an image of map of the putting green must not be any larger than 4 ¼ inches by 7 inches. A pin sheet may be larger but each individual green shown must stick to the scale limit.
  • No magnification of putting green information is allowed barring a player’s normal wearing of prescription glasses or lenses
  • Hand-written information about a putting green is only allowed if contained in a book or on paper which meets the size limit and written by the player/caddie

This also applies to digital devices.

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A said, “We received some extremely useful feedback over the last six weeks which has helped us finalise the limits.

“It is important that we take steps to ensure that skill and judgement are the main determinants of success in reading the greens.

“The new interpretation is a first step in the process and we will keep green-reading materials under review in 2019 to assess whether any further action is required.”

“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA Senior Managing Director of Governance.

“We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game.”

Poulter uses a greens book but believes they should be banned. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)

Ian Poulter, who uses a greens book himself, will likely be happy with these changes from the R&A and USGA.

He tweeted this last year:

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