The R&A and USGA have released a statement on green reading books, saying they believe 'a player's ability to read greens is an essential part of the skill of putting'


Golf’s Governing Bodies Hint At Banning Green Reading Books

After an initail announcement regarding video replays in golf, the R&A and USGA have released a statement targeting green reading books.

The books, which a large majority of Tour pros now use, show the natural undulations of putting greens and are used to help players pick their lines. You will see a host of top players using them in tournament play including Jordan Spieth.

However, they have been said to take away the ‘art’ of green reading and are, without doubt, a contributing factor to slow play on Tour.

Related: Video reviews in golf limited with immediate effect

The statement from the R&A and USGA, golf’s two worldwide governing bodies, called the ability to read greens an ‘essential part of the skill of putting’.

It also says how they are ‘concerned’ about the books and will address the matter further in the coming months. Without question, there will be a meeting discuss the matter at the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Here is the statement in full:

‘The R&A and the USGA believe that a player’s ability to read greens is an essential part of the skill of putting.

green reading books

Rory McIlroy checks his green reading book. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Rule 14-3 limits the use of equipment and devices that might assist a player in their play, based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the judgement, skills and abilities of the player.

We are concerned about the rapid development of increasingly detailed materials that players are using to help with reading greens during a round.

Related: Proposed changes to the Rules of Golf from 2019

We are reviewing the use of these materials to assess whether any actions need to be taken to protect this important part of the game. We expect to address this matter further in the coming months.’

After the R&A and USGA announced their proposed changes to the Rules of Golf in 2019, Ian Poulter took to Twitter to have his say on the green reading books, saying how nobody on Tour got their card because of the books and how the art of putting had been lost.

Speaking to Golf Monthly on green reading books, Bernd Wiesberger said: “It’s mainly to double-check a read. Then it’s much easier to commit over the putt.

“In circumstances where I’m struggling to read the line, or my caddie sees something different to what I do, we’ll take a step back, take a look at the book and let the science take over.”

Related: Rules of Golf changes for 2019…Are the proposals good for the game?

Director of Pro Green Book Ltd, Paul Homersham, told Golf Monthly: They’ve still got to hit the putt, they’ve still got to use their own sense of feel and judgement to play the game.

“We’re taking some of that uncertainty out of their minds. We’d like to think it’s more fun, if anything.”