Golf governing bodies crack down on green reading books

Golf governing bodies have revealed a new model local rule to further limit the use of green reading books in the hopes that players and caddies will only use their eyes and feel to read putts. The local rule model G-11 allows tournament organizers to restrict players to using only the distance book they have approved for use in competition.

This local rule was developed by the R&A and the USGA with feedback from several professional tours. It is intended only for the highest levels of competitive golf and at competitions where it is realistic for the committee to create an officially endorsed yardage book. It will be available from January 1, 2022. The PGA Tour recently placed its own restrictions on green reading books, so this new local rule will affect the best players in the world.

The new local rule gives tournament organizers the option of establishing an officially approved distance book for a competition so that the diagrams of the greens show only minimal detail, including steep slopes, levels or false edges which indicate sections of greens. Handwritten notes from players and caddies on the approved distance book are also limited.

Players and caddies will now only be allowed to add handwritten notes and information obtained through their knowledge and experience while watching the balls roll on the green or seeing television coverage. Handwritten or printed information unrelated to green reading, such as swaying thoughts or transport distances, is permitted.

If the players and the caddy have anything other than the official distance book to read the greens or have broken handwritten rule guidelines, they will be in breach of the new Local Rule and the penalty declaration under Rule 4.3s. ‘applies, which is the General Penalty – two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

Check out the full advice on the new G-11 local rule template.

About Marcia G. Hussain

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