Of all the aids PGA Tour players use to make their jobs easier – from the TrackMan to the alignment rods to the mirrors on the practice green – green reading books have become, all of a sudden, the more controversial.
So much so that the Tour’s 16-member Players Advisory Council (PAC) has recommended banning the books from the competition. The full PGA Tour board is expected to act soon.
Reading books on the greens have been on the road since 2008, showing the directions in which putts break and the percentage of slope in different parts of the greens. But the USGA decided in 2018 that the books should be harder to read and limited the size of the books to 4½ x 7 inches, on the scale where 3/8 inch on the book would correspond to five yards on the green. .
Yet the Tour’s PAC met at the Memorial Tournament and voted “overwhelmingly”, according to one member, to ban the books.
“It’s not really an advantage, it’s just taking away a skill that takes time and practice to master,” PAC chairman Rory McIlroy told the US Open. “I think reading greens is a real skill that some people are better at than others, and it just negates that edge that people have.
“Honestly, I think it made everyone lazier. People don’t take the time to prepare anymore like they used to, and that’s why you see so many more players in Augusta, for example, taking their time around the greens, hitting so many more putts, it’s because that they have to. ”
The Augusta National Golf Club, host of the Masters, is the only stop on the PGA Tour that does not currently allow players to use green books.
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Jim Stracka, along with his son, Chase, are the founders of StrackaLine, a leading producer of green reading books and one of two green books on the PGA Tour. The other is Sherpa Tower.
Stracka is obviously unhappy with the PAC’s decision. “People don’t read greens, they hit putts based on memory,” Stracka said. golf summary. “We all know how much easier it is to hit a putt when your competitor has just hit one on the same line. The green reading is more memory. They move so much dirt today that you can’t trust the visuals.
“Your mind will play tricks on you. If you are good enough and use Aimpoint [the green-reading technique] to read them with your feet, great. But when they say it’s a necessary skill, I say it’s nonsense. The green reading is more memory. We all know how much we read the greens when we regularly play a course. You remember one point, and that’s what you’re counting on.
Stracka says the common belief that green reading books contribute to slow play simply isn’t true. He studied college golfers, notoriously the slowest players, and found their rounds were 15 minutes faster with the books on than without.
“If you wait until the last minute to use it, slow players are slow, fast players are fast,” Stracka said. “They often use that as an excuse, but it’s not accurate.”
Stracka charges $170 per tournament for the PGA Tour books. He also sells books to over 400 college golf programs and AJGA events.
McIlroy admitted to using the books himself but says he won’t miss them if they’re gone.
“Look, this might make the practice rounds a little longer and you might have to do a little more work, but I think once we get to the tournament rounds it will speed up the game and I think that will help guys. who have really done their homework, it will help them stand out a bit more,” he said.