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USGA will restrict green-reading materials beginning in 2019



More than a year after announcing their concerns, the USGA and R&A are proposing regulations on green-reading materials/yardage books.

The governing bodies emphasized “the need for a player to read greens based on their own judgement” in a press release.

The regulations will be finalized in a published “interpretation” of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) and adopted Jan. 1, 2019, following a six-week feedback period.

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 judgment 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.”

Here are the key elements, per the USGA release.

Minimum Slope Indication Limit: A minimum slope indication limit of 4 percent (2.29 degrees) is proposed (this includes lines, arrows, numbers or any other indicators); this will have the effect of eliminating such indicators of slope from those areas of the putting green where the hole is most likely to be positioned (which tend to be cut on reasonably flat sections of the putting green with a degree of slope of less than 3.5 percent – or 2 degrees). This proposed limit also equates roughly with the amount of slope that is readily visible to the naked eye.

Maximum Scale Limit: A maximum scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480) is proposed; this will limit the size in print form to a pocket-sized publication and has the effect of restricting the space for handwritten notes (also referenced below).

Indicative Information: General information that is included in traditional yardage books or course guides, such as basic illustrations that show the outline of the putting green and include indicative information like the tops of ridges or general slopes, will continue to be permitted.

Handwritten Notes: Handwritten notes will continue to be allowed, but such notes cannot be used to create either a direct copy or a facsimile (replica) of a detailed green map.

If you’d like to know what this theory might look like in practice, check out these illustrations from the USGA.


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  1. Tee-Bone

    Aug 2, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    At this point, the USGA is completely dysfunctional. Green maps do not read the green for you by indicating the correct starting line. That must still be done by the player. Green maps do not remove that skill. So I ask…WHY?

  2. david

    Aug 2, 2018 at 6:41 am

    Putting a line on a golf ball to putt in my opinion is cheating; it runs contrary to the spirit of the game. We don’t allow players to use alignment rods on the fairways to line up a shot, so why do we allow a player to use a line? And it slows play immensely. I’m all for banning yardage books completely, green reading is a skill; this is like allowing calculators for students in a math test.

    • Frankie

      Aug 2, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      Would you rather take a trigonometry test with abnormal angles (not 45, 90, 135, 180, etc.) and have to figure out approximate sin, cos, and tan for those angles without a calculator? Hmmmm….

  3. Joe

    Aug 1, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    The game of golf should be a game of athleticism and judgement, not a game for physic majors. KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid.

  4. GolfDonkey

    Aug 1, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    This is all so dumb. No need to ban the books

  5. Tom54

    Aug 1, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I believe the green reading books just adds another layer of preparation for a putt. By the time they consult the book,visually look at all angles,precisely line it up with the line on the ball and then hit the putt a lot of time has gone by. I agree that laser finders should be allowed. Last player to hit in group from fairway should already have yardage when it’s his turn. How many times has the camera gone to that player and they’re still looking at the book? I know they are playing for lots of money but Rodney said it best with “Let’s go while we’re young”

  6. Tartan Golf Travel

    Aug 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Not sure why they didn’t ban the books entirely but outside of that I like the rule. Green reading is a skill. Give the guys rangefinders….yardage is common knowledge. The most boring part of watching golf is when the caddie and they player are both just looking at a book!

    • Ray Neese

      Aug 1, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      They should ban caddies from reading as well and lining up shots. Even though they move before a player hits,lining up is part of the skill of golf.

  7. Jack Nash

    Aug 1, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    It’s about time they did this. Should have been nipped in the bud right off. Green reading is an art, and how many players have been aided just like the long & belly putters.

  8. Funkaholic

    Aug 1, 2018 at 10:13 am

    I wonder how many strokes I could shave if I had this kind of information, conditions and time on my local public course.

    • Jack Nash

      Aug 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      I think there’s even golf apps for ur phone out now.

      • Funkaholic

        Aug 1, 2018 at 1:19 pm

        Yes but, I don’t have the time to stand over my ball 5 minutes before every shot with a personal adviser helping me make my decisions on a perfectly manicured course. The Pros are spoiled.

        • OninTwoDowninOne

          Aug 2, 2018 at 3:42 am

          Yes, I agree they are spoiled. Play on well conditioned courses, follow perfect weather conditions, a spotter every shot, never lose a ball, an adviser for every shot, get relief from impossible situations just by asking, Ball deflectors in play, food on the course.

  9. doofer

    Aug 1, 2018 at 2:04 am

    Aw shucks… you can goose up the ball but you can’t use green reading stuff?!!

  10. CrashTestDummy

    Jul 31, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    I like this change. Puts more responsibility on the player to setup their own shots. Also, like that they disallowed caddies lining up the player before hitting. The responsibility should be on the player to read a putt and line themselves up.

  11. Bruce Ferguson

    Jul 31, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    At least you don’t have to worry about green-reading aids at the US Open.

    Balls just roll off the greens, anyway . . .

  12. Travis

    Jul 31, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    This is making the green reading books so complicated… and what, are they going to search every green reading book every round?!

    Why not just ban them entirely?

    Yet another way the USGA makes this whole situation WAY more complicated than it has to be… Mike Davis is a total tard.

    • DB

      Aug 1, 2018 at 8:33 am

      I also tend to think Mike Davis is a nerd who should be shoved back into a locker, but… this is a welcome change. Lots of people have had issues with the growing complexity of these books.

      There are restrictions on clubs and various other things – and nobody has to inspect every club every round. Everyone knows the rules and they follow the rules. I think it’s pretty clear. You can have a green chart showing ridges and false-fronts, general direction, etc. But once you start mapping it out with precise slope measurements you’ve broken the rule.

  13. Wiger Toods

    Jul 31, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    It isn’t about the data. It’s about slow play.

    • Anders Loch

      Aug 1, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Green books actually speed up play by allowing one to make a read faster.

  14. Jesper Pickering

    Jul 31, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    They should just ban any lines on the balls. It takes way too much time to align line on ball, and it removes the skills to properly setup and aim. It’s fine by me with the measurements/green books and that not. You have the same insight if it is your home course

  15. ChipNRun

    Jul 31, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    I served as marshal on the No. 14 for the 2013 Senior PGA at Bellerive CC.

    During a practice round, one player finished the hole and broke out some real hardware. He had a carpenter’s level, a 12-inch wooden ruler and a small looseleaf notebook. He took about six level readings around each of the proposed cup positions, rolled the ball around by hand, and furiously took notes.

    After about five minutes, his playing partner said, “Hey, the next group wants to hit in…”

    End of sad story: He failed to make 36-hole cut by five strokes.

    * Yes, Bellerive is hosting the 100th PGA Championship in a few days.

  16. Tom

    Jul 31, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    What if the player makes his own version of a green reading book, like the yardage books they currently are allowed to use? Will the USGA subcontract TSA agents to body cavity search players?
    Instead, the USGA should put time expectations in place and severely penalize(disqualify)those who can’t play 18 holes in 4 hours. It’s not that complicated.

    • 3puttPar

      Jul 31, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      A tournament round in 4 hours has never happened, and will never happen. This unreal expectation of putting a time limit on golf has become ridiculous.

      If you cant set aside ample time to play or watch golf, find something else to do.

      • Joe

        Aug 1, 2018 at 12:59 pm


        • MJB-Golf

          Aug 2, 2018 at 6:48 am

          True….Fastest 3-ball round on Thursday 3h 48min. Average time cut off each group was recorded to 33min. Did we find it stressful? No, not even the slow players. But we had to get on with what we are supposed to do out there, check yardage, wind direction, make a decision, grove it in and pull the trigger. No time for second and third thoughts about every single decision made. Great format and equal time for all players making it a fair tournament. “Thumbs Up” 🙂

          • PT

            Aug 2, 2018 at 12:50 pm

            Did you walk? Use a rangefinder? Or that silly thing on your cart? And were millions of dollars and FedEx Cup points, and qualification status at stake?
            Trying walking off every yardage next time and walk that course. And then see if you can still shoot your own course record next time

  17. Greg V

    Jul 31, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Will the makers of these green reading books sue the USGA?

    I saw a phone app that had the same technology. They must be hugely disappointed.

  18. GFan

    Jul 31, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Fantastic news from the USGA + R&A. If they could also prohibit the caddies from helping to read greens than we would see some even more interesting results from those professional players.

    • Dave

      Jul 31, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      The caddie is part of the player…. read the rule book.

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Former TaylorMade CEO Mark King “is taking over” at Honma



Mark King is coming back to the golf equipment business. The former TaylorMade CEO, who was with the company in various capacities for 30 years, told Golf Digest he’ll be working with Honma Golf as a consultant.

The title doesn’t capture the scope of King’s role, however, as he’ll reportedly be at the helm of company strategy and direct and expansion into North America.

“He’s in charge,” a former Honma employee told Golf Digest anonymously. “It’s been in the works for awhile. Mark’s taking over everything.”

King announced he was stepping down from his role as president of Adidas North America in April, telling Digest he didn’t intend to return to the equipment business, but he was so impressed with Honma’s operation, he was eager to be involved.

“Listen, I was ready to retire, I wasn’t really looking to do anything,” King said. “But as this was presented to me by Chairman Liu, I could see he has big plans and a big vision. I really found it exciting because it is not TaylorMade or Callaway or Cobra or Titleist or Ping. This is a much different brand with very different price points and a fascinating story when it comes to technology and craftsmanship. This is a totally different experience.”

High-end Honma has a minimal footprint in North America, but it seems King and company intend to change that. King, who oversaw impressive growth, experimentation, innovation, ever-shrinking product cycles, and glittering launches at TaylorMade says Honma is planning a major launch for January and plans to have a strong tour presence.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: 59! | Tiger’s caddie pays a bribe | High schooler the next Scotty Cameron?



By Ben Alberstadt (

August 17, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. 59
Brandt Snedeker, as you’ve surely heard by now, fired an opening-round 59 at the Wyndham Championship. It’s the 10th sub-60 round in Tour history.
  • AP Report…”He made a 20-foot putt on his final hole to become the 10th player in TOUR history to break 60. Jim Furyk set the record with a 58 in the final round of the Travelers Championship in 2016…”I better be smiling,” Snedeker said. “I don’t do this every day.”
  • “This is the third consecutive year the PGA TOUR has had a sub-60 round. Snedeker is the first to shoot 59 since Adam Hadwin in the third round of the 2017 Careerbuilder Challenge.”
  • “It gave him a four-stroke lead after one round. Ryan Moore and John Oda shot 63s, and Martin Flores, D.A. Points, Brett Stegmaier, David Hearn, Abraham Ancer, Ollie Schniederjans and Jonathan Byrd had 64s.”
  • “Snedeker – who said a day earlier that the tournament would turn into a “birdie-fest” – began the round at par-70 Sedgefield Country Club with a bogey at No. 10, and took off from there. He played the front nine in 27, including an eagle 2 on the par-4 sixth hole when he holed out from 176 yards.”
2. U.S. Am
A few notable match reports, advancements from
  • “Cole Hammer (Houston, TX), who made history on Tuesday by becoming just the fifth player to medal in the Western Am and U.S. Am in the same year, survived a game challenge by Joshua McCarthy (Danville, CA) with a 1 up win. McCarthy won holes 12-14 to take a 1 up lead in the match, but bogeyed the next two holes to allow Hammer to retake the lead and close it out at the 18th.”
  • “The other stroke play medalist wasn’t as fortunate. Daniel Hillier (New Zealand) ran into a hot Davis Riley (Hattiesburg, MS) and fell 5&4.”
  • “Riley will next face Mason Overstreet (Kingfisher, OK), who ended an impressive run by high school sophomore Jackson Van Paris (Pinehurst, NC) with a 3&2 win. Van Paris made some history of his own yesterday, when he became the second-youngest player ever to win a match at the U.S. Amateur (the youngest being none other than Bobby Jones).”
3. LaCava pays a bribe

Joe LaCava called into ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” and told a tale of paying of a heckler at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

LaCava said the man heckled Woods throughout his final round at the Bridgestone, and on the 14th hole, LaCava interceded, telling the man to check out action elsewhere on the course. Interestingly/absurdly, the man said he would be happy to, provided LaCava reimburse him for his ticket.

Transcript c/o ESPN.

Mike Golic: “Did you have any issues with the people at Bellerive?”

Joe LaCava: “Not at all, and you hit it right on the head, 99 percent of the guys and women are behind Tiger, pushing for Tiger. They want to see good golf in general they’re not anti-the-other-guys, but they’re certainly rooting for Tiger more so than the other guys. But, funny you guys ask that question. The week before in Akron, I had a little incident with a guy who was harassing my guy on the 14th hole at Akron the last day outside the ropes, roughening him up pretty good. And I said, hey listen bud, why do you gotta go there? Everyone’s having a good time, everyone’s pulling for Tiger. You don’t like the guy that’s one thing, but you don’t to be yelling at my guy, screaming negative stuff like that. And I said at the end of the day, if you affect him, his performance, it effects my bottomline. So he calls me a couple names and I go back and forth with the guy, and I say why don’t you just leave. And he says well if you give me $25 for the ticket that I bought today I’ll leave. And I said here you go, here’s $25.” 

Mike: “Did he leave?” 

Joe: “So I whip out $25 and he starts to go down the 14th fairway toward the green. I say look pal $25 is $25 you gotta head the other way. So he starts to head the other way, he goes 20 yards down the line, then he calls me a certain other, a swear word. So I run 20 yards back the other way and I’m going face to face with this guy. And all the sudden Tiger’s looking for a yardage, and I’m in it with this guy 20 yards down the line. So some cop has to come in, push this guy outta the way, and take him outta the tournament.

4. Jarrod Lyle tribute
A nice touch by the PGA Tour and the Wyndham Championship.’s Helen Ross writes...”Sitting there on the first tee at Sedgefield Country Club were Jarrod Lyle’s golf bag, clubs and signature yellow bucket cap, a tribute to the popular Australian golfer who died last week after battling acute myeloid leukemia for 20 years.”
  • “That was awesome,” Percy said. “I was about to hit off and I was like who’s bag is that? And then I saw it and I said to Shane (Joel), who’s an Australian caddy in my group, that was pretty cool, wasn’t it, and he said, yeah, that was pretty cool. It was a nice touch.”
  • “The last PGA TOUR event Lyle played was the 2016 Wyndham Championship, and tournament officials wanted to honor his memory this week. There are also two bags in the locker room for players to sign that will be auctioned off later with the total proceeds going to Lyle’s wife Briony and their two children.”
  • “Donations to the GoFundMe page, that has already exceeded its $200,000 goal may also be made on-site at The First Tee of the Triad’s tent on Expo Row at Sedgefield. The tournament is working with all of its constituents to raise $25,000 for the cause.”
  • “”These are sad days for the PGA TOUR family,” tournament director Mark Brazil said.  “I knew Jarrod to be one of the kindest human beings on TOUR, and I know all the guys, especially the Australians, will really miss him.”
5. Lexi’s return
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Lexi Thompson looked at ease, smiling and laughing in a solid start in her return to the tour Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, where she felt the benefit of her month-long break.”
  • “It was very relaxing out there,” Thompson said. “I felt very comfortable where my game was at. I just tried to go out and let my game show and not put too much pressure on myself.”
  • “Thompson, 23, the defending champ, opened with a 4-under-par 68, four shots behind Angel Yin, the early leader. Thompson skipped the Ricoh Women’s British Open two weeks ago to take a “mental break” and address emotional struggles that built up through last year’s highs and lows.”
  • Lizette Salas fired a course-record 62 to lead.
6. Renee Powell Hall
Max Adler with a superb piece of perspective.
  • He begins…”Somebody named a building after somebody. Local news, right? Not if it’s in St. Andrews. The cobblestones of those ancient Scottish streets echo the footsteps of every golfer who ever mattered, and have been worn by multitudes who mattered less but loved the game as much. When stone goes up or down in the Auld Gray Toon, eternity shakes.”
  • “The opening ceremony for Renee Powell Hall, which will have beds for the dreamy, restless, weary, intoxicated, idealistic and ambitious heads of 205 University of St. Andrews students, is set for Sept. 19. It’s over by the athletic fields, or a brisk 15-minute walk from the 17th green of the Old Course.”
  • “What legacy will become of a building named for an African-American female golfer? The toniest dorm at the university is the gothic St. Salvators, named for the savior, Jesus Christ. The fact Prince William and Kate Middleton resided there as students is merely one footnote in “Sallies” history. And the turreted red sandstone dorm you’ve seen in a million photographs and paintings, next to the gray Royal & Ancient clubhouse behind the 18th green, is Hamilton. Named for a Duke, it recently was purchased away from the university and has returned to its roots as luxury accommodation.”
7. Mark King comes to Honma
Also from the Digest folk…”Mark King, the former president and CEO of TaylorMade who transformed the golf industry’s innovation cycle and restored the company to a dominant leadership position throughout his three decades with the brand, is getting back in the golf business.”
  • “King told Golf Digest that he is serving as a consultant to Honma Golf’s chairman Liu Jianguo and will be guiding the company’s strategy as it looks to expand its presence in North America….”Honestly, I had no intention of doing anything like this,” said King, who announced he was stepping down as president of Adidas North America in April. “But when I met Chairman Liu I was so impressed with his thinking and his dreams for the company.”
8. Talking T-Squared
Our Ron Montesano talked with a high schooler whose hobby isn’t Fortnite, but rather running a putter company.
  • “I’ve coached high school golf for over 15 years, and I thought that I had run out of “firsts.” Then, Anthony Tuber, one of our varsity six, told me that he builds putters. “Sure,” I thought. You purchase the components and assemble putters. Nice hobby to have. “No, coach, I build them from scrath. We have milling machines.” If that doesn’t catch your attention, not much will.”
  • “As a coach, you encourage your golfers from a base of experience, but I don’t have any club-making experience! The last time I played around with metal was in middle-school metal shop. In this particular case, the student is the coach, and the golfer is the teacher. I’m now the proud owner of a T Squared putter, and continue to be the proud coach of Anthony Tuber. He might be the next Bob Vokey, or Scotty Cameron, but for now, he is a varsity golfer and high school student. Oh, and he happens to make putters. Rather than write a review that might be perceived as biased, I decided to do a straightforward interview with T Squared Putters. If you want to learn more, visit the company website, or follow them on Twitter and on Instagram.”
  • “Question 1: What type of research and field testing did you do, prior to building your first putter?…Prior to making our first putter we bought a bunch of putters to see what we liked and disliked about them. Then we took those putters and tested them to figure out which roll we liked the best. The roll is determined by the weight of the putter the length and the groove pattern. After we completed the testing we drew up a design and shortly after that we had our first prototypes. We then tested those prototypes and they rolled exactly how we wanted. Time went by while we used these first putters but then we really wanted to see the competition. We went to the PGA Merchandise Show and that’s where we found out that we had a superior putter.”
9. What are you doing on your lunch break?
Redditor k_boloney writes: “Me and a coworker have spent 2 lunch breaks(2 hours) walking through the woods next to a nearby golf course. These are the results of our time well spent: 52 pro v1/pro v1x, 82 course worthy balls, and 20 yard balls.”
The evidence below.
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Tour News

Brandt Snedeker shoots 59 after bogeying his first hole at the 2018 Wyndham Championship



Brandt Snedker started his first round of the 2018 Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on the 10th hole with a drive way left off the tee, leading to a bogey. He didn’t make his first birdie until his fourth hole, actually, but from there, the flood gates were open. Snedeker birdied four holes in a row — hole nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16 — to go out in 32 (3 under).

He then SCORCHED his back nine, shooting an 8-under 27 including 6 birdies and an eagle. Certainly knowing it was for 59, Snedeker rolled in a 20-footer on his 18th hole (the course’s 9th hole). Watch the putt below.

It was by far the longest birdie putt he made on the back nine, probably because he was sticking everything to within 5 feet.

Notice the “0 feet” putt above? Yea, because he didn’t have to putt after dunking his second shot.

Where does Snedeker’s 59 stand in terms of the history books? He’s the 9th player ever to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, and the FIRST to do so starting the round with a bogey.

Remember, even if you start with a bogey you can shoot your best round ever. Maybe not a 59 like Snedeker on Thursday of the Wyndham Championship, but don’t let that first-hole bogey get you down; there’s 17 more opportunities to make birdie — and Snedeker nearly did just that.

If you’re curious to hear what Snedker has to say about his 59, check out the Tweet embed below, or click here.

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19th Hole