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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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Tour Rundown: Pepperell wins the British masters, Leishman wins in Malaysia, Langer wins again



October, and the trees are stripped bare, of all they wear. U2

Perhaps it’s due to its status as my birth month, or something larger and deeper. October is a raw month, as April was cruel for Eliot. It is raw in its golf, too. Of the four events played this week, only one took place in the USA. Touring professionals left the summer of majors behind, to journey globally, in search of answers and questions. They went to Malaysia, England and Korea (and let’s not forget, North Carolina.) Names both familiar and emerging claimed trophies, and the game marched on. Here’s a Sunday rundown of all things tour, mid-October.

CIMB in Malaysia in Leishman’s hands

Marc Leishman’s brilliance with golf cudgels is know well to his touring brethren. To the golfing public, which measures fame in little more than major victories, he is an enigma. And here was Leishman, on Sunday at Kuala Lumpur, schooling playing partner Gary Woodland and the rest of the field with a brilliant 65. There were lower scores, but just barely (a pair of 64s.) Leishman had 62 earlier in the week, but was a wee bit overlooked, as Woodland had 61 the same day. On Sunday, there was no mistaking the two. Leishman rushed from the gate with birdies on hole 2 through 5, scarcely glancing rearward at the trailers. He summited 26 strokes beneath par, equalling the tournament record and placing him five clear of the runners-up. Woodland tried to keep pace, but fell off the rails midway through the inward half. 3 bogeys in 5 holes did him in, dropping him back to a tie for 5th at -20. 2nd spot on the podium belonged to the american trio of Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Chesson Hadley and Bronson Burgoon (both USA). The victory compelled Leishman to 2nd spot on the young FedEx Cup list for 2018-19.

Hana Bank belongs to Dumbo

If In Gee Chun had her way, the golfer nicknamed Dumbo would scamper off by gobs of strokes with each tournament. Owner of an unfortunate 0-3 record in LPGA Tour playoffs, the Korean golfer wants no part of extra holes. While 3rd-round leader Charley Hull of England struggled with birdie-bogey runs, Chun birdied 4 of her first 6 holes and separated herself by 3 strokes from the field. Out in 31, she resisted the lure of a 10th-hole bogey and added 2 more birdies to reach 16-under par. Hull and company could not close the gap, and the Englishwoman settled for 2nd at -13. Chun began the week with matching 70s, to place herself inside the top 20, but not yet a threat. Her weekend was nearly flawless, as she matched 66s on Saturday and Sunday, to emerge from the multitude. The win was her first, non-major victory on the LPGA Tour, coming after triumphs at the 2015 US Open and the 2016 Evian Championship.

Ace, Ace, Baby propels Pepperell to British Masters title

It was a rugged, mucky affair on Sunday at Walton Heath, born of the talented hand of architect Herbert Fowler. Eddie Pepperell, who spends a fair amount of time mucking around on Twitter, was the man for the job. He began the day at -9, and ended the day at that figure. Most times, even par gets you nowhere on tour; on this particular Sunday, it got you to the top of the podium. Pepperell had four eagles on the week, including an ace on Thursday and the hole-out below for a deuce on Sunday. The winner made a massive putt for par on 14, which probably saved his round. He bogeyed 15 and 16 to let Alexander Bjork into the tournament. The Swede was unable to capitalize, bogeying 18 to offer Pepperell a 2-stroke advantage at the home hole. The Englishman finished in proper form, getting up and down for par from a greenside bunker to win by a pair.

By the way, if you want a crack at Fowler in North America, visit Eastward Ho! on Cape Cod (which he built) or Pebble Beach, whose 18th hole he extended to its current glory.

SAS Championship almost never in doubt for Bernhard Langer

Bernhard Langer made a single bogey in 54 holes this week. The inconceivable occurrence happened precisely at the midway point of the tournament, on the 27th hole of SAS Championship. Astronomers at the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico acknowledged a slight orbital shift at that very moment, while CERN scientists reported … oh, never mind. Langer had made 8 birdies in 9, back-nine holes on Friday for 29 on the par-37 side. It was ultimately his week, although Gene Sauers kept pace for a while. The duo matched 62-67 through 36 holes, but Sunday was all Germany. Langer had 7 birdies on the day for 65, leaving him 6 strokes clear of 2nd-place Scott Parel. Sauers struggled in round three, tumbling all the way to a tie for 5th spot, after a +3 75.

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How a broken 6-iron changed Eddie Pepperell’s 2018



When Eddie Pepperell was scrambling around local golf shop Auchterlonies in Scotland on the week of The Open Championship looking for an emergency replacement shaft for his 6-iron, he probably didn’t believe that moment would change the trajectory of his 2018. That incident, however, played a considerable role in Pepperell’s wire-to-wire victory at last week’s British Masters.

In Scotland, Pepperell had his 6-iron fitted with the KBS C-Taper shaft, and according to Mizuno’s Matt McIsaac, at The Open that week, he hit his 6-iron better than any other club over the four days on his way to a T6 finish.

Fast-forward to last week’s British Masters, and on the Monday of the event, the Englishman was to have a filming session with Mizuno where the company would demonstrate to him its shaft optimizer.  Pepperell was then taken through Mizuno’s 3-swing diagnostic process, where lo and behold they recommended the KBS C-Taper shaft to him.

Described as “very much a feel player” by McIsaac, Pepperell equipped himself that day with a new set of JPX 919 Tour irons, with KBS C Taper shafts, and then went on to win the British Masters just a few days later.

What should we glean from this story? Well according to Matt McIsaac, it’s that there is a best fit shaft out there for everyone.

“There’s a ‘best fit’ shaft for everyone – for Eddie; it was the KBS C Taper – for someone else it will be the S Taper.  Wait for the moment when you’re open to improvement, throw away your preconceptions and try the Optimizer.  It doesn’t know if you’re male, female a tour winner or a 24 hcp – just measures your move and finds the best shaft for it.”

With last week’s victory, Pepperell, who sat 133rd in the Official World Golf Rankings at the beginning of the year, is now ranked 33rd in the world and looks assured of a place at Augusta National next year for the Masters.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: UnLeished: Malaysia edition | New theories on BK vs. DJ | King-Collins’ time?



1. UnLeished in Malaysia
Somehow, Marc Leishman remains unheralded. Thrice a winner in the past two seasons, the big Australian, No. 16 in the world, is eminently deserving of his due
  • AP Report…”Leishman shot a 7-under 65 in the final round to win the CIMB Classic Sunday by five strokes and equal the tournament course record.”
  • “The Australian was in fine form as he strolled to his fourth PGA Tour title and matched Justin Thomas’ tournament record of 26-under 262 in 2015 on the PGA Kuala Lumpur West course.
  • “Leishman started strongly with four birdies in the first five holes, before turning in another long birdie putt on the ninth for 31.”
  • ‘Two more birdies on the 10th and 16th followed and sandwiched his lone bogey at the 13th, before he birdied the final hole and celebrated with a fist pump.”
2. Pepperell resurgent
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait with the context…”Hard to believe Eddie Pepperell had to return to the European Tour Qualifying School at the end of 2016, and was outside the top 500 in the world in May last year. Now he’s a two-time European Tour winner and a world top 40 player.”
  • “The 27-year-old is looking forward to his Masters debut after victory in the $4 million Sky Sport British Masters at Walton Heath, his second European Tour victory, and second of the season following the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in February. Pepperell led wire to wire, returning a level-par 72 in the final round for a 9-under 279 to grind out a one-shot victory over Sweden’s Alexander Bjork.”
  • “The first-place check of $658,000 takes Pepperell to seventh on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, and into the top 40 of the Official World Golf Ranking.”
3. Chun’s 14th
In the midst of its Asian Swing like the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour saw In Gee Chun hoist the trophy at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at SKY72 Golf & Resort, Ocean Course for her first victory of the year and her first W since the 2016 Evian Championship.
  • report...”The 24-year-old South Korean native carded seven birdies, along with a lone bogey, to finish three strokes clear of 54-hole leaders Charley Hull, who placed second, and Danielle Kang, who was four shots adrift.”
  • “Before this week, I won 13 times as a professional,” said Chun, who clinched the third LPGA win of her career. “I am glad that I am done with the No. 13. I really hate that number.
4. Reminder: Bernhard Langer is still the king of senior golf
In case you’d forgotten…
John Strege writes…”It was only an illusion, the appearance that Bernhard Langer, at 61, had begun his initial descent to age-induced mediocrity. His six-shot victory in the SAS Championship on Sunday put that notion to rest.”
  •  “It was his second victory of the season (he has finished second five times), second in the SAS Championship (he won in 2012) and his 38th on the PGA Tour Champions, second only to Hale Irwin’s 45.”
  • “Langer shot a seven-under par 65 at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C., equaling the lowest round of the day. He played 54 holes in a tournament record 22-under par 194. Scott Parel finished second by also shooting a 65, while Langer’s 36-hole co-leader Gene Sauers shot a three-over 75 and tied for fifth.”
5. Golf’s most improved
David Dusek calculated the calculations, analyzed the algorithms, and dissected the digits to determine the Tour’s most improved players.
  • Harris English, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Nicholas Lindhelm, and Patton Kizzire top the list in imroved SG:T2G play.
6. More about DJ vs. BK
The Forecaddie digs into one of the lingering mysteries from Le Golf National…
  • “The Forecaddie has asked around and thanks to two eyewitnesses, can confirm Koepka’s assertion that there are no issues between his gym buddy and good friend Johnson. Turns out, Koepka may be up for Nobel Peace Prize consideration down the road since TMOF hears he was preventing his pal getting into a more serious brouhaha with someone at the party.”
  • “While Koepka might have been the subject of DJ ire for a few seconds after intervening, the light tussling between them understandably led to multiple eyewitnesses confirming the Telegraph report of a fight between them to Golf Digest. But The Forecaddie’s ears, and even Furyk in a Golf Channel interview last week, confirmed Koepka was acting as a friend in getting Johnson to cool off. Koepka, the U.S. Open and PGA Champion and probably the only person capable of corralling Johnson, ushered him off to a cab for a late-night fresh air spin around Versailles and away from the Ryder Cup team hotel bedlam.”
A new mystery is born! Who was DJ so mad at? TMOF has heard whispers but isn’t saying…
7. A breakthrough for King-Collins?
I interviewed Rob Collins in 2015 and have been a fan of the man and his work ever since
At the time of the interview, Sweetens Cove’s architect thought business was about to pick up for the firm.
Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann suggests there could soon be fire where there has been much smoke…”Even in the current environment, in which few new courses are being built and architects are more focused on renovations and restorations, one would have thought King and Collins already would have parlayed Sweetens Cove into additional assignments. Collins insists he and King are close to a breakthrough.”
“We have got a bunch of irons in the fire,” Collins said recently while driving to Mississippi to watch his nephew’s high school football game. “We’ve got more inquiries right now than we’ve ever had.”
“The design team – Collins is the architect, while King oversees construction – is working with PGA Tour player Zac Blair on plans for The Buck Club, Blair’s dream club in Utah, though a timeframe for that project has not been announced. Collins is hopeful that he and King will start a nine-hole renovation project in New York soon, and he said the pair has had nibbles on proposed jobs in South Carolina and Michigan. Collins also mentioned tentative talks regarding a 100-acre site near Knoxville, where he dreams of building something like El Boquerón, the mythical Alister MacKenzie design with two greens per hole.”
8. Tree tattle tale
Scanning the latest arboreal happenings in Maryland, and, oh boy…
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes…”According to the Washington Post, Congressional, past home to U.S. Opens and future site of the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup, has been cited by inspectors in Maryland’s Montgomery County for failing to obtain a permit for tree removal. The Post reports that officials discovered “over 20,000 sq. ft. of tree canopy” had been trimmed from the property.”
  • “Inspectors technically received notice from Helen Wood, a board member of the environmental nonprofit organization Conservation Montgomery. “We all have a stake, really, in their trees,” Wood told the Post.
  • “However, Wood was tipped off on the club’s dealings by someone on the inside. Specifically, a Congressional member who was fed up with the new look…”I am [upset] because they’re ruining my club,” the member told the Post, speaking on anonymity because, let’s be honest, this person is losing his/her membership once their identity’s revealed. “I think they don’t want members to fuss. I think it [was] also quietly done so it didn’t draw attention from the county.”
9. All credit to mum
Sounds like Eddie Pepperell’s mother played a vital role in his British Masters win. Cheers, Mrs. Pepperell. .
  • Phil Casey of the Belfast Telegraph writes…”Pepperell’s three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke when he three-putted the ninth – where he enjoyed a hole-in-one on Thursday – and Bjork covered the front nine in 34.”
  • “However, Pepperell then promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and, although bogeys on the 15th and 16th set up a nervous finish, the 27-year-old from Oxfordshire saved par from a bunker on the last to seal a deserved win.”
  • “The credit for the eagle goes to my mum Marian because she gave me some mittens as I was walking off the 10th tee,” Pepperell joked. “I didn’t swing it well and it was a grind.”


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19th Hole