Golf's Governing Bodies Crack Down On Green Reading Books

A new model local rule has been revealed in the hope of stopping players and caddies using books to read greens

Bryson DeChambeau looks at a green reading book
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Golf’s governing bodies have revealed a new Model Local Rule to further limit the use of green reading books in the hope that players and caddies only use their eye and feel to read putts. Model Local Rule G-11 enables tournament organisers to limit players to using only the yardage book that it has approved for use in the competition.

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

The new local rule gives tournament organisers the ability to establish an officially approved yardage book for a competition so that the diagrams of putting greens show only minimal detail, including significant slopes, tiers or false edges that indicate sections of greens. Handwritten notes by players and caddies to the approved yardage book are also being limited.

Players and caddies will now only be allowed to add handwritten notes and information that has been obtained by their knowledge and experience from watching balls roll on the green or from seeing television coverage. Handwritten or printed information not relating to green reading, for example swing thoughts or carry distances, are allowed.

If players and caddie have anything other than the official yardage book to read greens or have broken the handwritten rules guidelines they will be in breach of the new Local Rule and the penalty statement under Rule 4.3 applies, which is the General Penalty - two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

View full guidance on the new Model Local Rule G-11.

Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered three Open Championships on-site including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x