Restrictions On Green Reading Books Announced

Green reading books will be much less detailed from 1st January 2019

Green Reading Books
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Green reading books will be much less detailed from 1st January 2019

Restrictions On Green Reading Books Announced

Golf's two main governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, are clamping down on green reading books.

After a six-week period of consultation, having announced initial proposals for green reading material changes, the R&A and USGA are happy with their view that "the ability of golfers to read greens using their own judgement is an essential skill that should be maintained."

Green reading books have been criticised by many for taking the skill out of the game as well as adding on unnecessary time.

It appears that that golf's governing bodies won't be completely outlawing them but will instead attempt to make them less detailed and smaller in both size and scale.

The result from the six-week consultation period is a finalised "interpretation" of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) that will come into play on 1st January 2019 along with all of the other new golf rules.

Related: New Golf Rules 2019 - All you need to know

There are four key limitations that are being introduced for 1st Jan 2019. They are...

  • The scale of the books will now be no larger than 1:480, which converts to 3/8 inch to 5 yards
  • The green reading book with an image of map of the putting green must not be any larger than 4 ¼ inches by 7 inches. A pin sheet may be larger but each individual green shown must stick to the scale limit.
  • No magnification of putting green information is allowed barring a player’s normal wearing of prescription glasses or lenses
  • Hand-written information about a putting green is only allowed if contained in a book or on paper which meets the size limit and written by the player/caddie

This also applies to digital devices.

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A said, “We received some extremely useful feedback over the last six weeks which has helped us finalise the limits.

"It is important that we take steps to ensure that skill and judgement are the main determinants of success in reading the greens.

"The new interpretation is a first step in the process and we will keep green-reading materials under review in 2019 to assess whether any further action is required.”

“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA Senior Managing Director of Governance.

“We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game.”

Poulter uses a greens book but believes they should be banned. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)

Ian Poulter, who uses a greens book himself, will likely be happy with these changes from the R&A and USGA.

He tweeted this last year:

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, 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 covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x