Golf's Governing Bodies Hint At Banning Green Reading Books

Is the end near for green reading books in golf?

green reading books

The R&A and USGA have released a statement on green reading books, saying they believe 'a player's ability to read greens is an essential part of the skill of putting'

Golf's Governing Bodies Hint At Banning Green Reading Books

After an initail announcement regarding video replays in golf, the R&A and USGA have released a statement targeting green reading books.

The books, which a large majority of Tour pros now use, show the natural undulations of putting greens and are used to help players pick their lines. You will see a host of top players using them in tournament play including Jordan Spieth.

However, they have been said to take away the 'art' of green reading and are, without doubt, a contributing factor to slow play on Tour.

Related: Video reviews in golf limited with immediate effect

The statement from the R&A and USGA, golf's two worldwide governing bodies, called the ability to read greens an 'essential part of the skill of putting'.

It also says how they are 'concerned' about the books and will address the matter further in the coming months. Without question, there will be a meeting discuss the matter at the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Here is the statement in full:

'The R&A and the USGA believe that a player's ability to read greens is an essential part of the skill of putting.

green reading books

Rory McIlroy checks his green reading book. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Rule 14-3 limits the use of equipment and devices that might assist a player in their play, based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the judgement, skills and abilities of the player.

We are concerned about the rapid development of increasingly detailed materials that players are using to help with reading greens during a round.

Related: Proposed changes to the Rules of Golf from 2019

We are reviewing the use of these materials to assess whether any actions need to be taken to protect this important part of the game. We expect to address this matter further in the coming months.'

After the R&A and USGA announced their proposed changes to the Rules of Golf in 2019, Ian Poulter took to Twitter to have his say on the green reading books, saying how nobody on Tour got their card because of the books and how the art of putting had been lost.

Speaking to Golf Monthly on green reading books, Bernd Wiesberger said: "It's mainly to double-check a read. Then it's much easier to commit over the putt.

"In circumstances where I'm struggling to read the line, or my caddie sees something different to what I do, we'll take a step back, take a look at the book and let the science take over."

Related: Rules of Golf changes for 2019...Are the proposals good for the game?

Director of Pro Green Book Ltd, Paul Homersham, told Golf Monthly: They've still got to hit the putt, they've still got to use their own sense of feel and judgement to play the game.

"We're taking some of that uncertainty out of their minds. We'd like to think it's more fun, if anything."

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. 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: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV