Green Reading Judgement eliminated?
Hitting the golf ball a long way has become the popular trend in the game, but we all know that winning championships requires precision putting. The question is, why is putting becoming so much easier.
After all, three-putts have become increasingly rare, while the one-putt percentage has steadily increased. The reason for this phenomenon is the use of green-reading books. The art of reading greens, feel, and proper judgment has been practically eliminated. It seems that players can use a green-reading book to look at the proper parameters and sink more putts.
Green Reading Changes coming Jan 2022
It is all about to change at the start of 2022, at least on the PGA Tour. What exactly is about to happen? The rule will be a Local Rule, and the reasoning behind it is that they supposedly take away a necessary skill to be a great putter and have nothing to do with the pace of play.
There has been improvement, albeit relatively slight, in the percentage of three-putt greens and percentage of one-putt greens in the 14 years since green-books were allowed compared to the 11 years prior.
Should the PGA take into consideration other factors?
To me, I think this one needs more of a study. I believe you must take in all the factors such as better coaching, better-manicured greens, and more knowledge available about all the nuances of the course.
It also has to be considered that the distance off the tee has been slowly increasing, leading to shorter approach shots to the hole, meaning usually fewer putts.
Are you a “feel” player?
Back in the days of the famous golfer Jack Nicklaus, golfers judged every shot by sight and knew how far it was from different locations on a course. This golf style is from experience and something known as “feel.”
Don’t be at a disadvantage
As time went by and was more accepted, books came out with all kinds of information noting exact distances to various landmarks and positions on the green.
Fast forward to today, and the books produced are so accurate with information produced by advanced technology, it’s hard for the players to not have the exact distance on the course. The players are now at a huge disadvantage if they are not utilizing the green-reading books on tour.
Enforcing the Green Reading Books
What about the rule itself, and how will it be enforced. What won’t change is that tour players and their caddies will be given a Tour-approved yardage book at every location prior to the start of the tournament.
What drastically changes is the amount of information given on the green. The shape and depth of the green, along with some lines and arrows, will show slopes in excess of 4.5 percent. That is all.
Players must take their own notes from practice rounds or watch other players on the green. Anything noted that you wish to record has to be written in an approved book. No technology is allowed on the greens, making green-reading the old-fashioned way, by the eyes of the players and caddies.
You cannot transfer information from green-reading books.
You must note that green-reading books will still be in production to use during practice rounds. Players or caddies cannot transfer information from these books to their yardage book, which is used during a tournament.
This is where the honor system comes into play, and some players or caddies will probably have questionable notes in their yardage books. These books can be brought to the attention of rules officials by competitors. It won’t do any good because all the accused player must do is say they got the information legally, and the case is dismissed.
Should caddies be able to assist in green reading?
Another question is about caddies and their assistance in reading greens. After all, if players really want green reading to be a skill, they should not be allowed help from anyone.
In fact, some caddies are so skilled in the art of reading greens that players give just a customary glance before getting word from their caddie. In essence, the player can rely on his caddie or anything written down in his notes. What skill is that?
Should other things change?
What about the way they determine the final golf pairings? Why not ban drivers with extra forgiveness or scale back balls if the PGA can eliminate rule books? Hey, how about going back to persimmon woods?
Let’s assume that everyone feels comfortable eliminating green-reading books (which we know isn’t the case, but play along). How about announcing the ban and giving players a bit of time to adjust to the new rule?
Are certain players at a disadvantage?
One player who this ban affects tremendously is Bryson DeChambeau. Say what you will about him and his unorthodox way of thinking, but he’s put in a tremendous amount of time preparing using a launch angle monitor to determine spin rates.
He’s essentially measured the slope of the green based on that distance from the green, the club used, landing area, and amount of spin. There would be a way to approximate that information, but basically, he is being told to get rid of a system that he’s worked so hard to develop in just a short period of time. Something just seems wrong about that.
An app for green reading that you can use?
One thing to note is that the USGA announced late in the summer that green books with arrows and colored codes were being produced for thousands of courses worldwide.
An app will feature green-reading material similar to those used by professionals on the PGA Tour. This is great for all players, except for those actually on the PGA Tour.
Long Bombs Golf Final Say:
Make it very clear that making more putts is better than seeing an increased number of three-putt greens. Golf is a spectator sport, and nothing gets the roar of a crowd like a long birdie or eagle putt being drained from across the green.
The noise resonates across the golf course where the players know something big just went down. How can making more putts be a bad thing? There is no statistical evidence as of yet that supports the hypothesis that greens books make putting simpler for PGA Tour professionals.
Even if a player does know the line through the book, he still has to make the proper stroke for the line and distance. It’s not as if a robot comes out from your green reading book and makes the putt for you.
At least we all know that someone gets hot at Augusta National in April or on the links of St. Andrews in the British Open and flirts with a historically low score, that green books have nothing to do with it. Maybe after plenty of low-scoring rounds, people will realize that it’s ultimately the player’s skill that puts the ball in the hole and not a caddie reading the green for them or a bunch of rays in a book.