Clarifications reaffirm the position that a player’s ability to read the greens is an essential skill that should be retained; still allows for traditional yardage books, handwritten player and caddie notes
(LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. AND ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND) - The USGA and The R&A are proposing regulations regarding the use of green-reading materials, reaffirming the need for a player to read greens based on their own judgment, skill and ability.
“Both the USGA and The R&A are committed to the position that a player’s ability to read their line of play on the putting green is an essential skill that should be retained,” said Thomas Pagel, Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status for the USGA. “The focus of the interpretation is to develop an approach that is both effective and enforceable.”
The key elements of the proposed interpretation are as follows:
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.
Interested parties are encouraged to contact the USGA at email@example.com or The R&A with questions, feedback or suggestions for improvement prior to Sept. 14, 2018.
The governing bodies will issue the regulation by no later than Oct. 15, 2018 for its planned Jan. 1, 2019 adoption.