Carolinas Golf Magazine

FALL 2018

golf, CGA, carolinas, junior, equipment, sport, PGA, LPGA, association, magazine

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H ave you ever wondered what the pros are writing in those little paper pamphlets that they carry in their back pockets? If only you could get your hands on those course notes, you'd be ready to take on the world's toughest golf courses. Well, it may not be that big of a differ- ence maker, but it's enough for the USGA and R&A to put forth a dramatic proposal that if passed, will have a major impact on the way the game is played on the compet- itive stage. On July 31, 2018, in an effort to restore "the need for a player to read greens based on their own judgment, skill and ability," the USGA and R&A announced that they will limit the use of green-reading materi- als during competitive play. "We have looked carefully at the use of these green-reading materials and the extremely detailed information they pro- vide," says David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A. "Our view is that they tip the balance too far away from the essential skill and judgment required to read subtle slopes on the greens. It is important to be clear, however, that we still regard the use of yardage books and handwritten notes to be an entirely appropriate part of the game." What does the ruling mean for the aver- age amateur golfer? For most of us, the new rule will not have a huge impact on our golf rounds. For highly competitive golfers, the ruling should help emphasize the importance of green reading skills without the help of modern technology. There may also be the added benefit of speeding up the pace of play. "We still provide and allow use the of hole location sheets. To start prohibiting complete use of other printed materials would be difficult to enforce. The limited use of them will help speed up play on greens and stop the over analysis of a putt from any distance," says Rusty Harder, Director of Rules and Competition at the Carolinas Golf Association. Green reading books are not very com- mon place among amateur golfers. Not only are the books relatively expensive but they aren't available for a vast majority of golf courses. Most golfers aren't going to spend $100 on a green reading guide that they might only use a few times. For professionals, where the slightest edge can mean thou- sands of dollars, the books are a must-have resource. While many professional golfers and of course the manufacturers of the green read- ing materials may be upset with the ruling, the overall consensus from the golf commu- nity is positive. "I never cared for the new computer- ized green-reading books which indicate all the slope angles and degrees," says Jack Nance, Executive Director at the Carolinas Golf Association. "That took it a step too far and I applaud the change." Currently the guides produced by green reading material manufacturers are still technically legal, but that will change beginning next year. Regulations will be finalized in a published "interpretation" of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) and adopted Jan. 1, 2019, when golf's new rules take effect. ■ We want to hear from you! What is your opinion on the use of detailed green-reading materials during competitive play? Reach out to use on social media at @CGAgolf1909 using the hashtag, "#ReadingGreens" to give us your thoughts on the rule proposal. 34 | | FA L L 2 0 1 8 RULES OF GOLF New Rule Aims to Restore the Art of Green Reading USGA and R&A crack down on green reading technology BY JACKSON SVEEN According to the USGA's Press Release, these are the key elements of the proposed interpretations: ● 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 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.

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