PGA Tour takes action on green-reading books

Bryson De Chambeau

It looks as though 2022 is going to be the year of the rule change.

Following recent news of a comprehensive review of the laws governing amateur status as well as a new limit on the maximum length of clubs (not including putters), the PGA Tour has announced new restrictions on the use of so-called green-reading materials.

These changes were ratified during a Players Advisory Council meeting at the Shriners Children’s Open.

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From January 1, 2022, a new Local Rule will be implemented on the world’s most lucrative circuit that will restrict players and caddies to using a “Committee Approved” yardage book in competition rounds. That book will be “very similar” to a traditional yardage book and, with respect to greens details, will have only general information on slopes and other features.

All printed books for PGA Tour tournaments from 2021 and earlier will not be allowed going forward.

Handwritten notes that might assist with reading the line of play on the putting green will continue to be allowed in the approved book. However, such notes will be restricted to only those made by the player or caddie and must be derived from experiences or observations of a ball rolling on a green. Transferring previous handwritten notes that also meet the new restrictions into the approved book is allowed. 

No devices, levels or other technology may be used to gather information to be kept as notes and no information may be copied from another source into the approved book.  

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A memo circulated around PGA Tour players and caddies said: “The purpose of this Local Rule is to return to a position where players and caddies use on their skill, judgment and feel along with any information gained through experience, preprartion and practice to read the line of play on the putting green.” 

In addition, to this new Local Rule, a Tournament Regulation will also be amended to extend the prohibition on using any device to test the conditions of the putting greens to include all practice greens and during all official practice rounds and pro-ams

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