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Green Reading Books to Be Banned?

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Jim Stracka makes green-reading books. Here’s his case against a ban | Golf News and Tour Information | GolfDigest.com


“People don’t read greens—they hit putts based on memory. We all know how much easier it is to hit a putt when your competitor just hit one on the same line. Green-reading is more memory. They move so much earth around today that you can’t rely on the visuals. Your mind will play tricks on you. If you’re good enough and use Aimpoint [the green-reading technique] to read them with your feet, great. But when they say it’s a necessary skill, I say that’s baloney. Green-reading is more memory. We all know how well we read greens when we play a course on a regular basis. You remember a point, and that’s what you rely on.”

This is probably true to some extent. We do pattern recognition, and golf course designers mess with that. I played a course in Orlando, FL where half the greens looked flat. They were not very elevated, and the bunkers were not pushed up near the green. So the breaks were subtle. I just learned Aimpoint then, and putted the best out of our group. The greens confused the crap out of my friends who used their eyes to read greens. 

About it causing play to slow down, the article above sad it sped up college players by 15 minutes. So, if true, then yay for that. 

I can understand the argument that it takes skill out of green reading. Honestly, I don't think it's that big of a deal. They still have to aim their putt, and hit the speed. There is still skill in putting. I think most PGA Tour players are halfway decent at green reading anyways. I wonder how many strokes gained there is in green reading from the worst to the best on the PGA Tour? 

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So with this coming from the players, I'm guessing this isnt pace of play related, as I dont see them caring about that. Or is it?

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I don’t think anything they do will make a meaningful impact on pace of play except keeping players on the clock and enforcing it. Without books they may just spend more time reading the green since they don’t have anything to help them. I just don’t see where players would get the incentive to play faster if they think spending their allot time will help them score better. Many players play fast and enjoy keeping a good pace, but with 125 players out there, there will always be many that take their time.

The Masters has banned books, so some players already has some experience with it. Do they play faster there? The greens at Augusta are difficult and it’s a special tournament, so maybe they spend their time even without books. Perhaps not the best tournament to compare with.

I came across this article:



I'd like to get rid of them,” said McIlroy, who also noted that he uses the green-reading books. “I think everyone is in the same boat, most guys on Tour are in the same boat, that if it's going to be available to us and it helps us, people are going to use it, but I think for the greater good of the game, I'd like to see them be outlawed.”

“Honestly, I think it's made everyone lazier. People don't put in the time to prepare the way they used to,” he said. “That's why you see so many more players at Augusta, for example, take their time around the greens, hit so many more putts, it's because they have to. It's because there is no greens book at Augusta.”

In an effort to speed up play, the Tour has taken a closer look at ways that players can trim time off of rounds. Both officials and players consider green-reading books an obvious option.

There seems to be a combination of reasons behind the idea, rather than one. I’d maybe think the for-the-greater-good thoughts like Rory’s are more common than pace of play, but also a combination.

I like the thoughts about the greater good of the game, and wouldn’t object to the books being outlawed. It puts more focus on reading greens and trusting what you see rather than consult a book. As Erik said, if they don’t putt better today than before the books, is there a reason to keep them?

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If the majority of players want to see them banned, then I support their collective decision for the good of the game. I do hope they justify this with an official position.  




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4 hours ago, Zeph said:

As Erik said, if they don’t putt better today than before the books, is there a reason to keep them?

That is a good point. 

I don't think its a pace of play issue. 

To me, its about what golf should be about. 

I wouldn't mind green reading material less information. No numbers. Nothing specific toward pin locations. Like, you can't have book that shows the pin and the putting lines. Just a general green, with contours arrows is fine with me. They still have to determine the amount of break they want to play. If it lets them know which way it breaks, fine. 


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On 6/17/2021 at 10:27 AM, iacas said:

They are all saying it's about the skill, not the time.

If it was about skill, and if the green reading books made bad putters better than they otherwise would perform, we'd see the worst putters on tour being closer to the best putters because there is less of a skill gap between the two.

Instead we see that the gap between the best and the worst at putting has only grown larger since the widespread introduction of green reading books. This means they have not had any measurable impact on a player's ability to putt well, because it isn't allowing the worst putters on tour to keep up with the best like you would see if some part of the game took less skill suddenly.

I ignored the skill issue because claiming it's a matter of skill is patently ridiculous, and provably false. They can say whatever they like, doesn't mean a word of it is true.

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1 hour ago, Pretzel said:

I ignored the skill issue because claiming it's a matter of skill is patently ridiculous, and provably false.

I’m not disagreeing in general, but that’s not true because the samples are different and SG:P is relative.

And my point was that it’s what they are saying, not that it’s the actual reason.

But I do think that many believe it.

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