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USGA, R&A Limit Green Reading Materials

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17 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

I (occasionally) use Aimpoint (not express) and the above is not quite accurate.  It's very similar to AE, step-wise.  This would be more accurate:

:beer:

Please note that I specifically said that I've NOT noticed any slow play issues when playing with Aimpoint users.  @Golfingdad, @tristanhilton85, and @mvmac all use Aimpoint at times, and are all reasonably quick players.  However, if it happens to slow down some individuals, proper enforcement of pace-of-play rules should take care of any potential issues, just as it should with those using detailed green mapping to supplement what they see and feel.

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2 hours ago, krupa said:

This seems to be bordering on the contradictory.  On the one hand, they're testing distance measuring devices at a few events, while on the other hand, they're looking into banning details about greens.  

Why is green reading is an essential part of putting but figuring out yardage isn't an essential part of everything-that-isn't-putting?

I've often thought how it would be fun to ban yardage books and remove/hide yardage markers on courses for PGA tournaments.  Like, the only yardage info you get is the sign at the tee giving total distance.  Maybe you're allowed the kind of zero details graphic map you get on many scorecards.

Now they know that a shot is 147.5 yards with 8' negative elevation change to the green, calculating that means you should hit your 144.25 yard shot with your PW, then trying to hit that.  Instead they'd just be standing over the ball knowing they're in the ~150 range, a bit downhill. It would be super interesting to see how players did with that!  Old school!

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23 minutes ago, JGus said:

This is there job, if the yardage/green books help them do their job better, why is it wrong. I'm sure most folks who have a job have some type of process or SOP documents they have made personal notes on to help them do their job better.

If the books make their job better, but access to the books favors a certain type of player (those with enough money or sponsors to purchase said books), then there could be an issue.  If they are available to all as part of entry, then I wholeheartedly agree.

There also comes a point where too much assistance takes away from the game (Like the Czervik's periscope putter).  I don't think these books reach that point, but I can see why others may feel differently.

2 minutes ago, mdl said:

I've often thought how it would be fun to ban yardage books and remove/hide yardage markers on courses for PGA tournaments.  

Isn't there a place that does that?  No markers, no rangefinders allowed, even the flags are replaced with wicker baskets so the golfer cannot judge wind?

7 minutes ago, iacas said:

 

I could see them banning pre-made greens charts done by machines, but what's to stop someone from basically just tracing it and making it "hand-made"?

Because I don't think they can ban people from measuring the slopes of the greens themselves.

 

My understanding of the rule is that written material wouldn't be allowed on the course (machine- or hand-made).  Or are you suggesting that even referencing these books prior to play would be disallowed?  THAT Would certainly be difficult to enforce.

 

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37 minutes ago, iacas said:

It's not slower. I could get an accurate read in 10-15 seconds, tops. I'd often do this while people were walking onto the green and fixing ball marks, etc.

Well, you ARE an instructor.  I'd bet even money that you can do AimPoint faster than half the pros.

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1 hour ago, MRR said:

From my limited understanding.... Aimpoint might be slower (as that system seems to involve looking through many charts and doing calculations that can take time if you are not used to it) but Aimpoint Express is quite fast, since the golfer just measures slope at the midpoint and does some other brief greens reading.

 

16 minutes ago, MRR said:

Well, you ARE an instructor.  I'd bet even money that you can do AimPoint faster than half the pros.

I've used both the mid-point read with charts and Express. They are both very fast. Way faster than plumb-bobbing and walking around behind the hole, etc. I've played 18 with folks who never even saw me read the chart. I make my read, mark my ball and read the chart while waiting for them to putt. 10 -15 seconds to read the putt. 15 seconds to look at the book while they are reading and putting. Easy and fast.

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I find it strange that the USGA and R&A made this announcement to give people warning that they are reviewing the topic and might make another announcement that actually affects the rules in a few months. 

At the PGA level, Pros and their caddies will probably still create and reference these books in preparing for a tournament.  They'll probably just have to do a little more memorizing and preparing before the event and between rounds if they can't carry the books along with them on the course. 

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9 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Way faster than plumb-bobbing and walking around behind the hole, etc.

This is where the difference between methods is easily demonstrated.  With either version of Aimpoint, you make a quick walk to the hole (I don't need to go all the way anymore, I can stop a few strides short and still get the distance close enough) then backtrack to the midpoint and get a read, and then while walking back to the ball, look at the chart.

It's most definitely faster than people who walk around behind the hole.  It's not going to be faster than people who don't walk anywhere, but they are likely not going to putt very well. ;)

But, again, as most others have pointed out, no particular method of green reading is inherently slow if you do it right; i.e. get any measurements that you can before it's your turn, while conversely, no method is going to be quick if you are simply a slow player.  (So says me, Captain Obvious :-P)

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Let's see if the players are really able to 'feel' a shot.

Blindfolded between shots, can't watch another play, and they get no help, no advice, and can't leave a circle more than 5 feet from their ball (pretty much only unblindfolded movement is to line up and address the shot)

All they get is their personal senses and powers of observation (they can see the leaves and tree tops move, etc).  Maybe they get to see the Yardage sign and cartoon of the hole at the tee box.

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1 hour ago, MRR said:

If the books make their job better, but access to the books favors a certain type of player (those with enough money or sponsors to purchase said books), then there could be an issue.  If they are available to all as part of entry, then I wholeheartedly agree.

There also comes a point where too much assistance takes away from the game (Like the Czervik's periscope putter).  I don't think these books reach that point, but I can see why others may feel differently.

I don't think access to these books is an issue, but understand what you are saying.

I'm not sure I agree about "too much assistance takes away from the game", in regards to data collection and preparation.  If I was on tour I would have a data scientist on my team just collecting different data so it could be analysed to prepare for the round.

And out of curiosity, is there a rule prohibiting what you are allowed to read, analyze, and/or make notes of to reference during the tournament?  Just asking as I am curious if there is any preparation we know of today that does take away from the game. 

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

We disallow slope and wind speed measurements. This is an attempt to do similar things.

I thought about this, but that's during a round, right? I can get the daily weather report in the morning to get forecasted wind speeds for the day (as I typed the word "forecasted", I did realize that's different than a measurement, but still hope the point holds some water :content:).

I may be in the minority, but I have no problem with these or any other books/maps/etc. Make them as detailed as you want. In fact, I started one of my own for my home course, and as @DeadMan said, if anything, it's sped up my pace.

To be honest, as far as the tour goes, I don't really care. If it's about pace of play, then I'm in the, "enforce the current rules," camp. If it's about the spirit of the game, then I'm inclined to believe that they (the books) fit right in...

1 hour ago, iacas said:

...but what's to stop someone from basically just tracing it and making it "hand-made"?

Because I don't think they can ban people from measuring the slopes of the greens themselves.

This was my hang-up on the whole thing.

I see the game of golf as great war between myself and the course...and at my handicap, the course has a distinct advantage. It started with an architect who strategically plotted the battlefield and saw me as the enemy. He birthed a course that is supported by an infantry of grounds crew, led by a great general who exists to guard the greens and protect the holes. I see yardage and greens books, etc., as standard recon material.:-P

The course's army prepares it for battle each day, adjusting the battlefield parameters as determined by the general. Once the battle begins, they step back and the course fends for herself from that point on. The only changes to the arena after the battle begins are those that are controlled by "Mother Nature".

From my (limited) knowledge of the rules and spirit of the game, I believe I'm entitled to information I've collected beforehand or can observe on my own and information that is freely available and/or known (i.e. given) to all, like pin positions before a tournament, or a local daily weather report. I've never had the notion that there was, or should be, any sort of taboo on using measuring tools, of any kind, and making notes before a round.

I thought I was allowed to make notes before and during a round, the distinction being I can't use a device during the round that would give me information that isn't observable without the use of said device. So, I can use a rangefinder because I can walk off distances from markers or sprinkler-heads and the general gives away his pin positions -- but it can't do on the spot elevation adjustments for me. Or, I can throw grass up in the air and watch the trees blow in the wind, but I can't look up the current weather report on my phone.

Obviously, I can't bust out a digital level to measure the slope percentage before my eagle putt, but I can walk around the green and check the slope at various points with my feet.

I say bravo to the first chap who thought of writing the measurements down and bringing them to the mission briefing. I need all the help I can get. :whistle:

Edited by roamin

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2 hours ago, MRR said:

My understanding of the rule is that written material wouldn't be allowed on the course (machine- or hand-made).  Or are you suggesting that even referencing these books prior to play would be disallowed?  THAT Would certainly be difficult to enforce.

There is no rule right now. The press release says they're thinking about changing this.

You can take an instructional book out on the course with you now and read it if you want. It's pre-written material, and it's allowed. So yeah, the press release talks about these pre-produced things.

1 hour ago, MRR said:

Well, you ARE an instructor.  I'd bet even money that you can do AimPoint faster than half the pros.

And my students can do it faster than golfers who get normal reads.

Me being an instructor has little to do with it.

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1 hour ago, Golfingdad said:

This is where the difference between methods is easily demonstrated.  With either version of Aimpoint, you make a quick walk to the hole (I don't need to go all the way anymore, I can stop a few strides short and still get the distance close enough) then backtrack to the midpoint and get a read, and then while walking back to the ball, look at the chart.

It's most definitely faster than people who walk around behind the hole.  It's not going to be faster than people who don't walk anywhere, but they are likely not going to putt very well. ;)

But, again, as most others have pointed out, no particular method of green reading is inherently slow if you do it right; i.e. get any measurements that you can before it's your turn, while conversely, no method is going to be quick if you are simply a slow player.  (So says me, Captain Obvious :-P)

Yeah.

I don't use Aimpoint, but the couple that I know that do, aren't all that experienced with it, but even so, don't seem to take any more time around the green than the rest of us.

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While I see a disparity between allowing range finders and publishing a note about possibly not allowing detail green plots. I think it is only a matter of time before you will see some sort of laser mapping of the greens.
Although the better the mapping the better the basic read will be, the player will still need to gauge the speed of the green, length of the grass, and if there is any impact of the wind.

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12 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

While I see a disparity between allowing range finders and publishing a note about possibly not allowing detail green plots. I think it is only a matter of time before you will see some sort of laser mapping of the greens.

We have laser mapped greens now. Have for a decade or so.

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On 5/1/2017 at 10:27 AM, iacas said:

It's not. Distance has long been considered a "common knowledge" type of thing. That's why it's not advice, why yardage markers can exist, why range finders are okay, why pin sheets can list yardages to the pin from the front or edge, etc.

They're different. Distance is just distance. Even the yardages on the scorecard have given you yardages… but they don't have detailed green maps on the scorecard.

 

Your distinction is lost on me......

Advice

"Advice" is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke.

Information on the Rules, distance or matters of public information, such as the position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green, is not advice.

 

So wouldn't the slope of the green be a matter of public information? Yeah we used some technology to determine that information just like we have been using surveying equipment to label sprinkler heads long before lasers were in vogue. 

So the act of writing it down is the break point? Or is it that someone else did it and we are using it? Naked eye standard? Standard pin sheet is OK but slope sheet not? 

None of those are very far removed from a simple labeled sprinkler head. Slippery slope.

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1 hour ago, ev780 said:

So wouldn't the slope of the green be a matter of public information?

No. And that's the entire point I'm making: distances are considered public information, slope is not.

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I'm firmly in the "These should be outlawed camp".  Any Tom, Dick, or Harry caddy can get sufficiently accurate yardages for their pro.  Allowing DMDs wouldn't change that fact.  Green reading, however, is an art/skill, and can vary wildly from one pro to the next.  Shouldn't the pro who excels at green reading have an advantage over the less skilled pro?  Isn't that what we want?  I HATE that these books nearly eliminate that element of the game.

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