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USGA, R&A Limit Green Reading Materials

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33 minutes ago, golfnz34me said:

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.

That's only really valid if the books provide much help.

Do you think they do? I'm not sure.

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It seems like the USGA / R&A can only eliminate the use of these books during the round.  If I was a touring pro playing the same 30 courses every year for millions of dollars, I'd still figure out a way to get a hold of the laser scan data for all these greens to use in my preparation for the tournament and in my practice rounds.  I'd also tell my caddy to memorize what he could.  If can't use them during the actual tournament, at least can memorize the general slope of the green to aid in reading of the green.

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21 hours ago, iacas said:

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

I know better than argue with the site owner but it sure seems that people only have an issue if someone else writes it down. If a caddy went out after play or during practice round and wrote notes then that would be ok?

Again I can't really see the difference between a green book, a yardage map, a pin sheet, or even labeled sprinkler heads. These things are constants and do not vary substantially day to day thus public information.

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At the Professional and USGA Championship level or World Tours, players are competing for very large $$ and honors.
They certainly seek any knowledge of unfamiliar courses and most will play practice rounds prior to events.
Having notes or yardage books has always been acceptable and within the rules.

So I ask "why now is any knowledge of information" in the game an issue when the info is available to all?

The game still boils down to the player executing every shot better the field of opponents.
 

 

Edited by Club Rat

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14 minutes ago, Club Rat said:

So I ask "why now is any knowledge of information" in the game an issue when the info is available to all?

I think the traditional yardage books use information that can be obtained using traditional means, stepping off distances, and visually evaluating terrain features.  I know they're now done using more sophisticated means, but you COULD do it the old-fashioned way.  These old-fashioned procedures would be allowed during the round.

The green books, based on what I see in the OP,  require the use of level surveying equipment with specific software to develop the topographic mapping, possibly combined with digital levels on the ground itself to record the specific slope (or they use the software to evaluate slope from the topo mapping at specific points).  These REQUIRE the use of devices which would never be allowable during a round of golf.  I see this requirement to use sophisticated equipment as the reason that green books are looked upon differently from a typical yardage book.

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7 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

that green books are looked upon differently from a typical yardage book.

A book is a book, if some have pictures while others have diagrams, they are still available to all regardless of the means to produce the information.

The USGA already has limitations to modern technology in equipment which controls a small aspect of the game.
Am I confusing the ban as allowing devices to indicate slope/grade while playing, or is it just a ban on a product "the green book" ?

I probably need to go back and read the article.  :-O

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1 minute ago, Club Rat said:

Am I confusing the ban as allowing devices to indicate slope/grade while playing, or is it just a ban on a product "the green book" ?

I probably need to go back and read the article.  :-O

At this stage, its not a ban on anything.  The statement just says that they're a little concerned about these green books, so they're going to study the matter.  I agree with you, I'm not sure how they're going to draw a line between a traditional yardage book and these (relatively newly developed) green books.  I intended my explanation above to address the difference between the two, and why the green books might be looked at differently.

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Just now, DaveP043 said:

 I intended my explanation above to address the difference between the two

Thanks, that clears my assumption. :-)

 

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13 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

At this stage, its not a ban on anything.  The statement just says that they're a little concerned about these green books, so they're going to study the matter.  I agree with you, I'm not sure how they're going to draw a line between a traditional yardage book and these (relatively newly developed) green books.  I intended my explanation above to address the difference between the two, and why the green books might be looked at differently.

It may come down to something as simple as what the information is and how it's obtained.  It's one thing to have a diagram of the green with some squiggly lines and arrows to show the general trends, something anyone can do just by spending a little time rolling balls.  It's quite another when the diagram shows the precise slope angles/percentages obtained with the laser based measuring techniques that surveyors use.

Distance measurement was always available by something as simple as pacing it off - anyone could do it.  Current EMD's simply make that process simpler, but they don't really tell you anything new - it's still something that anyone can do. 

Anyone can also make a green chart by walking the green and rolling a few balls.  That will give you some basic information which is really no different from what can be obtained simply by playing a few practice rounds.  It's when it moves into the realm of extreme technical assistance to provide precise detailed information which cannot be obtained through normal play or practice that the question comes into play. 

Just saying that the player still needs to hit the putt doesn't really address the underlying issue.  If he has this information which he could not have obtained through practice or play, and then scores better because he is better able to interpret the chart than the next guy rather than because he is the better putter, then you start to get into a foggy area of skill vs. technology.  

In my opinion, the game is far enough down that road already.

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I think it is going to be very hard for the USGA and R&A to legislate what goes into a yardage book.  I know we are discussing "green books" but it would be too easy to transcribe what is in those books into the yardage book.  At that point, what happens?  Does the rules officials have to inspect every document/yardage book before play?  Will they allow pictures of greens but not slope lines or intent to show slope?

Just don't see an easy solution.  If this is simply to speed up play then enforcing pace of play rules is a much better avenue...and I mean ACTUALLY enforcing them.

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21 minutes ago, NCGolfer said:

I think it is going to be very hard for the USGA and R&A to legislate what goes into a yardage book.  I know we are discussing "green books" but it would be too easy to transcribe what is in those books into the yardage book.  At that point, what happens?  Does the rules officials have to inspect every document/yardage book before play?  Will they allow pictures of greens but not slope lines or intent to show slope?

Just don't see an easy solution.  If this is simply to speed up play then enforcing pace of play rules is a much better avenue...and I mean ACTUALLY enforcing them.

Agree - Probably can't govern what goes in the book.  They could still make it illegal to utilize green slope information in the book to aid in making a putting stroke though.  It would be a bit of a tell if the player and / or caddy are looking at the book while their ball is sitting on the green. 

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7 hours ago, ev780 said:

I know better than argue with the site owner

Sorry, gonna cut you off there briefly… this kind of statement makes no sense. I love to argue, discuss, and debate… and nobody who argues without resorting to name-calling or other incredibly obnoxious behavior is not punished in the slightest. Never has been.

I actually respect the people who can argue and make good points more than those who just blindly accept things. A lot of my friendships were borne out of debates and disagreements.

7 hours ago, ev780 said:

but it sure seems that people only have an issue if someone else writes it down. If a caddy went out after play or during practice round and wrote notes then that would be ok?

I don't know what "people" you're talking about, since we're all speculating on how the USGA/R&A could possibly enforce this rule.

And the bit you quoted by me had nothing to do with this: it was simply specifying that slope and distance are two different things. The former is disallowed even in range finders, the latter is allowed by almost any means and is public knowledge.

7 hours ago, ev780 said:

Again I can't really see the difference between a green book, a yardage map, a pin sheet, or even labeled sprinkler heads. These things are constants and do not vary substantially day to day thus public information.

No, distance and the location of hazards, etc. are considered public information. By rule. Slope is not. "How should I play this hole?" is not.

I understand what you're saying that it could be "public information," but that's not the Rules of Golf definition of "public information" like distances, the locations of hazards, etc. are.

6 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

The green books, based on what I see in the OP,  require the use of level surveying equipment with specific software to develop the topographic mapping, possibly combined with digital levels on the ground itself to record the specific slope (or they use the software to evaluate slope from the topo mapping at specific points).

The guy who mapped a green or two for AimPoint when they were on TV has a setup that maps every cm of a green to within a mm of precision in terms of height. He positions three to six lasers around the green and they scan the green into, again, a bajillion points: a 1cm grid accurate to within 1mm.

6 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

These REQUIRE the use of devices which would never be allowable during a round of golf.  I see this requirement to use sophisticated equipment as the reason that green books are looked upon differently from a typical yardage book.

Yes, they do require more than stepping things off.

We're also not allowed to read wind speed at the hole we're playing, too.

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This is similar to a kid showing up to take a math test with a calculator.   Back in my school days, the kid would have been send to the principals office for trying to cheat.   As time passed, not only was a calculator helpful, it was a requirement in some math classes.    

It use to be that reading greens was all about your sight and alignment.   Today with Aimpoint, we have improved the green reading using slope measurements.    The caddies can individually map the greens but the USGA hasn't caught up to the technology, just like the calculator.  It seems that somebody found a way to make money, $250/book according to the Golf Channel, and that may be one sticking point.   

I understand that the other information available to the players is public knowledge but eventually, I believe the slope readings will be.  

I'm initially thinking that this is no more cheating than any other useful tool that the player currently uses.  The bottom line: the player has to make the stroke.

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15 hours ago, Fourputt said:

It may come down to something as simple as what the information is and how it's obtained.  It's one thing to have a diagram of the green with some squiggly lines and arrows to show the general trends, something anyone can do just by spending a little time rolling balls.  It's quite another when the diagram shows the precise slope angles/percentages obtained with the laser based measuring techniques that surveyors use.

Distance measurement was always available by something as simple as pacing it off - anyone could do it.  Current EMD's simply make that process simpler, but they don't really tell you anything new - it's still something that anyone can do. 

Anyone can also make a green chart by walking the green and rolling a few balls.  That will give you some basic information which is really no different from what can be obtained simply by playing a few practice rounds.  It's when it moves into the realm of extreme technical assistance to provide precise detailed information which cannot be obtained through normal play or practice that the question comes into play. 

Just saying that the player still needs to hit the putt doesn't really address the underlying issue.  If he has this information which he could not have obtained through practice or play, and then scores better because he is better able to interpret the chart than the next guy rather than because he is the better putter, then you start to get into a foggy area of skill vs. technology.  

In my opinion, the game is far enough down that road already.

I think you summed it up nicely. If you do the work to make your own, that is fine. Having someone do the work for you, other than your caddy, is not fine.

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2 hours ago, boogielicious said:

I think you summed it up nicely. If you do the work to make your own, that is fine. Having someone do the work for you, other than your caddy, is not fine.

Again, by this reasoning, commercially produced yardage books would be against the rules, even though they've been accepted for decades, and are specifically permitted by a decision.

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20 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Again, by this reasoning, commercially produced yardage books would be against the rules, even though they've been accepted for decades, and are specifically permitted by a decision.

Like I said, it's going to be a really hard and fine line to walk and enforce for the USGA and R&A.

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52 minutes ago, NCGolfer said:

Like I said, it's going to be a really hard and fine line to walk and enforce for the USGA and R&A.

Drawing the line might be difficult, but I don't think enforcement is an issue, especially at the professional level.

Failure to comply would simply be abject cheating, and the penalty for getting caught would simply be too great to ever consider or chance.

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3 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Again, by this reasoning, commercially produced yardage books would be against the rules, even though they've been accepted for decades, and are specifically permitted by a decision.

I understand that. I'm not sure I like the idea of commercially produced yardage books. I've never seen one available for my courses.

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