PGA Tour to vote on banning notes for reading greens

By Reuters 16 June 2021
Garrick Higgo of South Africa chips on the 13th during day 4 of the 2020 RAM Cape Town Open at Royal Cape Golf Club on February 09, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

Reading greens on the PGA Tour could become trickier with a vote scheduled that could ban notebooks which provide players with slope and putting speed particulars.


According to Golfweek, the board of the PGA Tour will take a vote to decide the fate of the greens books after the Player Advisory Council had its own vote and elected to do away with them.

Multiple issues have arisen with the books, which have become de facto cheat sheets for putting strategy. There is a desire for reading greens to return to the art form that it was before notebooks became ubiquitous in the back pockets of players and the front pouches of caddies.

There is also a criticism that the habit of checking greens books has slowed the pace of play.

The Masters Tournament already has banned the books, and the rest of the PGA Tour schedule could go the way of the traditional first major of the year.

“I use a greens book, and I’d like to get rid of them,” said Rory McIlroy, who is the chairman of the Player Advisory Council. “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 and for them not to be used anymore.”

The USGA placed restrictions on the greens books at the start of 2019, but did not outlaw them completely. The USGA is hosting this week’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

–Field Level Media


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All Comments 3

  • This move is long overdue. Greens books have no place in the game, they are not available to the amateur golfer and should never have been made available to the professional. They turn an average putter into a genius on the greens and eliminate a major skill set differentiator from the game.

    • 100% agree, especially about the “eliminate a major skill set” part. Putts represent almost 50% of total shots in a round, so reading greens is crucial to becoming a pro golfer, rather than remaining an amateur. If an aspiring golfer cannot read greens, stay an amateur!

  • Several years ago a Professor of geotechnical engineering at Wits University developed a set of guidelines for ensuring consistent behaviour of cricket pitches. He argued that moisture content, soil compaction, the ground particle size composition, etc could be made consistent across all cricket pitches to provide a uniform behaviour of all pitches, thus removing a major uncertainty in the game. When he approached the cricketing officials with his proposal, they very quickly rejected it because they said the uncertainties inherent in the pitch is what makes cricket a great game. Any reasonable player would be able to handle an absolutely consistent pitch, but it takes a great player to perform superbly on a variable surface, it takes great captaincy to select bowlers and the batting line-up based on a study of the particular pitch and its condition on the day of the match. It takes a great groundsman to prepare a pitch that works to the benefit of the home team’s talents and against the strengths of the opposing team.
    I am in favour of banning greens books for the same reasons.


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