New restrictions covering controversial green-reading materials have been revealed in a Local Rule developed by the R&A and USGA

Critics say they slow the game down and take the skill out of reading putts. Only anchoring and divots appear to get the average golfer crosser than green books and now they’re being curbed.

Last month, a memo to PGA Tour members and caddies, which was circulated widely on social media before being confirmed on the organisation’s website, revealed the Players Advisory Council supported the implementation of a new Local Rule that will come into force on January 1, next year.

Now the R&A and USGA have produced a Local Rule – Model Local Rule G-11 – which will allow a competition committee to limit players to “using only the yardage book that it has approved for use in the competition”.

It will be available from the start of next year and, in a statement issued by the two governing bodies, “gives a committee the ability to establish an officially approved yardage book for a competition so that the diagrams of putting greens show only minimal detail (such as significant slopes, tiers or false edges that indicate sections of greens).

“In addition, the local rule limits the handwritten notes that players and caddies are allowed to add to the approved yardage book.”

Only intended for the highest levels of competitive golf and, even then, only where a committee can carry out an approval process for yardage books, it’s designed to ensure “players and caddies use only their eye and feel to help them read the line of play on the putting green”.

What does that mean for the rest of us? As the Local Rule is only designed for those at the summit of the game, all other golfers will still be able to use green-reading tools as long as they meet the requirements as set out in 2019.

You can check out the full Local Rule details, and read a Q&A produced by the R&A and USGA on situations around the process, handwritten notes and switching notes, by clicking here.

What do you think about green books? Would this be good for the game or is it all a fuss about nothing? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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