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Tuesday
Nov072017

Stevie: Green Reading Books Deskilling The Game

There's a lot to enjoy about Episode 32 of the iSeekGolf Podcast appearance by New Zealander and caddie extraordinaire Stevie Williams who says the green reading books, so heavily used these days and under governing body scrutiny, should not be allowed.

From the pod:

“There’s no doubt that a lot of the information that’s getting provided now is taking a lot of the skill and the art and the natural gift [out] of playing the game."

“I’m totally against greens reading books. I think it’s a skill of the game not to have a book provided that absolutely gives you a detailed description of the green and if you read the book accurately, you know exactly how far your putt’s going to break.”

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Reader Comments (17)

Plus, looking at the book, then pacing the green, then looking at the book - takes forever. Exhibit A: Jordan Spieth.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterHardy Greaves
Amen Hardy!
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterReaper
I'm completely against books for pace of play and "deskilling".
I hate aimpoint because feeling the line with your feet is cheating, slow, and adds footprints.

But frankly, "who has the the best caddy?" for green reading is "deskilling" too.

Let's have an event where we find out who the best PLAYER is, not the best team.

Rounds might take about an hour less too
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Warne
I agree with Jeff that a event should be played , but No caddie, No book, No range finder.
they can carry or use push carts.
there is nothing like getting that feeling from start of the tee box to the hole, all within par and you called the shots from start to finish.

enough with the pros; what is the industry doing for the Customer/player beside ripping them off.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered Commentersidvicius
Love this idea. I don't really care about distance finders because they can speed up play. But green books are a plague. They've even found their way into AJGA events.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGinGHIN
Amen. Not only do they take the skill out of the game, they greatly add to time and delays that we see on thew greens. They should be banned immediately for both of these reasons. And, I happen to agree with one of the comments regarding the caddies reading putts. I'm tired of that practice too for the same reasons stated above. As bad as it is on the PGA tour, it's twice as bad on the LPGA tour where the golfers often appear to be nothing more than puppets or wind-up robots controlled by their caddies.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
@ Hardy, you can say that about 70% of players on tour. Spieth is the worst tee to green with Day a close second. And golf is wondering why they are in a ratings spiral? No wonder all players are praying Eldrick can play another few years on tour and milk dollars out of sponsors.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon
AimPoint if used alone does not slow down things. If you AP, pace around the green, squat, plumb bob, read the other charts provided, stare at the cup for the grain-then you are slowing things down. When I use AimPoint correctly and solely I get it done faster than any other method.
I have looked at the break charts on the GOlfLogix app. Holy mackerel it would take me forever to enter in my ball position and see all the breaks plus require another set of glasses if not playing with my trifocals!
11.7.2017 | Unregistered Commentertaffy
Green reading books function like security blankets or pacifiers, and they ought to be referred to as "blankies" or "binkies."
11.7.2017 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
It’s not just " No caddie, No book, No range finder, they can carry or use push carts".
We really must look to the courses too - I quote Dr A MacKenzie “The chief object of every golf course architect or greenkeeper worth his salt is to imitate the beauties of Nature so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from Nature itself”

It would appear that many a modern Architect and GreenKeeper seems to have forgotten those very wise words.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morris
Agree...but how does the ruling body ban the greens reading book and not a yardage book. And do you ban a player or his caddie from making notes in their yardage books about greens, learned themselves during practice rounds? Players who have played competitive golf, whether junior, college, amateur, or professional, have been doing that forever and it's never caused a second look or any controversy.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Again, save us from the gamesavers.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterFC
@ Harv. I agree with all your questions, but don't we ban all sort of things from actually being used during a competitive round ? They can use the books during practice rounds, but they can't bring them to the tournament.
11.7.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
What happens when the greens books and the yardage books become one? How do you ban them then? Plus, I would rather have Palmers notes on Augusta's greens over a book any day
11.7.2017 | Unregistered Commentermark
A few comments…

1. AImPoint is a faster green reading method than anything other than "I don't care I'm just gonna hit it."

2. I too think that people should have to read the greens rather than relying on a book, which undoubtedly slows things down and "de-skills" the game.

3. Given #2, I'm at a complete loss as to how you write up a rule about this. You've always been allowed to take pre-printed material out on the golf course, and I don't think yardage books (or other forms of written/printed materials) should be restricted.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski
I timed several groups at tour school last week. Every one had one or more aim pointer in it. There were no greens books. Whether aim point is slow or quick I know not-I dont do it or teach it- but it appears to me that people who are drawn to it are of the excessively meticulous type! I agree re greens books-deskilling and slow.
11.9.2017 | Unregistered Commenterchico
I think you may have it backward: I think meticulous people simply exhaust every possibility. I taught one of my college players AimPoint (I teach all of them AimPoint, but this story is about him). He used to look from all four sides, step up to the ball, to see how it looked from over the ball, and go behind and crouch one more time. Meticulous. Now he gets his AImPoint read, reads from behind the hole and the ball… and crouches behind before he lines up over the ball. Less but still "meticulous."

Most of my other college players are happy to never have to crouch or walk around the hole again. Many of my college players are asked how they putt so well since they "never read the green." :)

Anyway, the main point… I don't know how the USGA/R&A can write this rule banning only green reading books/green maps. Maybe I'm overthinking it. Maybe it's as simple as saying "Anything that can be construed as a map of the green and measurements of or directions of break is considered illegal." Yeah it's a bit of a judgment call, but it would allow people to still write down the yardages to carry a ridge or a tier, or to mark where there's a bowl or some other feature, but not provide any more detail beyond that.
11.9.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski

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