We were sold on rangefinders as a pace of play godsend and anyone who has seen their use in college and amateur events knows they sometimes help move things along. More often the use of a rangefinder just adds another step in the “process” of hitting a shot.
Green reading books were never billed as time savers by the governing bodies when allowing them to stain the game, and the only people who really benefit from them are the people selling them.
But those who have watched players use them sense that sometimes extra time is spent looking at a putt because the book says one thing and their eyes say the other. I’ve had the privilege of hearing a player whine that a putt did something different than the book, as if his caddie was responsible.
Which brings me to the best evidence yet that they need to go and are a silly crutch only adding time to the length of rounds. From Bryson DeChambeau’s whirlwind Saturday press conference at the Northern Trust:
Q. On 8 green. It took like two minutes and 20 seconds?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Correct.
Q. That obviously is one --
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Five percent, where we looked at it, it was a very difficult read. It was on a bit of a crown, trying to read it, best of my ability. Couldn't figure out a way to play it four inches out because that's what the book said. That's what it looked, or that's what it said in the book. Didn't look like that to my eyes. We walked around, took a little bit of time. I was ready to hit. My caddie pulled me off because he saw something different. That's just what's going to happen every once in a while. You have guys that sometimes that does happen. Is that every time? No. That's one -- probably 1 percent of the time that I take over two minutes.
I would couple this amazing admission with what I felt was a reduction in how much players are openly relying on the books, and that I’ve yet to encounter anyone who thinks of the decision to keep them in the game and says, “so, so glad the USGA and R&A caved on that one.” But I don’t hang with those profiting from selling a page full of arrows, either.