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  • Alistair Tait

Library Cards Rescinded!

Good news for all PGA Tour fans: rounds should speed up by about 18 minutes next season following the Tour’s decision to rescind the library cards of all its members.

Yes folks, from next season we won’t have to watch the likes of Bryson DeChambeau make a trip to the library, sometimes two, before he makes an eight-foot putt. According to a story in Golf Digest, a memo sent to PGA Tour members states the Tour is set to eliminate green-reading books. The Tour wants to…

"…return to a position where players and caddies use only their skill, judgment and feel along with any information gained through experience, preparation and practice to read the line of play on the putting green."

There is a caveat, however. Approved books will be the only books allowed during competitive rounds, and players can add wee nuggets of information into the books to help them on the greens. The memo states:

"Handwritten notes that could assist with reading the line of play on the putting green will continue to be allowed in the approved book. However, such notes will be restricted to only those made by the player or caddie and must be derived from the experiences or any observations of a ball rolling on a green. This includes observations from a TV broadcast. Transferring previous handwritten notes that also meet the new restrictions into the approved book is allowed. No devices, levels or other technology may be used to gather information to be kept as notes, and no information may be copied from another source into the approved book."

Hopefully players won’t go crazy on the handwritten notes allowance. Otherwise some approved books are going to resemble an academic tome with a plethora of footnotes.

As I’ve stated previously, watching tour pros approach an eight-foot putt as if it were a Mensa test is enough to have many golf fans screaming “Get on with it!” at TV screens. Some players can’t seem to make a putting stroke without studying a green reading book the thickness of short novella. Sometimes not once, but several times. These books are obviously not conducive to Rule 5.6b and its recommendation of 40 seconds to play a shot.

It’s also questionable if such books are in the spirit of the golf. Reading greens, figuring out borrows and breaks, should be part and parcel of the game. Can you imagine great putters like Bobby Locke, Ben Crenshaw or Seve Ballesteros ever using a green reading book?

I reckon eliminating the use of green-reading books next year might cut at least one minute off every hole. Albeit some tour pros will probably find some other irritating habit to fill that time since a minority can’t seem to play a round of golf in under five hours.

Eighteen minutes is certainly a start. Now, if we can just get rid of another 60 minutes then perhaps watching professional golf will become less like watching a glacier slide down a mountain. That’s actually an insult to glaciers: many move faster than some tour tortoises….

#JustSaying: “Putting is like wisdom: partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.” Arnold Palmer


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