The United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews issued an intriguing statement on Monday. It comes on the heels of a new Rules Decision on the use of Video Replay issued just last week.
The joint statement reads:
JOINT STATEMENT REGARDING GREEN-READING MATERIALS
1 May 2017, St Andrews, Scotland and Far Hills, N.J., USA :
“The R&A and the USGA believe that a player’s ability to read greens is an essential part of the skill of putting. Rule 14-3 limits the use of equipment and devices that might assist a player in their play, based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the judgement, skills and abilities of the player. We are concerned about the rapid development of increasingly detailed materials that players are using to help with reading greens during a round. We are reviewing the use of these materials to assess whether any actions need to be taken to protect this important part of the game. We expect to address this matter further in the coming months.”
Why they are pursuing this is open to interpretation beyond what they claim, but Slope books have become very common on the highest level tours, eliminating a need, for the most part, to read the green surface to determine the break of a putt. Some argue that they also contribute to slow play.
Based on their statement, it is assured that this is not the last we will hear of the topic.