The PGA TOUR’s Player Advisory Council has endorsed a new restrictions on PGA Tour yardage books rule that could have a significant impact on how players and caddies read greens. The highly comprehensive publications that use technology to disclose the mysteries of the tiniest slope on a putting surface will be a thing of the past. Players and caddies will instead be required to utilize certified yardage guides that only provide general information about the contours of a green. Additional notes can be added to a player’s or caddie’s yardage book, but they must be confined to information gleaned through first-hand observations and experiences.
The PGA TOUR sent a note to players on Monday informing them of the Local Rule. The Local Rule and new Tournament Regulation will be presented to the PGA TOUR Policy Board on Nov. 8 for implementation on Jan. 1, 2022, based on the PAC’s guidance.
“The aim is to return to a position where players and caddies read the line of play on the putting green using solely their skill, judgment, and feel, as well as any knowledge garnered through experience, preparation, and practice,” the letter stated.
Players and caddies will not be able to use yardage books from 2021 forward starting in the new year. The TOUR will collaborate with yardage book producers to define the standards for the new, approved books, which will be labeled “Committee Approved Book” on the front cover.
Players and caddies can keep taking handwritten notes to help with green-reading. Those notes, however, can only be based on first-hand observations or experiences, which may include watching television broadcasts. Notes from old yardage books that match these criteria can be transferred to new yardage books as well.
The new restrictions on PGA Tour yardage books include no gadgets, levels, or other equipment may be utilized to record information regarding the contours of a green. No information from another source may be copied into the approved book. This prevents players from transferring notes from old greens-reading books to the new one.
In addition to this new Local Rule, a Tournament Regulation will be changed to include all practice greens, as well as all official practice rounds and Pro-Ams, in the prohibition on using any device to test the conditions of the putting greens.