How much should technology be allowed to alter the nature of sports? It’s a question golf has wrestled with forever.
The latest technology-related controversy in golf has to do with green-reading books. For decades, golfers have used books that chart distances from tees to bunkers and from the fairway to the front and back of greens. New books give a detailed grid of the green, showing the degree and direction of slope on each small grid.
Golf’s governing bodies, the USGA and R&A, announced they are reviewing the new books to determine if they detract too much from the skill of reading greens. The USGA and R&A should not be “over-officious” on this.
Players for decades have charted the breaks on greens on their own. Where do you draw the line? A golfer still has to hit the putt. If the green-reading books are slowing pro golfers down, that’s a separate issue. Tour players are slow largely because the greens are so fast, because the course needs to play harder, because the ball flies so far. That’s the issue the USGA and R&A keep avoiding.