By Ken Love
For the Mirror
Every so often, a new or unusual technology comes along that affects how the game of golf is played.
Over the past few years, a good example of this has been the introduction of greens-reading books on the PGA Tour.
These greens-reading books are actually sophisticated diagrams of each putting surface a pro golfer will encounter on the PGA tour.
The books detail the directional slope at every point on a green and have only become available in recent years due to the significant advances in laser-imaging technology.
Currently, the books are created almost exclusively for PGA Tour courses, since pro golfers are willing to fork over plenty of cash for a copy of their own.
With a book in hand, golfers and caddies can simply refer to each diagram to determine the amount of break in each putt, eliminating the skill and work it typically takes to estimate the break by eyesight.
However, in a surprise move last week at the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council meeting, GolfWeek Magazine reported the Tour is moving toward a ban on greens-reading books.
Though details of the meeting are confidential, council chairman Rory McIlroy commented on the subject before last week’s U.S. Open.
“I use a greens-reading book, and I’d like to get rid of them. I think everyone is in the same boat,” McIlroy said. “I think for the greater good of the game, I’d like to see them outlawed.”
Although I’ve never used a greens-reading book, it’s obvious to me that reading greens is a skill. I know that I still miss read greens at my home course of Iron Masters all the time, and I’ve been golfing there for 40 years.
If I had a book or diagram that showed me the exact slope at every point on every green, it would definitely eliminate a good bit of skill and practice.
The PGA Tour will finalize its decision on greens-reading books later this year. Here’s hoping the Tour chooses to ban them and bring back the skill of reading greens.
Congratulations to the team of Calvin Mentzer and Landon Hollenshead for winning the championship flight at last week’s Down River Invitational.
Their score of 66-68 edged out Brad Swindell and J.J. McCabe by a single shot.
Mount Union’s American Legion Country Club is hosting this week’s best-all event with Brett Berkheimer and John Lowder Jr. returning as defending champs.
Huntingdon follow up
Last week I mentioned the legendary Huntingdon High School golf team from the late 1960s that featured three young men who went on to captain their respective Division I college teams.
Here are the details: Mack Corbin played at Penn State and captained that school’s golf team. Steve Huston did the same at Bucknell and Ed Strickler at Kent State.
I recently played a round with Strickler (25-time Huntingdon club champion) and another member of that same 1960s high school squad, Fred Kephart, who is a great player himself.
I only wish I could have recorded all the wonderful stories they shared with me that day.
Last week, 13-year-old Spencer Stallone holed his tee shot on the 75-yard No. 6 hole at Burgi’s Back Nine in Greenwood for an ace.
Stallone used a pitching wedge to score his first hole-in-one. Congratulations, Spencer.
Ken Love covers local golf for the Mirror. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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