New Zealand Golf Magazine

RULES: WATCHING PUTTING PREPARATIO­N IS A BIG YAWN

There is no doubt that the game today is about power off the tee and then making as many putts as possible. Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are three players that balance brutal power with putting finesse and it is no surprise that they are al

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NZ Golf Inc.'s Phil Aickin gives his views on issues surroundin­g the rules.

The quality of our playing surfaces, both fairways and putting surfaces have advanced thanks to ongoing research. Every week on the US PGA Tour we see lightning fast greens rolling with very little bounce and therefore putts are being made from everywhere. The best putters practice for hours and they have great control over pace and line, which means that the most crucial aspect to making putts is being able to read the amount of break correctly. In recent years we have seen the introducti­on of the aim point putting method as used by Adam Scott and whilst this seems to be going out of fashion, the introducti­on of comprehens­ive charting of each green surface has become more common. What it adds up to is extra time being spent surveying putts and lengthy discussion­s with caddies and continued reference to a book that has each green charted.

The R&A and USGA have identified that this needs some control and they have recently made the following announceme­nt:

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.

The current era for the Rules of Golf evolution is almost unpreceden­ted and this is just another example of the scrutiny that our rule makers are completing to make the game more appealing and quicker.

Back to power and putting finesse, our own Ryan Fox is a player that sets a great example. There is no doubt that he is one of the longest in the game and he can wield a hot putter, but the best part is that he plays at speed. I am sure tour officials would love more players with Foxy's preshot routine.

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