Green Reading Books and Slow Play Debate

OldTomMorrisOldTomMorris Edinburgh, ScotlandMembers Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited Aug 14, 2019 12:47pm in Tour Talk #1

Both Poulter and Mickelson are clearly big fans of the book as they have been constantly vocal anytime the possibility of banning them has arisen. With the DeChambeau slow play furore from last week still rumbling on the green reading books have been mentioned again in the slow play debate and the same voices have been lobbying on Twitter clearly concerned that they could be banned.

Luke Donald has weighed in regarding the 80% claim and the suggestion that it would be "idiotic" to think they affect the pace of play. I thought the 80% claim sounded bogus.

I wouldn't be surprised if they are eventually banned but it seems strange that the governing bodies let these things take hold in the game for so long before they act just like the anchor ban. Broom handle putters and latterly belly putters were used for close to 40 years.

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  • QManyQMany #TheWRX ClubWRX Posts: 9,121 ClubWRX
    edited Aug 14, 2019 12:40pm #2
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  • shanxshanx Members Posts: 839 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Silly to blame a book for backing up play, especially if it helps these guys.
    I heard someone say they should ban the "pace off" from fairways. Someone else said that they should post playing times for players every round, and pair the slower players together for the first few rounds as to not penalize the guys that play faster.

    I really think peer pressure will have more of an impact than anything...

  • MidwestGolfBumMidwestGolfBum Corporate Golfer Extraordinaire MSN/MKE/DSMMembers Posts: 1,393 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't think that a slow player is going to get a whole lot faster just because they don't have a greens book. They are going to find other ways to analyze the putt they have which will likely take the same amount of time. The guys who are slow players are just slow and the fact that they never get penalized for it is the big part of why we see it so frequently across all of high level competition golf. If, and that's a pretty big "if", there is actually an enforcement of the pace of play policies, and people start to see themselves getting hurt by it in either strokes or directly out of their paycheck with fines, there's no doubt that everybody speeds up.

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  • MelloYelloMelloYello Upstate, SCMembers Posts: 3,521 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 1:23pm #5

    I would like to see golf embrace physical pain and suffering as a means of "paying" for slow play.

    As with anything, it should be a choice whether someone plays slowly. So yes, you can play slowly but you're going to get a chair to the back on the next tee or you have to endure a lashing from a guy with a whip. It's a personal choice as to whether someone thinks they can play through that stuff or not. Maybe someone puts a cigarette out on your hand or something?

    I'm just saying, there has to be some form of physical pain and suffering. I'm fine with it being post-round and done in private if it must but I want to know that someone's beating the **** out of these guys who play slowly. It's the only way I can think justice is being done.

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  • JaNelson38JaNelson38 Members Posts: 2,781 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 1:32pm #6

    These guys also use the green books for landing area targets on the greens from the fairway. To take away the green books would probably make things SLOWER, not faster.

    Look, there are a handful of slow players on tour, and DeChambeau is one of them. But as a whole, "slow play" is absolutely NOT a problem on the PGA Tour. Its a made-up narrative from fans who grow bored watching golf on TV, and think that because they can zip through a round in a golf cart and a half-empty course in less than 4 hours, that means pros should to....which is absurd, considering pros are usually playing courses well over 7200 yards, the course is almost always full when they are playing, and they are walking to boot. Not to mention the scratch on the line each week.

    The problem players have with policing each other is that they are each playing for themselves...they aren't part of a team. So in a way its "out of line" to tell a fellow competitor to speed up, slow down, etc. And at some point it might be you who needs the extra time to think about and prepare a shot, so nobody wants to be hypocritical.

    One thing Ive advocated for a long time is for the PGA Tour to adopt "ready golf" if all players in a group/pairing agree to it. If you are not away, yet get up to your ball and you are ready to play while your playing partner is not yet ready on the other side of the fairway, you should be able to just play away. Unlike on the greens where you can get a read on a putt, you're not gaining an advantage over anyone else by going first from the fairway despite not being away, unless of course its a match-play situation (of which there is only one tournament on Tour every year with those rules).

  • OldTomMorrisOldTomMorris Edinburgh, ScotlandMembers Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @JaNelson38 said:
    These guys also use the green books for landing area targets on the greens from the fairway. To take away the green books would probably make things SLOWER, not faster.

    Surely for this to be true the pace of play would have improved since these books were introduced. I don't have data to clarify that but it doesn't seem to be the case as far as I can tell.

    Personally I don't have a strong opinion on whether they should be banned but I like the idea of green reading purely as a skill.

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  • GoGoErkyGoGoErky Members Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Greens books have been in use for years and got more detailed over time. Slow golfers are slow golfers regardless. Take the book away and that player is going to walk around the entire green to get the read.

  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members Posts: 1,326 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @JaNelson38 said:
    These guys also use the green books for landing area targets on the greens from the fairway. To take away the green books would probably make things SLOWER, not faster.

    Can't the player and the caddie take the tee sheet and the hole location sheet for the day and in probably less than 30 minutes prior to the round determine all of the planned landing areas? IMO they shouldn't be figuring out where to land the ball while they are playing the hole but before the round. Maybe I am ignorant of this but I assumed the player and the caddie talked through the game plan for the day ahead of the round.

    Sure there are variables such as wind and roll-out and lie that have to be taken into consideration but the biggest part of the decision making should be done right?

  • BabydaddyBabydaddy Members Posts: 935 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 2:46pm #11

    @JaNelson38 said:
    These guys also use the green books for landing area targets on the greens from the fairway. To take away the green books would probably make things SLOWER, not faster.

    Look, there are a handful of slow players on tour, and DeChambeau is one of them. But as a whole, "slow play" is absolutely NOT a problem on the PGA Tour. Its a made-up narrative from fans who grow bored watching golf on TV, and think that because they can zip through a round in a golf cart and a half-empty course in less than 4 hours, that means pros should to....which is absurd, considering pros are usually playing courses well over 7200 yards, the course is almost always full when they are playing, and they are walking to boot. Not to mention the scratch on the line each week.

    The problem players have with policing each other is that they are each playing for themselves...they aren't part of a team. So in a way its "out of line" to tell a fellow competitor to speed up, slow down, etc. And at some point it might be you who needs the extra time to think about and prepare a shot, so nobody wants to be hypocritical.

    One thing Ive advocated for a long time is for the PGA Tour to adopt "ready golf" if all players in a group/pairing agree to it. If you are not away, yet get up to your ball and you are ready to play while your playing partner is not yet ready on the other side of the fairway, you should be able to just play away. Unlike on the greens where you can get a read on a putt, you're not gaining an advantage over anyone else by going first from the fairway despite not being away, unless of course its a match-play situation (of which there is only one tournament on Tour every year with those rules).

    Amen! Some great points in here
    The slow play at your local muni is not the same thing as a PGA tournament. I have to agree with BDC that there a number of variables affecting the pace of play out on tour that do not factor in for our Saturday foursome. Mostly I see golfers that don't know any golf etiquette on our local courses. They play the wrong tees- they take more than 2-3 minutes to look for lost balls and they lose a lot of balls. Some players are very seasoned citizens that physically take more time to do anything. Some people talk to one another as if they are already at the 19th hole. A very few of those are pacing off putts and these sorts of things. I know that range finders and GPS units that we use greatly speed up play in our weekly men's league. Many people don't seem to realize that they can get out of the golf cart and walk the few yards over to their ball while their cart partner is preparing to play their shot. If you hit a pitch shot to the green and now your playing partner is about to hit theirs- you can grab your putter and let them take the cart around while you walk to the green- during that walk-up you can read the green and size up your putt. These are things that would actually speed up play-
    Personally- I believe that people should be required to take some sort of test to be able to play golf on public courses. I mean people largely don't repair their ball marks on the green- don't fill divots- don't understand time limits for looking for balls- don't understand letting people play through, etc...
    It's **** poor that you pay $50.00 to play a round and you have a 30-40% chance of people who have no business being out there negatively affecting your round.

  • daleheaddalehead Members Posts: 1,562 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @BeautifulNice said:
    Green reading books should be banned, regardless of slow play. Green reading is a skill. Green reading books replace skill with data unavailable to the average golfer. A guy who can't read greens well can use a green reading book to narrow the gap between himself and someone like Spieth. Spieth's skill is diminished. The pro and his caddy are free to map a green however they like (without laser technology) before the tournament. This is acceptable because the pro is using his own eyes and senses to understand how the green moves. Same with fairways or any other feature of the course. An amateur can do the same. Pros and amateurs should be playing the same game, and only skill should separate the two.

    This is also my issue with green reading books. One of the factors golf tests us on is the ability to read greens. There are arguments on both sides as to whether or not their use slows down play, but nobody really knows the answer. They should be banned regardless.

  • buckeyeflbuckeyefl Members Posts: 6,068 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Phil being an idiot like he does on occasion. The books most certainly do slow many players down. I would hate to see how slow he would be ( he's already pretty slow) if he didn't save 80% of his time by using a book. Phil being Phil.

  • buckeyeflbuckeyefl Members Posts: 6,068 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 3:24pm #14

    @GoGoErky said:
    Greens books have been in use for years and got more detailed over time. Slow golfers are slow golfers regardless. Take the book away and that player is going to walk around the entire green to get the read.

    Many still do anyway. Watch Phil the next time he plays.

    Rickies caddy hit the nail on the headwhen he said used "correctly". Far too many don't do that.

  • QuigleyDUQuigleyDU Members Posts: 7,422 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I honestly do not think there is any one thing, yardage book, green charts, etc that is being used as a tool that necessarily slows play. I think all of these things are fine and can be used briskly. All they have to do is enforce the shot clock. There are plenty of players that utilize all of the approved tools and can play quickly. It is an attitude issue, not a tool issue.

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  • widow-makerwidow-maker Members Posts: 1,647 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @BeautifulNice said:
    Green reading books should be banned, regardless of slow play. Green reading is a skill. Green reading books replace skill with data unavailable to the average golfer. A guy who can't read greens well can use a green reading book to narrow the gap between himself and someone like Spieth. Spieth's skill is diminished. The pro and his caddy are free to map a green however they like (without laser technology) before the tournament. This is acceptable because the pro is using his own eyes and senses to understand how the green moves. Same with fairways or any other feature of the course. An amateur can do the same. Pros and amateurs should be playing the same game, and only skill should separate the two.

    I agree with this. The books have taken away another one of the skills of the game. With the ball that goes straighter and 50 yards further than it did 50 years ago, and the club that's perimeter weighted so the ball goes straight and have huge sweet spots... they've taken a lot of the skill already out of the game, and players will keep finding ways to take advantage.

    The test of skill is getting less and less and is being replaced by automatons that spend more time on physical fitness and technical adjustments than they do out on the golf course. The game is evolving in a peculiar way, especially at the professional level. Golf at the professional level is getting processed excessively. I guess it's the inevitable way that progress occurs in the modern era, but I'm not sure it's making for better golf viewing. Robotic players with similar skill sets is less compelling viewing. Shotmaking, feel, imagination, emotion... slowly being bled out of the game by technical mastery.

    The magic of the Ryder Cup is in the emotion that's generated and it's so palpable that viewers can feel it. But that's not what we get out on Tour anymore.

  • MadGolfer76MadGolfer76 Admiration is the state furthest from understanding. Members Posts: 20,084 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Lose the books, grant the rangefinders.
    Take the canoli...

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  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members Posts: 1,326 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @dalehead said:

    @BeautifulNice said:
    Green reading books should be banned, regardless of slow play. Green reading is a skill. Green reading books replace skill with data unavailable to the average golfer. A guy who can't read greens well can use a green reading book to narrow the gap between himself and someone like Spieth. Spieth's skill is diminished. The pro and his caddy are free to map a green however they like (without laser technology) before the tournament. This is acceptable because the pro is using his own eyes and senses to understand how the green moves. Same with fairways or any other feature of the course. An amateur can do the same. Pros and amateurs should be playing the same game, and only skill should separate the two.

    This is also my issue with green reading books. One of the factors golf tests us on is the ability to read greens. There are arguments on both sides as to whether or not their use slows down play, but nobody really knows the answer. They should be banned regardless.

    Put me in this group as well. I'll take it a step further and say that estimating distance is also a golf skill and yardage book use should be curtailed along with distances on sprinkler heads and pvc poles in the fairways - at the pro golf level. They certainly don't have barber poles in the fairways at pro events do they?

    I'm an even bigger fuddy duddy that says the personal caddies need to go away. That way it is even more up to the player themselves to get their own yardages and make their own decisions. I want to know what can the golfer do, not what his team can do. Just put the caddies' names in a big bowl and have the player draw out a name the night before the round. That's your guy. Get with him and tell him when you want him to show up to pack the bag. Or pack your own. I don't think there is a rule against carrying your own bag is there?

  • tideridertiderider Members Posts: 2,180 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @MelloYello said:
    I would like to see golf embrace physical pain and suffering as a means of "paying" for slow play.

    As with anything, it should be a choice whether someone plays slowly. So yes, you can play slowly but you're going to get a chair to the back on the next tee or you have to endure a lashing from a guy with a whip. It's a personal choice as to whether someone thinks they can play through that stuff or not. Maybe someone puts a cigarette out on your hand or something?

    I'm just saying, there has to be some form of physical pain and suffering. I'm fine with it being post-round and done in private if it must but I want to know that someone's beating the **** out of these guys who play slowly. It's the only way I can think justice is being done.

  • QuigleyDUQuigleyDU Members Posts: 7,422 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 14, 2019 5:05pm #20

    @widow-maker said:

    @BeautifulNice said:
    Green reading books should be banned, regardless of slow play. Green reading is a skill. Green reading books replace skill with data unavailable to the average golfer. A guy who can't read greens well can use a green reading book to narrow the gap between himself and someone like Spieth. Spieth's skill is diminished. The pro and his caddy are free to map a green however they like (without laser technology) before the tournament. This is acceptable because the pro is using his own eyes and senses to understand how the green moves. Same with fairways or any other feature of the course. An amateur can do the same. Pros and amateurs should be playing the same game, and only skill should separate the two.

    I agree with this. The books have taken away another one of the skills of the game. With the ball that goes straighter and 50 yards further than it did 50 years ago, and the club that's perimeter weighted so the ball goes straight and have huge sweet spots... they've taken a lot of the skill already out of the game, and players will keep finding ways to take advantage.

    The test of skill is getting less and less and is being replaced by automatons that spend more time on physical fitness and technical adjustments than they do out on the golf course. The game is evolving in a peculiar way, especially at the professional level. Golf at the professional level is getting processed excessively. I guess it's the inevitable way that progress occurs in the modern era, but I'm not sure it's making for better golf viewing. Robotic players with similar skill sets is less compelling viewing. Shotmaking, feel, imagination, emotion... slowly being bled out of the game by technical mastery.

    The magic of the Ryder Cup is in the emotion that's generated and it's so palpable that viewers can feel it. But that's not what we get out on Tour anymore.

    1. green reading books are available to whoever wants to take the time to put one together.
    2. the game is hard enough and 90+% of golfers shoot over 100 with brand new equipment, and always have, so I don't know what you want. Shotmaking, feel, imagination, emotion, etc etc are all mythical creatures, most cannot shape a ball even if they wanted to and were hitting the softest balata there ever was.
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  • OutBackHackOutBackHack Members Posts: 955 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A common ground on greens books was met by the various tours this year. The format of the books changed to what we have now.
    On the PGA Tour the green mapping system is used in conjunction with shot link for pin locations now, so when they say the pin is 24 and 4 left...it's exactly 24 and 4 left. The PGA Tour is actually in bed with the producers of the greens books, it makes their life easier too and therefore there is no chance they're going away anytime soon.

    ...and they don't slow down play for 99% of players.

  • MelloYelloMelloYello Upstate, SCMembers Posts: 3,521 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    That guy gets it!

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  • gators78gators78 ClubWRX Posts: 3,952 ClubWRX
    edited Aug 14, 2019 5:21pm #24

    Whoopsies wrong thread, carry on.

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  • OldTomMorrisOldTomMorris Edinburgh, ScotlandMembers Posts: 2,917 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @OutBackHack said:
    A common ground on greens books was met by the various tours this year. The format of the books changed to what we have now.
    On the PGA Tour the green mapping system is used in conjunction with shot link for pin locations now, so when they say the pin is 24 and 4 left...it's exactly 24 and 4 left. The PGA Tour is actually in bed with the producers of the greens books, it makes their life easier too and therefore there is no chance they're going away anytime soon.

    ...and they don't slow down play for 99% of players.

    I'm sure DeChambeau was using the compass because he disputed the accuracy of the pin locations, he claims they aren't consistently precise.
    Playing devils advocate, they would go away if the USGA/R&A decide to ban them and the PGA Tour would have to accept it.
    I like the idea of green reading to be purely skill and not referencing a book with data but that is an entirely different debate if people want them banned for that reason.
    I find it hard to believe that outlawing them would significantly change the pace of play but Phil's 80% claim still sounds off to me.

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  • wildcatdenwildcatden China Cat Sunflower Members Posts: 949 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ban the green reading books AND require these pros to keep the pace of pay up. I want to see your golf skill and not your reading a green book skill.

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  • OutBackHackOutBackHack Members Posts: 955 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OldTomMorris said:

    @OutBackHack said:
    A common ground on greens books was met by the various tours this year. The format of the books changed to what we have now.
    On the PGA Tour the green mapping system is used in conjunction with shot link for pin locations now, so when they say the pin is 24 and 4 left...it's exactly 24 and 4 left. The PGA Tour is actually in bed with the producers of the greens books, it makes their life easier too and therefore there is no chance they're going away anytime soon.

    ...and they don't slow down play for 99% of players.

    I'm sure DeChambeau was using the compass because he disputed the accuracy of the pin locations, he claims they aren't consistently precise.
    Playing devils advocate, they would go away if the USGA/R&A decide to ban them and the PGA Tour would have to accept it.
    I like the idea of green reading to be purely skill and not referencing a book with data but that is an entirely different debate if people want them banned for that reason.
    I find it hard to believe that outlawing them would significantly change the pace of play but Phil's 80% claim still sounds off to me.

    Yeah, I said "various tours" what I meant was USGA/[email protected]

    It's funny that lots of people, on these forums and other places have different takes on whether or not the books are good, bad, helpful... Whether they slow down or speed up play, but 99.99% of those people have never even seen one let alone used one.

    I'm fairly sure Bryson was using a compass to work out pin/cover/etc when he wasn't in a straight line to the front edge of the green... Makes sense, I get why he did it... But using that (drawing) compass definitely slowed him down.
    I think the compass thing was last year? But I could be wrong.... The tour has only started using shot link to help set pins this season.

  • MidwestGolfBumMidwestGolfBum Corporate Golfer Extraordinaire MSN/MKE/DSMMembers Posts: 1,393 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @smashdn said:

    @JaNelson38 said:
    These guys also use the green books for landing area targets on the greens from the fairway. To take away the green books would probably make things SLOWER, not faster.

    Can't the player and the caddie take the tee sheet and the hole location sheet for the day and in probably less than 30 minutes prior to the round determine all of the planned landing areas? IMO they shouldn't be figuring out where to land the ball while they are playing the hole but before the round. Maybe I am ignorant of this but I assumed the player and the caddie talked through the game plan for the day ahead of the round.

    Sure there are variables such as wind and roll-out and lie that have to be taken into consideration but the biggest part of the decision making should be done right?

    This all works well when your plan goes exactly right. The second you are trying to find a cover or a distance to a target that is off from your original plan, things get more complicated. That's where the greens books come in to play. Having used greens books in various tournaments, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have a better understanding of what shot I want to hit in to a given part of the green based on where I am on the golf course. The better understanding you have of what the ball will do once it's on the green, the more likely you are to be able to score. There is also the added comfort of better knowing where you may want to miss on a long approach on a par 5, for example, so that if things don't go exactly as planned, you have a better chance of getting up and down.

    Now, with all that said, there's really no reason that any of that should take a huge amount of time and most of that can be done as you are approaching your ball. You can then access lie, wind, etc. and plan how you want to execute the shot from there. There are some players who may not start that process before getting to their ball, but those players are going to be slow no matter what information you are giving them.

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  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,737 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @smashdn said:

    @dalehead said:

    @BeautifulNice said:
    Green reading books should be banned, regardless of slow play. Green reading is a skill. Green reading books replace skill with data unavailable to the average golfer. A guy who can't read greens well can use a green reading book to narrow the gap between himself and someone like Spieth. Spieth's skill is diminished. The pro and his caddy are free to map a green however they like (without laser technology) before the tournament. This is acceptable because the pro is using his own eyes and senses to understand how the green moves. Same with fairways or any other feature of the course. An amateur can do the same. Pros and amateurs should be playing the same game, and only skill should separate the two.

    This is also my issue with green reading books. One of the factors golf tests us on is the ability to read greens. There are arguments on both sides as to whether or not their use slows down play, but nobody really knows the answer. They should be banned regardless.

    Put me in this group as well. I'll take it a step further and say that estimating distance is also a golf skill and yardage book use should be curtailed along with distances on sprinkler heads and pvc poles in the fairways - at the pro golf level. They certainly don't have barber poles in the fairways at pro events do they?

    I'm an even bigger fuddy duddy that says the personal caddies need to go away. That way it is even more up to the player themselves to get their own yardages and make their own decisions. I want to know what can the golfer do, not what his team can do. Just put the caddies' names in a big bowl and have the player draw out a name the night before the round. That's your guy. Get with him and tell him when you want him to show up to pack the bag. Or pack your own. I don't think there is a rule against carrying your own bag is there?

    I’m fairly certain players a required to use a caddie, I don’t have the PGA Players Handbook in front of me (I was never earned one unfortunately lol).

  • KRAMER1997KRAMER1997 Members Posts: 205 ✭✭✭

    HAHAHA who cares what Luke Donald says. he's ranked like 500th in the world.

  • BarfolomewBarfolomew #worstWRXer Members Posts: 1,456 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I bet the green books speed up play....... cause they are Cheating by making green reading easier!

    So weak and embarrassing to the golfing community that our pros need help.

    I could see them being used for a beginners golf class just to explain whats going on but soon after no cheating allowed!

    We should add some strokes to a pros final score to know what they really shot.... but even then it wouldn't be enough because of the mental effect of shooting a birdie instead of par or bogie instead of double boge and gaining confidence and playing better because of that by thinking your putting better then you should be.

    What would Tom Morris think? oh my I can hear him now.... you soft bellied rich entitled wannabees how bout we let you use computers and GPS too to map out the best line to hit

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