Rule Change: Laser measurement devices now OK
From a recent press release from Laser Link Golf:
“After much consideration, the R&A, in conjunction with the United States Golf Association, has reached a decision regarding the use of electronic measuring devices (EMD’s) during a stipulated round of golf. The rule change was recently announced in a joint announcement on September 27, 2005. Broken down into its simplest terms, electronic measuring devices will be allowed during all play. The USGA and the R&A have recognized the potential benefits of distance measurement systems, and have made a choice that will be of great benefit to the game. Players of all skill levels will now have the ability to obtain accurate yardages in a timely manner, allowing for increased pace of play and better golf shots.”
The official line is that the use of measuring devices will help speed play in tournaments, especially where caddies are unavailable or cannot be afforded by the players (e.g., the Tight Lies Tour, a.k.a. The Tight Budgets Tour).
My take on this rule change is that a lot fewer of us will be breaking the rules now, by turning in rounds for our handicaps in which we used a cart with a GPS system. My understanding of the rules before the change is that this was actually verboten. Oops…
This should have no impact at all on the PGA Tour. All the players there had their caddies using laser measurement devices during practice rounds (non-stipulated rounds) anyway. And no tournament committee will allow the devices during their event.
Still, there’s something sad about this ruling. Judging yardage is one of the few things I CAN do well on a golf course. I wish I had a dollar for every time I estimated a yardage only to have some anal-retentive playing partner hold up play to pace off the distance and discover that I was no more than a yard off (or, often, right on).
Will the laser devices speed up play, or slow it down? No more pacing, but perhaps lots more digging around for the doo-hickey. “Hey, Sparky. Just hit the ball. I don’t think your shank is going to travel the full 147.35 yards anyway.”
What think ye?
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They will still be illegal, the ruling body has passed the buck back to the clubs, a club may make a local rule. I hope a specimen local rule is provided.
Oops...wrong sort of specimen. My bad.
I agree, MNC.
Pinhead is right, learn to use the thing. I want to learn to use the thing.
One technical note, the rule has not changed; however, the interpretation of the rule is relaxed. The USGA and R&A revise the rules of golf every four years; the last revision was January 1, 2004.
Most of us play the same course repeatedly, and a rangefinder is not of much assistance.
Can't say I would use one on a daily basis, even if they came down in price considerably.
The only time they would be of help is on a foreign course during tournament play.
The more burning question is what makes miss naughty chipper's chipping so naughty?
It does speed play when I'm at a strange course and there is no yardage for distance to a hazard or carry over a hazard. Knowing those distances vs. distance to center of the green only speeds the round.
On a related note not all of us can play a $100 round courses where there are GPS carts ect. If the local muni wants a better pace of play they need to have better and consistant yardage markers. Better yet bring back the old yardage books. Thats what you see the pro tour caddies flipping through during a tour event. They lase the yardage during practice so they know the yardage from and to every thing on the course.
HOWEVER, there are times i can't find one and i have to waste some extra time locating one...or worse yet, playing a course that only has colored stones in teh middle of the fairway for 200, 150, and 100...that makes it even tougher for me to get yardage...
so the thing would be helpful at times...i like what one user said, don't use it for every shot, only use it for shots you REALLY need it...
i go out on my course alone i can walk 18 in 2 hours, so i don't think i'm a slow player...but they do exist, and used properly, they can help...
too bad we all know that enough morons out there will take forever fumbling it out of the bag, then getting a reading, then putting it away, then forgetting hte reading and having to dig it out again to confirm what they think they remember, etc...
just as w/ any tools, some will use it properly, but it will get into plenty of hands that will misuse it
I have nothing against Electronic Measuring Devices, but I think all we really need is for courses to make and provide yardage books for all their customers.
Oh, and while we're on the subject of yardage, you golf course supers who figure that little marker you sink into the fairway is sufficient. Even when you're 10 yards away there sometimes impossible to spot. Put soemthing beside it like a small stake so we don't spend so much time looking for it. The cost in material to do this would be covered by one or two green fees. Better yet, why are they even in the middle of the fairway anyway?!? Get 'em over in the rough where I'm usually trying to figure out what club to hit!!