Distance – Measuring devices have become a large segment of the golf industry. There are several manufacturers producing devices to assist players in gauging distances from various points on the golf course. Players like the quickness and accuracy of such devices in helping them to determine club selection. Some devices also give more than just distances to assist the player.
Committees may permit the use of distance – measuring devices in tournament play. A Committee may establish a Local Rule allowing players to use devices that measure or gauge distance only. However, the use of a distance – measuring device that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect a player’s play (e.g., gradient, wind speed, temperature, etc) is not permitted regardless of whether such an additional function is used.
Rule 14 – 3 Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and the Unusual Use of Equipment is very specific in what is considered use of any equipment in an unusual manner. It states: “Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment in an unusual manner:
a.) That might assist him in making a stroke or in his play; or
b.) For the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or condition that might affect his play; or
c.) That might assist him in gripping the club, except that: (i) gloves may be worn provided they are plain gloves (ii) resin, powder and drying or moisturizing agents may be used and (iii) a towel or handkerchief may be wrapped around the grip.”
In the absence of a Local Rule, the use of distance – measuring device would be contrary to Rule 14 – 3.
Frank Guastella, PGA Master Professional
Michigan PGA Rules Official
Staff Writer for Mike Fay Golf