Major Change: Use of Distance-Measuring Devices

Published on 31st December 2018 in Golf News, Local and Member News, Rules Hub

We will continue to keep members informed of the Rules of Golf taking effect January 1, 2019.  From now, through to the end of the year, there will be a series of instructional videos that are expected to have the most impact on the game and to be of most interest to golfers.  Remember to keep an eye on the Rules Hub page on the website.

2019 Rule: The current default position in the Rules will be reversed:

  • Rule 4.3 will allow players to use DMDs to measure distance.
  • But a Committee may adopt a Local Rule prohibiting such use of DMDs.

Reasons for Change:

Allowing DMD use is consistent with the principles of the game:

  • Figuring out the distance to the hole or to another location on the course is not one of the decisions that the Rules expect players to make using only their own skill and judgment or only with a caddie’s advice.
  • Distance is public information a player may get from anyone; and on most courses, this information is found on sprinkler heads, markers, posts, etc.

DMD use has become widespread in the 10 or so years since they were introduced, and they are allowed at most clubs throughout the world and in most amateur competitions, including (since 2014) at USGA and R&A amateur championships.

Reversing the default position will help avoid the confusion that sometimes exists today when clubs or players do not realize that DMD use requires adoption of a Local Rule.

At the same time, Committees that are not comfortable with allowing use of electronic devices such as DMDs on their course generally or during a particular competition may still prohibit their use.

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