USGA Recommends Wording For Use Of Distance-Measuring Devices
January 6, 2006
Far Hills, N.J. - A new entry for the 2006 Decisions on the Rules of Golf (Decision 14-3/0.5) allows golfers to use a distance-measuring device to obtain distance information, provided the tournament committee or golf club in charge adopts a specific Local Rule permitting such devices. If a tournament committee or golf club plans to permit the use of distance-measuring devices in 2006, the USGA recommends the following wording for such a Local Rule:
[Specify as appropriate, e.g., In this competition, or For all play at this course, etc.], a player may obtain distance information by using a device that measures distance only. However, if, during a stipulated round, a player uses a distance-measuring device that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect his play (e.g., gradient, wind-speed, temperature, etc.), the player is in breach of Rule 14-3, for which the penalty is disqualification, regardless of whether any such additional functions are actually used."
Any Local Rule, regardless of the wording, must prohibit the use of a distance-measuring device that is capable of gauging or measuring other conditions that might affect play, even if such a function is not used. For example, if a golfer uses a distance-measuring device that also has compass and factors in changes in elevation, that golfer would be disqualified even if he or she uses the device solely for distance information and does not use the compass or elevation-change function.
In establishing these usage guidelines, the USGA does not endorse or approve any brand of distance-measuring devices. Manufacturers are not permitted to use the terms "USGA approved" or the like in any product advertising.
For more information or questions, contact the USGA Rules Department at (908) 234-2300.