Rules FAQ

Rule 14-3

Rangefinders and other Electronic Distance Measuring Devices

Q. Is it legal under the Rules of Golf to use a Rangefinder or other Electronic Distance Measuring device?

A. The use of a distance-measuring device is a breach of Rule 14-3, which states that during a stipulated round, the player shall not use any artificial device or unusual equipment for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions which might affect his play (Rule 14-3).

The USGA Handicap System requires players to post scores made when a device which measures distance only has been used (regardless of whether the Committee has adopted the Local Rule described below). Scores made while using a device which measures other conditions which might affect play (e.g., wind speed or the slope of the ground) are not acceptable for Handicapping purposes. Please refer to Section 5-1 of the USGA Handicap System Manual regarding acceptable scores. USGA Handicap Home Page

The Committee may, by Local Rule, permit the use of devices that measure distance only (i.e., the device may not be used to measure other conditions such as wind-speed or the slope of the ground). (Rule 14-3 Note and Decision 14-3/0.5)

The recommended language for such a Local Rule can be found in Appendix I; Part B; Section 9.

If the Committee has adopted a Local Rule permitting the use of distance-measuring devices, these devices may be shared by players (see analogous Decision 5-1/5 regarding the sharing of equipment other than clubs).

Additionally, please refer to the Definition of "Advice" and Decision 8-1/2 which clarify that the distance between objects is a matter of public information and therefore not advice.

Below you can view videos related to this Rule.


Ball be struck at with the head of the club

Rule 14-1 requires that the ball be struck at with the head of the club.

Below you can view videos related to this Rule.


Club inadvertently hits his ball twice

On this chip shot, T.C. Chen's club inadvertently, but clearly hits his ball twice during the final round of the 1985 U.S. Open.