The proposed Rules of Golf language related to distance measuring devices becoming permissible contains a key provision worth noting.
Here's what is said:
(3) Distance-Measuring Devices
- · DMDs allowed: You may use DMDs to measure distance, except when prohibited by Local Rule (this reverses the default position in the current Rules).
This default reversal certainly makes sense given that many believe the game would be much better (and faster) with rangefinders in widespread use. Others will be glad to sell you an expensive device.
I'm happy for all of those who have been clamoring to use their devices. But having watched enough amateur and college golf in person, elite players really only get a speed bump from the devices when they hit a ball so far out of play that they can't get a yardage off of a book.
Otherwise, DMD's merely are used to confirm yardages computed the old fashioned way, especially when the course played is well-designed. Even remotely decent architecture and setup means the yardage to the flagstick is less meaningful.
The retention of the Local Rule language is where this gets fascinating.
Does anyone believe that the folks at Augusta National will want the leader of the Masters to walk up to the 12th tee and, after acknowledging the crowd patrons, pulls out a rangefinder?
Will the PGA Tour really embrace the sight of a player arriving at TPC Sawgrass' 17th tee only to pull out his rangefinder? Worse, what happens when a player can't get the yardage because of competition behind the flagstick? So instead of hearing a great tactical conversation on Sunday of The Players, we hear the leader asking his caddy if he can get a reading?
I suspect the USGA, R&A and PGA of America will allow them at their events given the rule change and their desire to look like they are not impeding something the kids want. But I'm having trouble seeing the other families signing on where they are more conscious of the "look" presented by DMD's.