Distance Device Debacle, Vol. 339

Jim Achenbach reports that Bushnell's devices measuring slope cannot be used in tournament play as previously reported. However players will NOT be disqualified from competitions allowing the devices as long as the slope aspect device is in his bag or pocket!

According to the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland – golf's two rulesmaking bodies – this slope-measuring rangefinder (the Bushnell Pinseeker 1500, Slope Edition) cannot be used in tournament play. Furthermore, it cannot be used in everyday play if scores are to posted for handicap purposes.

According to Jason Seeman, national sales manager for Bushnell's golf products, the slope rangefinder is selling just as briskly as the company's non-slope rangefinder.

"There continues to be a lot of interest in the Slope Edition," Seeman said. "It shows that golfers really value this information."

In Golfweek's special report on rangefinders in the magazine's April 29 issue, Lew Blakey of the USGA Executive Committee was misquoted in regard to the slope-measuring rangefinder.

With apologies to Blakey, one of golf's foremost rules experts, here is exactly what could happen: If a player has the slope device in his bag or his pocket, he is not disqualified. But the minute he uses it to measure yardage, he is flagged with a DQ.
So will there be referrees in every group with a yellow flag to toss as soon as they think they saw the player using the slope component device, versus the normal version, which looks identical? 

But since we know referrees rarely go with every group, if a player in his group suspects it is being used, how will this be resolved? Is there a paper trail? A memory chip that the "committee" can review to see if the device had been possibly switched and used that day?

The USGA really thought this one out.