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PGA Tour To Begin Testing Rangefinders

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Bushnell Tour Z6 Rangefinder (photo Bushnell Golf)

In something that we’ve all been anxiously waiting on for a long time, sources point to the PGA Tour to begin testing the use of distance measuring devices beginning this summer on the tour.

For 4 events on the, Mackenzie (Canadian) and Latinoamerica tours this summer, the PGA Tour will temporarily enact a local rule that will allow distance measuring devices, to measure distance only, but not slope, elevation or wind.

“For years there has been significant discussion and debate about whether distance-measuring devices would have a positive or negative impact on competition at the highest levels of professional golf,” said PGA Tour chief tournaments and competitions officer Andy Pazder.

“The only way we can accurately assess their impact is to conduct an actual test during official competition on one or more of our tours. We look forward to seeing how these tests go and carefully evaluating the use of the devices over those weeks. Our evaluation will consider the impact on pace of play, optics and any other effects they might have on the competition,” he added.

Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch (photo Garmin)
Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch (photo Garmin)

It’s been reported that PGA Tour players and caddies expressed doubt that the use of rangefinders would significantly improve pace of play and contended that lasers could take away some of the “human ability” during competition.

Please help us understand this. Manufacturers have “proven” that the use of laser rangefinders speed up play (see below video from Bushnell) and the 2 major complaints of the PGA Tour are 1) Pace of Play and 2) Pace of Play.

And losing the human element? There’s nothing that fans like less than the player going back and forth on a measurement.

Player: “Are you sure you’ve got 138 to the hole?”

Caddie:  “That’s what I have.”

Player:  “Well, add it up again and let’s be sure.”

Caddie:  “Ok, hang on… Yep, 138.”

Hmmm.  And caddies use them regularly in practice rounds to justify their manual measurements.

In any case, on US soil, the tests will occur at the BMW Charity Pro Am (May 18-21), Rex Hospital Open (June 1-4), Rust-Oleum Championship (June 8-11) and Air Capital Classic (June 15-18).

We’ll stand by anxiously awaiting not only the results, but more importantly, the next steps.