Players and caddies will be able to use range finders at Kiawah Island as PGA of America look to speed up the game

The PGA of America have announced they will allow distance-measuring devices at their events – starting with the PGA Championship in May, as well as the following week’s Senior PGA Championship and Women’s PGA Championship in June.

The governing body’s president, Jim Richerson, says the use of DMDs – including laser range finders – aims to “improve the flow of play during our championships”.

He added: “The use of distance-measuring devices is already common within the game and is now a part of the Rules of Golf. Players and caddies have long used them during practice rounds to gather relevant yardages.”

Changes to the Rules of Golf, which came into effect in 2019, allowed players to use distance measuring devices under Rule 4.3a (1).

There were caveats – measuring elevation changes or interpreting distance or directional information was not allowed.

Committees could, however, adopt a local rule which prohibited such use. It reversed, in the Rules, what had previously been the default position.

At the time, the R&A and USGA said that allowing DMD use was “consistent with the principles of the game” and argued the changes, and their widespread use in most amateur competitions, would help avoid confusion.

It’s a move that’s sure to rile up the traditionalist crowd – and a quick scan of social media suggests it already has – but anything that speeds up the game and brings golf a bit closer to the 21st century is all right in my book.

Do you agree, or should DMDs be kept out of the professional game? Let me know in the comments below, or you can tweet me.

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