Golf Australia

Use of distance-measuring devices

Use of Distance-Measuring Devices

2019 Rule: The current default position in the Rules will be reversed:

  • Rule 4.3 will allow players to use DMDs to measure distance.
  • But a Committee may adopt a Local Rule prohibiting such use of DMDs.

Reasons for Change:

Allowing DMD use is consistent with the principles of the game:

  • Figuring out the distance to the hole or to another location on the course is not one of the decisions that the Rules expect players to make using only their own skill and judgment or only with a caddie’s advice.
  • Distance is public information a player may get from anyone; and on most courses, this information is found on sprinkler heads, markers, posts, etc.

DMD use has become widespread in the 10 or so years since they were introduced, and they are allowed at most clubs throughout the world and in most amateur competitions, including (since 2014) at USGA and R&A amateur championships.

Reversing the default position will help avoid the confusion that sometimes exists today when clubs or players do not realize that DMD use requires adoption of a Local Rule.

At the same time, Committees that are not comfortable with allowing use of electronic devices such as DMDs on their course generally or during a particular competition may still prohibit their use.













Posted by Frank Loh at
25/11/2018 07:26 PM
With this rule can a DMD which incorporate a ‘slope distance compensator’ be used?
Posted by Bruce Phillips at
24/11/2018 04:23 PM
Some devices have slope technology (with red plate over the lens) which is currently prohibited. Do the 2019 rules allow slope technology enabled DMD's?
Posted by David Fitchett at
20/10/2018 08:21 AM
Great decision to speed up play. It makes a huge difference when playing unknown courses. It will likely speed up most professional rounds too. I agree distance judgement was a very important skill once however technology has moved us past that point and it should now be used by all
Posted by stan smythe at
06/10/2018 10:32 AM
putting is a skill ,chipping is a skill, bunker play is a skill, so should reading distance
Posted by Michael Costello at
27/08/2018 04:17 PM
I've always felt that DMDs are unnecessary and ethically questionable. Clearly most people can use this technology but how many average golfers can actually hit a 75m pitch or a 145m mid iron? Give me the fixed red and blue distance markers and I'll take it from there. This is the skill, the whole point, of the game!

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