Posted by James Lepp on February 06, 2014
The USGA’s decision to allow distance-measuring devices in its amateur championships for 2014 is a good one. To me, it’s a no-brainer. To others, it’s a terrible decision. Let's dive in.
First, it helps to level the playing field for those who cannot afford or simply don’t have a caddie versus those that do. Searching, pacing, and calculating takes quite a bit of time if you don’t have a caddie to do it for you, time that otherwise could be spent studying the shot at hand. Caddie or no caddie, now everybody has the same amount of time to plan their shot.
As mentioned in the previous point, it simply saves time. There’s no refuting that. Players now don’t have to search, pace, and calculate. Just point and shoot. I cannot think of one argument against that fact. Faster golf is unquestionably better for the game.
Perhaps one con is that it looks bad? Sure it doesn’t replicate what golf looked like when it was founded. Not many current characteristics do. But I assure you that Ole Tom Morris wanted as many people to enjoy the game as possible. Distance-measuring devices help with that, even if they look a little funny. What would you rather look at – a two group wait on the next tee or a golfer lasering a flagstick?
And perhaps the most important point of all is that they provide no advantage whatsoever. With yardage books and pin sheets, any pro or amateur in a tournament can get the exact distance to whatever they need. To get those distances takes time the old-fashioned way. To get them with a rangefinder takes a pull, aim, and shoot.
So yes, it’s about time. Hopefully, in time, this will just be one small step in speeding up the game of golf.
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