Saturday, October 15, 2005

Range Finders Allowed in Tournaments

The USGA has approved the use of Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) devices during tournaments effective January 1, 2006. Apparently, the hunt for distance markers will no longer be as ferocious. The official tours, however, will continue to ban the use of those devices during tournament play.

One argument in favor of the EDMs is they help increase the pace of play by 20 to 30 minutes in a round. Thus, the golf course management companies can increase their revenues by having more players on the course.

I've got mixed feelings about EDMs. I have played with course yardage books, carts with GPS on board, and often times, I feel like screaming, "Too much information!" I don't want information overload when I'm about to hit a shot. Since I love to walk, finding a distance marker, and walking off the distance, works fine for me.

I'm old fashioned and the less electronic equipment intrusion on the sanctity of the golf course, the happier I am.

As to increasing speed of play, I am always for that idea. I walk and can play eighteen holes in less than four hours. I'm not sure how much of slow play is due to looking for distances. It seems slow play is caused more by players taking two or more practice swings, not walking quickly off the greens, not deciding the club to use until at their ball, and so forth. Or, for some, it's an inconsiderate attitude of "I paid the green fee and I'll play as fast as I like."

Regardless, if you're playing in a round of business golf with a client, leave the EDM in your bag. Remember, it's relationship building time, not the time to hit the perfect shot, and have your client watching you peer through your EDM most of the round.


dave said...

If everyone has one it is even so it really doesn't matter. I have been to courses where the markers are off and some know about this and some don't. Besides I don't ride a horse to work.

Suzanne Woo said...

Yes, you're right. If everyone has one, it's better. And, some courses, including my course, has inaccurate markers. I just worry that play will slow down even more.