PGA of America to Allow Golfers to Use Distance-Measuring Devices at Its Majors

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2021

Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, measures the distance before hitting his drive on the 18th hole during a practice round for the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Golfers will be allowed to use distance-measuring devices beginning with the 2021 PGA Championship after a rule change from PGA of America.Β 

Players will be able to use devices to measure the exact yardage to the hole or potential hazards, although they can't use anything that interprets the information, such as recommending club choice or lines of play.

"We're always interested in methods that may help improve the flow of play during our Championships," President of the PGA of America Jim Richerson said in a statement. "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."

The organization oversees three majors each year: the men's PGA Championship, KPMG Women's PGA Championship and KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Golfers will now be able to use the devices at each of these events.

Players and caddies currently use devices to assist them in practice rounds, although any extra technology is banned during official rounds.

During tournaments, caddies usually use yardage books, which has information on distance and elevation changes.

The PGA of America believes replacing the books with more accurate devices could improve the pace of play as golfers determine their next shots.

Players like Bryson DeChambeau, who was disallowed from using aΒ drawing compassΒ in the past, would most likely take advantage of the use of added technology.

The 2021 PGA Championship is currently scheduled to begin on May 20 fromΒ The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.