Following a similar move by the R&A recently, the United States Golf Association has approved the use of distance-measuring devices (DMDs) in all of its amateur championships and their respective qualifying events, beginning in 2014.
The announcement was made by the Championship Committee at the USGA’s annual Meeting in Pinehurst, N.C.
The use of distance-measuring devices has been covered by an optional local rule, which has been available under the Rules of Golf since 2006 and the USGA Championship Committee’s vote adopts this optional condition for all USGA amateur championships this year.
This local rule will be introduced for the USGA’s amateur events only and does not apply to the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open championships or their respective qualifying events.
The devices may be used in amateur championships to measure distance only and may not be used to measure other conditions such as wind speed or direction, temperature or elevation.
“We have seen progressive developments in technologies available to golfers who seek to improve their playing performance and enjoyment that also maintain the essential elements of the game,” said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr.,vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee.
“It is in this spirit that we are allowing the use of distance-measuring devices in our amateur competitions,” said O’Toole.
The decision to allow the use of distance-measuring devices follows a recent study of such technologies during the 2013 USGA Women’s State Team and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur championships as part of a broad initiative to identify the causes and solutions to slow play.
From the data collected at these championships, USGA researchers say they found no evidence that DMDs had a negative impact on pace of play and will continue to monitor the use of DMDs in the larger pool of amateur events to further study their effect on pace of play.