Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ask Linda #1571-Use of mobile devices during round

Hi Linda,
Within the last few years the rules allow for distance measuring devices to be used providing they only measure distance and not slope. All this under local rule, of course. Devices which measure both distance and slope are not allowed. There are apparently exceptions to certain models of these dual function devices, as they have a part that is removed to disable slope which is also color coded to satisfy any fellow competitor that they are legal. Now we get to the mobile phone or tablet. There are golf apps available that provide for scoring and GPS location and maps of the golf course. I understand that these apps function within the boundaries of the local rule. These mobile devices also have the information from around the world available to them, including the rules of golf (good) and directional information with compass apps (bad), wind velocity and direction, swing tips, etc. What is the status of such a device on the golf course?
Thanks as always.
Lulu from Mississauga, Ontario

Dear Lulu,

If the Committee has adopted a Local Rule to permit the use of distance-measuring devices (as per the Note to Rule 14-3), players may use any device that measures distance. If that device has other functions that might aid the player (e.g., elevation change, wind speed, etc.), the player may not use those functions during her round [Decision 14-3/0.5]. The player may, however, use a weather app on a mobile device, as it does not measure or gauge the wind or weather but simply report it from a weather station.

Incidentally, players are permitted to use compasses. Compasses only determine direction; they do not measure variable conditions and do not provide assistance to the golfer in violation of any Rule [Decision 14-3/4].

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.