The governing bodies have proposed a rule that would allow distance-measuring devices during competition, but it’s possible that we still won’t see them on Sunday afternoons.
There is a local rule that professional tours can adopt that would prohibit rangefinders during tournament rounds.
“It would be inappropriate for me to speculate what the professional tours would do with this change,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules, “but certainly if they were to want to not permit them, they would have the ability to do that through a local rule.”
The USGA and R&A noted that DMD usage has become more widespread in the past decade and are currently allowed throughout the world in most elite amateur competitions.
One PGA Tour caddie told GolfChannel.com: “Caddies will probably always be a part of the game, but lasers take away some of the human ability to make mistakes and especially under pressure at the end; that is part of the charm of the game.”
The caddie added that DMDs would not significantly improve pace of play, because players and caddies still crunch numbers for carry distances as well as to the front and back of greens. If they did allow rangefinders, they’d likely need a “tour model” with no slope adjustment.