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USGA to allow rangefinders at '14 amateur events

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The USGA announced Thursday that it was following the R&A’s lead and allowing distance-measuring devices at its 2014 amateur competitions.

The move is part of the governing bodies’ continuing effort to improve pace of play. The R&A announced Jan. 27 that it would allow DMDs at its amateur events.

The use of DMDs has been covered under an optional local rule since 2006, but the championship committee voted to adopt this condition for all USGA amateur events and qualifiers in 2014. It won’t apply to the professional Opens at the men’s, women’s or seniors' levels, nor its qualifiers. 

The rangefinders will be allowed to measure distance only, not other conditions such as wind speed, temperature or elevation.

“We have seen progressive developments in technologies available to golfesr who seem to improve their playing performance and enjoyment that also maintain the essential elements,” said incoming USGA president Tom O’Toole Jr., who also served as the USGA’s vice president and chairman of the championship committee.

Players at the 2013 USGA Women’s State Team and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur were allowed to use rangefinders, and USGA researchers found no negative impact on pace of play.