QA Carts vs Walking GPS Systems

By Frank ThomasJuly 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from GOLF CHANNEL's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email
Riding or walking, the amount of time it takes to actually hit the same number of shots is the same. A foursome of walkers can play a round in about the same time as a foursome of riders. But the golf cart travels much faster than a person walks. The extra time taken by the riders comes mostly from driving back and forth between each players ball positions, as well as some unnecessary chatter. I guess my point is, since most players ride, wouldn't it be a better idea to give each golfer his own cart and shorten the amount of time a round takes?

Allen Doyle
Allen Doyle quizzes Frank on whether or not tees can increase driving distance on 'Ask Frank,' Monday, Aug. 6 at 11:00 p.m. ET on GC. (WireImages)
I suppose this is in a sense an equipment question, if not it doesn't matter, because I feel reasonably passionate about it, so it gives me an opportunity to vent a little.
First, I do think that carts have some place in golf. Without them, how could we have the cart girls who enable us to have an endless supply of goodies during the round? More seriously though, there are those who genuinely need a cart, and would not be able to play the game without one. For these golfers, the cart is wonderful.
Unfortunately, the sad thing about carts is that they have changed the way courses are being designed (100+ yards between the green and the next tee, passing five homes on the way),making it difficult to walk to the next tee and get there on time. As a result, such courses have made it mandatory to use a cart; if per chance you thought of walking, you would be told it is not permitted. The truth of the matter is that the carts are here to stay, and the income derived from the rental fees will assure their existence forever.
Walking a course using a trolley or carrying your bag is not only the way golf is meant to be played, but it also enhances the experience and as a side benefit is equivalent to an average 45-minute workout in the gym. If we walked periodically it would improve our quality of life in general as well as allow us to develop enough stamina to finish our rounds with some gas to spare.
Fred, I am sure that we can speed up play if everybody takes his own cart, but we can also speed up play if we carry our own bags or take a caddie. Golf has changed and carts haven't made it any better. Yes, in many cases carts make the game more accessible to people who really need these aids, but they have also contributed to a 'physique' that today requires us to use the very thing that helped make it that way. Besides, when you use a cart you forfeit the excuse that youre just out for the exercise.
Carts and cart paths are only one example of how we have allowed the game to be exploited and how course design has changed for the worse. I hope the cart has not irrevocably debilitated our game.
Sorry, but I do have an opinion about this piece of equipment.
Let me preface this question by saying that, being the golf fanatic, techie and equipment freak that I am, I look forward to your emails. The one question I have is, Why has the tour not allowed handheld GPS's in tournament play? I notice that the yardage books they use seem like novels, probably having hand written notes such as slope of greens, best place to put the ball depending on pin position, elevation difference for club selection and where to miss the green. They probably wouldn't go to a GPS system instead, but if it was allowed on tour then for the most part any USGA/RCGA sanctioned event we play as amateurs would have a tough time not allowing them, and it would help, be it for lay-ups, distance to the front and back of the green, etc. Until they have one that can pull the trigger' for us, I don't see what the objection could be. What's your opinion on this?
Regards, and thanks again for the column,

In my June 07 Frankly newsletter (click to view), I discussed this very issue and asked our readers for their opinion. Of those who voted, 83% agreed with you, i.e., that EMDs (Electronic Measuring Devices) should be permitted on the PGA TOUR and in major championships.
As you know, use of these devices is not a violation of the rules for most of us. A recent change allows for them under a local rule, which as far as I am concerned means everyday playing conditions. Officially the local rule has to be adopted by the club or course, but this is implied when the cart you ride in has a GPS, or the flags have laser reflectors, etc. The exact wording from the USGA is as follows:
New Decision 14-3/0.5 allows a Committee to permit the use of distance-measuring devices by Local Rule. This applies to devices that measure distance only, not any other conditions that might affect a players play (e.g., wind or gradient). In the absence of such a Local Rule, the use of a distance-measuring device remains contrary to the Rules.
This means that unless the PGA TOUR and other committees in charge of Championships or Tournaments adopt the local rule, these devices are not permitted. I cant imagine why they havent adopted it, and I have to believe that will change in the future.
As you say, it doesnt make sense, but it sometimes takes time for us to get over some traditions. I suggested 14 years ago that this rule 14-3 be amended, because I saw no logic to it. The USGA and others provide hole location sheets for each day of a championship, they allow yardage booklets and the printing of sprinkler heads with exact distances to the green (center, or front, or both plus the back), so theres no reason why an electronic device couldnt be used to provide the same information, only quicker. Nonetheless, the rule didnt change because of logic, but because millions of golfers were ignoring a rule that made no intuitive or common sense. When millions of golfers ignore a rule, it is time to consider how meaningful it is.
I must admit that I am a traditionalist and would like to hold on to as many traditions in the game as possible, but not to the games detriment. We used to wear ties and knickers, even on hot summer days. Some things do change; of this I am as sure as God made little green apples.
Thanks for your very good and logical question.
Click to purchase the Frog PutterFrank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email
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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

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Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”