The PGA Tour will allow players and caddies to use distance-measurement devices — laser rangefinders and GPS watches included — in select events on the Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2017 as part of an experiment to see the effects on pace of play.
Each tour will experiment with the rangefinders in four consecutive events on the schedule. For the Web.com Tour, that stretch begins in May with the BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina from May 18-21, followed by the Rex Hospital Open two weeks later, the Rust-Oleum Championship the following week and the Air Capital Classic the week after that in Wichita, Kan.
PGA Tour Latinoamerica will experiment first, with their first event being the Essential Costa Rica Classic from April 20-23 and ending with the Jamaica Classic from June 15-18. PGA Tour Canada will go last in the cycle of experimentation, with the GolfBC Championship from June 15-18 as the first event and the Mackenzie Investments Open being the last when it’s played in Mirabel, Quebec, from July 20-23.
For these 12 tournaments, the PGA Tour will institute a local rule in accordance with Decision 14-3/0.5 of the Rules of Golf which allows devices to measure distance only. Players and caddies in Monday qualifiers for these events will also be allowed to use rangefinders under this local rule. Functions of these devices measuring slope, elevation or wind will not be allowed.
The results of these events will then be shared with the PGA Tour and its Player Advisory Council for more study, discussion and potential action moving forward.