Why Are Players And Caddies Using Rangefinders At The PGA Championship?

The PGA of America allows the use of rangefinders in its Major championships

A caddie and Bryson DeChambeau seen using laser rangefinders
The PGA of America allows the use of rangefinders during its Major championships
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Players and caddies have been spotted frequently using rangefinders at the PGA Championship this week, but isn't that against the rules?

Rangefinders, or DMDs - distance measuring devices, aren't allowed on the PGA Tour or in any of the other three men's Majors, but they actually are allowed in the PGA Championship.

The PGA of America made the change in 2021, saying at the time that they were being introduced to help with the 'flow of play' during the events.

“We’re always interested in methods that may help improve the flow of play during our championships,” Jim Richerson, president of the PGA of America, said at the time.

“The use of distance-measuring devices is already common within the game and is now a part of the Rules of Golf. Players and caddies have long used them during practice rounds to gather relevant yardages.”

Devices that conform to Rule 4.3a (1) are allowed during the PGA Championship:

Rule 4.3a (1) Distance and Directional Information.

  • Allowed: Getting information on distance or direction (such as from a distance-measuring device or compass).
  • Not Allowed: Measuring elevation changes, or Interpreting distance or directional information (such as using a device to get a recommended line of play or club selection based on the location of the player's ball).

The PGA of America also allows the use of rangefinders in its other Major championships, including the KPMG Women's PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship.

While rangefinders are extremely useful for getting quick and accurate yardages, caddies don't always use them as they tend to rely more on their own yardage books most of the time. We've seen plenty of rangefinder use when out of position at the PGA Championship this year, though, so there's certainly an argument that their use has helped with the flow of play.

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x