What Devices Are Caddies Looking Through At The PGA Championship?

The caddies and players are using rangefinders at this year's PGA Championship.

Devices At PGA Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may have noticed caddies using small devices in between shots during this year's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

What Devices Are Caddies Looking Through At The PGA Championship?

If you are wondering what the devices caddies are looking through at this week's PGA Championship, you're not alone.

These devices are called rangefinders and are distance measuring devices (DMDs) that give the players and caddies precise yardages to the pin, sections of the green or carry yardages over hazards when they are preparing to hit a shot.

In normal tournament conditions, these are not allowed and you'll often see players and caddies referring to their green books which they will have made notes in during practice rounds.

Michael Greller, caddie for Jordan Spieth of the United States, uses a range finder on the first tee during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club .

Related: Best Golf Laser Rangefinders

However, the PGA of America, who runs the PGA Championship, announced in February they would be permitted during tournament rounds at the men's, women's and senior PGA Championships.

The organisation cited that allowing rangefinders to be used in tournament play would help with the flow of play during events by removing the need for caddies and players to relentlessly pour over their pre-prepared green books.

It is yet to be seen whether allowing DMDs at tournaments will actually speed up play.

The reaction on Tour to the announcement was mixed at best, with many players and caddies commenting that the use of rangefinders might be counterintuitive, slowing play down rather than speeding it up.

Justin Thomas uses a rangefinder on the 15th hole during a practice round prior to the Sentry Tournament Of Champions on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club.

Related: Justin Thomas: 'Rangefinders Won't Speed Pace Of Play Up'

The use of DMDs is common throughout the amateur game and the pros use them during practice rounds to record the appropriate distances around the course.

The use of DMDs is also now written in to the Rules of Golf and devices that conform to Rule 4.3a (1) will be allowed:

  • 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).

It will be interesting to hear player and fan reaction to the use of DMDs at this year's PGA Championship.

Whatever happens, don't expect to see them out again this year at any other Tour events or Majors.

Dan Parker
Staff Writer

Dan is a Staff Writer and has been with the Golf Monthly team since 2021. Dan graduated with a Masters degree in International Journalism from the University of Sussex and primarily looks after equipment reviews and buyer's guides, specializing in golf shoe and golf cart reviews. Dan has now tested and reviewed over 30 pairs of golf shoes since he joined Golf Monthly and is an expert in the field. A left-handed golfer, his handicap index is currently 7.8 and he plays at Fulford Heath Golf Club in the West Midlands. 

Dan is currently playing: 

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 

Fairway: TaylorMade Stealth 2 15°, Ping G425 Max 21°

Hybrid: Ping G425 

Irons: Cobra King Tec Utility, Ping i59 (5-PW) 

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro

Putter: Wilson Staff Infinite Buckingham

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x Pix