The USGA’s recent ruling that distance measuring devices are now legal for use in tournament play and in the establishing of handicaps may be a landmark decision for golfers. Unless you’re in Ireland with a 70-year old caddy named Seamus who has been at the same course for 55 years, you probably haven’t been getting completely reliable yardages while playing. It doesn’t matter if you are a 24 handicapper or a scratch golfer, odds are when you play golf with a caddie at least two good things are going to happen: You are going to play faster and you are going to play better mentally because a caddie affords you a knowledge of the course you don’t usually have. With the USGA’s ruling we can now enjoy the luxury of yardage information quite literally at our fingertips. Manufacturers of distance measuring devices have been touting their use for years and many such devices have been used by PGA Tour caddies in measuring courses for tournament play to ensure accurate information during tournament play. Measuring distances with a device is essentially no different than pacing off yardage from a sprinkler head or consulting a yardage book. And it provides greater accuracy in less time, so these devices have the potential to positively affect pace of play. Thanks to the USGA ruling we can all now legally use distance-measuring devices to improve our play. The consumer measuring devices can be broken into two broad categories: laser rangefinders and GPS units. Laser Rangefinders use a built-in reflector to read distances to objects that the user targets, while GPS units use satellite GPS technology to measure the distance to the targets. Both types are small and portable and easy to use. Most laser rangefinders can be used on any course, anywhere. The satellite GPS units require that a course be previously measured before they can be effective. You can easily do this yourself or download courses from a manufacturer’s website. Tens of thousands of courses already recorded. GPS devices give you the exact yardage to the flag the moment you reach the ball. USGA Decision Revised Decision 8-1/2 explains that the distance between any objects, including golf balls, is considered to be a matter of public information and therefore not advice. Such information may be shared without restriction. New Decision 14-3/0.5 also permits the “committee in charge” of a competition or course to adopt a local rule permitting the use of devices that measure distance provided the device is not capable of measuring other conditions which might affect play (wind speed, the slope of the ground, etc.). In conjunction with this change, Decision 17/3.5 was added to permit small non-circular reflectors on flagsticks, and Decisions 14-3/1, 14-3/2, 14-3/3, and 14-3/5.5 were amended in light of the addition of Decision 14-3/0.5. When a local rule has been adopted to allow the use of devices that measure distance only, the players may share the device and, due to the revision of Decision 8-1/2, may share the information provided by the device. The following distance measuring devices each have the ability to act as a handheld caddy, allowing you to worry about one thing: striking quality shots. Bushnell Pinseeker 1500
A company known for its high-powered binoculars and hunting rangefinders, Bushnell has jumped into one of sports’ oldest venues: the golf course. Using a crystal-clear LCD display, Pinseeker tells the golfer the exact distance to every flagstick, bunker, water hazard, or too-slow golfer in front of you. Simply point the Pinseeker towards the target, press the button, and voila! A yardage calculation that is accurate to within one yard of your target. The Pinseeker’s laser is effective from distances of 1,500 yards for highly reflective surfaces, 400 yards for the flagstick. The Pinseeker is extremely durable and easily portable--bring it with you wherever your golfing journey takes you. Powered by a 9-volt battery and outfitted with a carrying case and strap, suggested retail price for the PinSeeker 1500 is $573.95 www.bushnellgolf.com SkyGolf SkyCaddie GPS
Have you ever ridden in a golf cart equipped with a GPS system? Of course you have. It’s a wonderful tool, providing perfect yardages to every landmark on the course. Amazingly, this same technology is now available in the palm of your hand. The SkyCaddie by SkyGolf utilizes GPS tracking to give accurate measurements to any point on the course. The SkyCaddie is not hindered by blind shots, hills, or obstructions--something that can’t be said for laser rangefinders. The SkyCaddie can even tell you how far your last shot went, something that will come in handy when pondering the right club for your next shot as you walk to the ball. Even more impressive is the size and weight of the SkyCaddie. At only 4.8 ounces and only slightly larger than a cell phone, you can take it anywhere. There are over ten thousand courses measured and available on the company’s web site and if a course is not yet there you can request online or easily map it yourself. The SkyCaddie retails for $349 and requires an annual membership plan that ranges from $19.95 to $59.95. www.skygolfgps.com Nikon Laser 800 LaserCaddy
The company promo says serious photographers put their trust in Nikon to capture the perfect image. Nikon believes it’s time for golfers to show that same level of faith. The Laser 800 Nikon LaserCaddy takes the optical clarity that Nikon is known for and brings it to the golf course. This laser rangefinder is able to measure distances of up to 500 yards. A heavy-duty professional casing is water resistant, meaning that golfers who don’t mind playing in the occasional monsoon can still get accurate distance readings. The multi-coated lens offers unmatched clarity and a wide viewing scope, while the sharp LCD display is easy to read against any background. The LaserCaddy weighs slightly more than seven ounces and is accurate to within half a yard on all shots. Powered by a CR-2 lithium camera battery--with an internal display showing how much power is remaining--suggested retail price for the LaserCaddy 800 is $464.95 www.nikonsportoptics.com Tee2Green Technologies sureshot gps
Why is the sureshot gps spelled with all lowercase letters? Because it’s the small things in life that count. Like being able to tell how much is needed to carry a fairway bunker, or getting the information needed to switch from a 5-iron to a 6-iron right before you stick one 10 feet from the pin. Not only is it able to determine accurate distances from anywhere on the course, the sureshot gps can, after a few uses, even give club recommendations based on past performance! Nice. Golfers can keep track of stats during their round, such as greens in regulation and fairways hit. The sureshot gps is even able to analyze its owner’s play at the conclusion of each round, aiding game improvement in a way that wasn’t possible before. All that’s needed is a clear view of the sky and a willingness to get better.
Don’t you hate when your playing partner offers unsolicited advice on the golf course? We’ve all played with a know-it-all before, and more often than not, he doesn’t know much at all. With the QuickRange GPS you can restrict what you hear to that which you actually need. Using a high-powered GPS system that gives accurate distance readings to any point on the course, the QuickRange GPS doesn’t mess around with fragile LCD displays that may be hard to read. It actually tells you the distance to the flag! Just point it towards the sky and open your ears--the QuickRange will talk to you, and unlike your alleged expert partner, it’ll be right every time. The QuickRange GPS features an impressive catalogue of courses that are already uploaded to its system. And if you come across a course that isn’t in QuickRange’s extensive database, you can map it out yourself with no trouble at all. The QuickRange GPS is the simple solution to yardage determination.
The Laser Link Distance System comprises Laser Link Golf’s QuickShot rangefinder, to be used in conjunction with flagstick reflectors.Based in Madison, Wis., Laser Link lists more than 700 mostly private clubs around the country that are outfitted with its flagstick reflectors. Notable courses include Olympia Fields, Castle Pines, Cherry Hills, Lake Nona, Mission Hills, Oak Tree and Cog Hill. The QuickShot rangefinder is a lightweight, pistol-shaped device that simply employs a point and shoot operation. Using a 9-volt battery, it provides distances in both yards and meters. The QuickShot rangefinder has a suggested retail price of $279 and is sold only at on-course locations. For courses contemplating installation of the Laser Link Distance System on flagsticks, company officials point to a cost of under $1,000 per course for its reflectors versus up to $225,000 to acquire and install a full GPS golf-cart satellite system.
www.laserlinkgolf.com iGolf GPS Caddie
The iGolf Golf GPS uses satellites and fixed waypoints on a golf course to accurately measure the distance to the front, center, and back of the green as well as up to eight other important targets per hole. Your number is updated every second and is ready for you when you get to your ball. You can easily program up to 11 targets on any golf hole in the world, or you can choose from over thousands of golf courses available online for download with an iGolf membership. An iGolf Membership costs $29.95 per year and allows you to download any course in the iGolf database. Plus, if your course is not available for download you receive one course credit to use for a custom made course of your choice. You can also purchase additional unmapped courses, and with iGolf once you download a course it is yours to keep forever. The unit runs on AA batteries and carries a suggested retail price of $229.99