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R&A logoA question was raised at the Delegates Meeting regarding the latest situation on using phone apps as Distance Measuring Devices.  As there have been issues around the use of other potential apps which might contravene the rules, this has been clarified in the latest Rules of Golf which came into effect January 2016.


During a stipulated round, the use of any distance-measuring device is not permitted unless the Committee has introduced a Local Rule to that effect (see Note to Rule 14-3 and Appendix 1’ Part A’ Section 7).

Even when the Local Rule is in effect, the device must not be used for any purposes that are prohibited by Rule 14-3, including but not limited to;

  • The gauging or measuring of slope;
  • The gauging or measuring of other conditions that might affect play (e.g. wind speed or direction);
  • Recommendations that might assist the player in making a stroke or in his play (e.g. club selection, type of shot to be played, green reading or any other advice related matter); or
  • Calculating the effective distance between two points based on elevation changes or other conditions affecting shot distance.

A multi-functions device, such as a smartphone or PDA may be used as a distance-measuring device, but it must not be used to gauge or measure other conditions where doing so would be a breach of Rule 14-3.

The R&A web site is an excellent and comprehensive source of information on the rules, with explanations, examples and videos to demonstrate various situations.  There is also a Rules Quiz that you might like to encourage your ladies section to ‘have a go’!  Don’t forget to carry the latest Rules of Golf 2016 every time you play.

Click here to access the R&A rules.