Stemming from the recent proposed changes to the Rules of Golf, the PGA Tour on Tuesday announced it will begin testing distance-measuring devices (DMDs) during competition rounds on the Web.com tour, Mackenzie tour and PGA tour Latinoamérica later this year.
One of the USGA and R&A's proposed rules changes was to allow DMDs beginning in 2019, although a local rule could be adopted to ban them on pro tours.
For the testing, players and caddies will be allowed to use rangefinders during four consecutive pre-determined tournaments this summer. The testing begins in April and will be finished in July. After the tests and evaluations are finished, the Tour and player advisory council will discuss the findings and reassess the situation. Andy Pazder, the chief tournaments and competitions officer for the Tour, said the evaluation "will consider the impact on pace of play, optics and any other effects they might have on the competition."
Rangefinders being allowed on Tour might speed up the game, but it would be quite the change, especially for caddies. Last month, John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, said in GOLF's Tour Confidential that if rangefinders were allowed it would take out the skill involved with figuring out yardages.
"To be able to simply whip out your DMD and laser the flagstick would take out an important component of what the players and the caddies have to do," Wood said.