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

 A caddie and Bryson DeChambeau seen using laser rangefinders
A caddie and Bryson DeChambeau seen using laser rangefinders

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.

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“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.