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Cell Phone GPS Apps Legal or Not? - Page 3

post #37 of 73

Here's my question. Does this rule only come into effect when you are on the course? In other words, can I be standing in the clubhouse and check the weather before I head out? I don't play in any competitions and I only play on a little muni course most of the time where everything is extremely lax, but I was just curious for the future. I'd like to fully understand the rule.

post #38 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by daxc View Post

Here's my question. Does this rule only come into effect when you are on the course? In other words, can I be standing in the clubhouse and check the weather before I head out? I don't play in any competitions and I only play on a little muni course most of the time where everything is extremely lax, but I was just curious for the future. I'd like to fully understand the rule.



The rules apply during a round of golf, which wouldn't technically begin until you've addressed the ball on the first tee.   Up until then everything is just foreplay, for which no rules apply.  

 

post #39 of 73

Well, I think the use of an App during non competition environment certainly helps me play better.  which can be translated to a competition environment, with/without the same App.  The statisitics on some of these Apps certainly let me know where my strong points and weak points.

 

 

 

 

 

post #40 of 73

Smartphone GPS, gray area.

http://www.usga.org/news/2009/November/USGA-R-A-Joint-Statement-On-Electronic-Devices/

 

You may or may not have read that particular article but its almost certain you've heard talk about the rules regarding smartphones for gps distances. I personally think they need to release more information on the subject but I'm wondering what you all think.

 

Its clear that the device can only measure distance and that a smartphone app can only be used when a local rule is in effect. Do these rules apply only to the application or the the entire phone. e.g. most new phones have compasses in them, does this effectively make all these new phones illegal even if the app is not using this feature? It would appear so.

 

It specifically says in the statement referring to applications "the device must not have any other"non-conforming"features. This is the case even if these features are not being used"

 

by definition device would refer to the entire phone, but in other areas they refer to just the application. It seems to me as though they have not well thought out the rule.

 

Personally I wish that they would just come out with a new statement stating that the device must not be used during the round for anything other than distance measurements(even if it is capable of doing so) and non golf related things. Sure its hard to enforce such a thing, but so is every other rule in golf :) , and we all are supposed to be playing on our honors.

 

To sum up: I think it makes no sense that such a device (with illegal capabilities) can be used to phone a wife or do anything non golf related, but can't give you gps distances. In both situations, phoning your wife, or using the gps only app, you have the same access to that information but one is illegal and one isn't. Like I said, its not well thought out.

 

 

 

OH! one other thing, there is a paragraph that states that club selection recommendation is illegal in a device but that it is ok to access info from previous rounds that has been processed prior to the current round. So then if club selection recommendation in your app simply told you what club you hit on average for the distance you currently are from the pin (already processed information from previous rounds) would that be legal?

post #41 of 73

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

To sum up: I think it makes no sense that such a device (with illegal capabilities) can be used to phone a wife or do anything non golf related, but can't give you gps distances. In both situations, phoning your wife, or using the gps only app, you have the same access to that information but one is illegal and one isn't. Like I said, its not well thought out.

 

OH! one other thing, there is a paragraph that states that club selection recommendation is illegal in a device but that it is ok to access info from previous rounds that has been processed prior to the current round. So then if club selection recommendation in your app simply told you what club you hit on average for the distance you currently are from the pin (already processed information from previous rounds) would that be legal?


First, I merged your thread with an existing one. Go back and read and you'll get your answers.

 

To the second, yes, if you write down in a yardage book that "this hole is 178 but plays 154 - an 8I" in a yardage book you can have the yardage book. That's more what it's talking about. Most people don't need to write down their actual standard yardages... but they're welcome to.

post #42 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by jshots View Post

OH! one other thing, there is a paragraph that states that club selection recommendation is illegal in a device but that it is ok to access info from previous rounds that has been processed prior to the current round. So then if club selection recommendation in your app simply told you what club you hit on average for the distance you currently are from the pin (already processed information from previous rounds) would that be legal?
As it's written, it's a little unclear since it gives the example of a chart of yardages. Logically, I think it'd be fair to automate the process of finding the nearest distance in a precomputed table and just giving the result.

However, if I were playing in competition, I would either verify this interpretation before starting, or just stick to looking it up on the chart myself. There's no sense in pushing the boundaries.
post #43 of 73
Thread Starter 

Well I worked out a way to make my iphone using golfshot legal again (I think). I jailbroke it and then installed a program called iFile that lets you delete any application on the phone. So I deleted the compass app and thus now my phone has no compass and doesn't indicate anything but distance.

post #44 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by k14 View Post

Well I worked out a way to make my iphone using golfshot legal again (I think). I jailbroke it and then installed a program called iFile that lets you delete any application on the phone. So I deleted the compass app and thus now my phone has no compass and doesn't indicate anything but distance.


Unfortunately, your phone still has a compass built in, you've just removed the app that is one way of taking readings from it. From http://www.usga.org/news/2009/November/USGA-R-A-Joint-Statement-On-Electronic-Devices/ talking about non conforming features like the compass:

 

Quote:
There would be a breach of the Rules even if all of the above features can be  switched off or disengaged, and in fact are switched off or disengaged.

 

It's a bit of a mess really. The rule was written before anyone imagined that it would be possible to download an app to many common phones that would give accurate yardage measurements for very little cost. The rules weren't written with the intention to outlaw iPhones & other smart phones as distance measuring devices, but the USGA and R&A interpretation is that currently they do.

 

The rules are updated on a regular schedule and I believe the next update is due at the end of the year and hopefully it will clarify the situation. I personally think that based on the principle that golf is a game which expects honesty from participants, that we should be able to use an iPhone as a DMD, as long as we don't access the compass or any other feature that is against the rules, and I'm hoping that this is what will be announced at the end of the year. But until then I've stopped using my iPhone and GolfShot during competitions at my club. While no one complained about me using it previously, and I don't believe that I was gaining any advantage over someone using a dedicated GPS unit, I've stopped using it as it's against the rules as they currently stand.

 

 

post #45 of 73

If we're allowed to use other devices such as those built into trolleys (MotoCaddy S3) that give for example temperature readings and those devices have a "competition mode" which removes certain information to prevent a breach of rule 14-3 then I can't see how the use of GPS on a phone is any different, providing there's proof that the illegal functions are not usable?

post #46 of 73

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniBlueDragon View Post

If we're allowed to use other devices such as those built into trolleys (MotoCaddy S3) that give for example temperature readings and those devices have a "competition mode" which removes certain information to prevent a breach of rule 14-3 then I can't see how the use of GPS on a phone is any different, providing there's proof that the illegal functions are not usable?

 

I believe that the distinction is that "competition mode" disables the distance measuring function. Thus you're no longer using the trolley as a DMD (distance measuring device) so it doesn't fall under the rules for DMDs. With the iPhone (et al) you're still using it as a DMD, and so what I've quoted above applies. Under that same distinction you may carry an iPhone during a competition and use it to check the R&A rules app or for any other non DMD purpose that is within the rules even with the compass app installed (obviously you can't use it). It's only once you use the iPhone as a DMD that the compass (whether you use it or not, and even if it's switched off or disengaged) makes it non-comforming.

 

It's somewhat rediculous, but that's where we stand at the moment.

 

post #47 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mordan View Post




Unfortunately, your phone still has a compass built in, you've just removed the app that is one way of taking readings from it. From http://www.usga.org/news/2009/November/USGA-R-A-Joint-Statement-On-Electronic-Devices/ talking about non conforming features like the compass:

 

Well does it? For the clause relating to an Iphone it says:

 

3.     Multi-functional devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, etc (i.e., devices that are primarily communication devices, but which may have other potential uses) may be used as follows:

·         The device may be used for any non-golfing purpose (e.g., as a communication tool to phone, text or email), subject to any club/course regulations and the rules on accessing advice-related matters – see Decision 14-3/16.

·         When the local rule is in effect, a distance-measuring application may be used, provided the specific application is restricted to “distance only” and the device does not have any other “non-conforming” features. This is the case even if these other features are not being used. As above, the rules on advice-related communications (including the use of the internet) still apply.
 

The part in bold is the crucial phrase. If the software that enables the compass means you cannot use it then does the device still have the feature (being a compass). I can see an argument for both sides. Me being biased would argue that for a device to have a feature it would need to be accessible whilst on the course. For my phone it isn't, thus I wouldn't class it as having that specific feature. Just because the hardware supports it doesn't mean the software actually enables it. It is quite common for a tech device to come out without specific hardware features enabled. The Iphone 4 supposedly has an FM tuner in hardware, it isn't enabled in software so most definitely is not a feature. The same could be said for the compass. If apple released a version of iOS with the compass disabled then surely the Iphone no longer has the compass feature.

post #48 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by k14 View Post

Well does it? For the clause relating to an Iphone it says:


·         When the local rule is in effect, a distance-measuring application may be used, provided the specific application is restricted to “distance only” and the device does not have any other “non-conforming” features. This is the case even if these other features are not being used. As above, the rules on advice-related communications (including the use of the internet) still apply.
 

The part in bold is the crucial phrase. If the software that enables the compass means you cannot use it then does the device still have the feature (being a compass). I can see an argument for both sides. Me being biased would argue that for a device to have a feature it would need to be accessible whilst on the course. For my phone it isn't, thus I wouldn't class it as having that specific feature. Just because the hardware supports it doesn't mean the software actually enables it. It is quite common for a tech device to come out without specific hardware features enabled. The Iphone 4 supposedly has an FM tuner in hardware, it isn't enabled in software so most definitely is not a feature. The same could be said for the compass. If apple released a version of iOS with the compass disabled then surely the Iphone no longer has the compass feature.

 

You can't pick one part of the statement where you may be able to argue there is a loop hole, and completely ignore the quite specific part that refers to features like the compass and says "There would be a breach of the Rules even if all of the above features can be switched off or disengaged, and in fact are switched off or disengaged".

 

Even if you're going to try and argue that removing the compass app is more than just switching it off or disengaging it, do you still have Maps installed? Maps has a feature that allows you to rotate the view so the map corresponds to the direction you're facing, it clearly uses the compass feature of the phone so I don't see how you could argue it's switched off or disabled. Plus you could easily use this just like the compass app to work out your heading.

 

In the end, if you want to try and interpret the rules to suit yourself then you'll do it regardless of what I say. But I believe that golf is a game built around honesty, and that means staying clearly on the right side of the rules. If there is any doubt then it's your responsibility to find, or ask for, a clear and definitive ruling to make sure you're within the rules. At the moment you may argue that there isn't a clear and definitive ruling against iPhones, but that's not the same thing as a clear and definitive ruling that iPhones are legal to use as DMDs.

 

I'm really hoping this is all clarified in the upcoming rules release, and that the USGA and R&A realise that the way things are progressing may mean that they need to be able to respond to technology changes faster than they are at the moment. But I'm not holding my breath.

post #49 of 73
Thread Starter 

The way the ruling reads is even misleading. Does clause 1 and 2 apply to "Multi-functional devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, etc " or only clause 3? They use slightly different wording for each clause which is even more confusing. Hopefully they just say that compasses are legal or something like that and this whole thing will be fixed!

 

If in the start they had just defined the "distance measuring device" as the software and not the hardware all of this would have been avoided. The dictionary definition of a device is "a thing made for a particular purpose; an invention or contrivance, especially a mechanical or electrical one". Using this definition the actual device used for distance measuring is surely the software and not the hardware. Because the software (Golfshot, Mobitee) does not have a compass built in then it is not in breach of the rules. But alas, the R & A aren't that straight forward.

 

I really don't want to breach the rules (or cheat if you want) but it's so frustrating when it is clear that the perceived intent of the rules are different from the application.

post #50 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by k14 View Post

The way the ruling reads is even misleading. Does clause 1 and 2 apply to "Multi-functional devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, etc " or only clause 3? They use slightly different wording for each clause which is even more confusing. Hopefully they just say that compasses are legal or something like that and this whole thing will be fixed!

 

If in the start they had just defined the "distance measuring device" as the software and not the hardware all of this would have been avoided. The dictionary definition of a device is "a thing made for a particular purpose; an invention or contrivance, especially a mechanical or electrical one". Using this definition the actual device used for distance measuring is surely the software and not the hardware. Because the software (Golfshot, Mobitee) does not have a compass built in then it is not in breach of the rules. But alas, the R & A aren't that straight forward.

 

I really don't want to breach the rules (or cheat if you want) but it's so frustrating when it is clear that the perceived intent of the rules are different from the application.


I agree that the wording is a little unclear. I also find it inconsistent that the golfer is trusted to report their own breaches of the rules in most other circumstances, and yet apparantly isn't trusted not to use a compass feature of their phone when using it as a DMD. The golfer however is trusted not to use the compass feature of their phone if they're using their phone for another purpose like looking up a ruling in the R&A's own rules app.

 

I use my iPhone as a DMD for all non-competition rounds, and I don't feel like I'm gaining an unfair advantage but for a competitive round it's out (at least until the rules are updated). So far I've not bought a dedicated DMD in the hope that it's only a few more months until this is resolved and that it becomes legal but it is very frustrating at the moment.

 

post #51 of 73

Any gps is capable of finding slope becuase they give elevation and slope is nothing but elevation change over distance.

 

Really I think this is a question of weather or not these should be allowed in tournaments. During normal play people are trusted not to take gimmies or "adjust" their lies, so i see no reason that a person who knows the rules on what they can and cannot do with their phone should not be trusted to not do those things. 

 

During a tournament though that is different and I think that each tournament should simply specify themselves for clarity.

post #52 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by LankyLefty View Post

Any gps is capable of finding slope becuase they give elevation and slope is nothing but elevation change over distance.

 

Really I think this is a question of weather or not these should be allowed in tournaments. During normal play people are trusted not to take gimmies or "adjust" their lies, so i see no reason that a person who knows the rules on what they can and cannot do with their phone should not be trusted to not do those things. 

 

During a tournament though that is different and I think that each tournament should simply specify themselves for clarity.


You are totally wrong.  My golf dedicated GPS gives only straight line, point to point distance as if the course was plotted on a surface as flat as a tabletop.  It does NOT give any altitude information.  I've never seen a golf GPS that does.  If it did, then it would be as illegal as a laser which has the slope feature, even if the slope is turned off.  My hiking GPS and my auto GPS both do give altitude, but I don't use either of them on the golf course.  I'm not sure how that would help anyway, since even those only give altitude at the location of the unit, not to the target waypoint.

 

This is why the cell phone apps are considered questionable at best.  Since the user is just as capable of installing a compass app, or a GPS app which measures altitude, or obtaining weather information, conceivably even installing topographic mapping information, such instruments come very close to crossing the prohibition line in the rule.  For that reason many competitions will not allow them. 

 

post #53 of 73

GPS gives altitude, weather or not it is displayed... is another story but all GPS devices gets altitude data.

 

Basically the point Im trying to make is that is people are determined to cheat... they are gonna cheat. I don't think using a phone is any worse them someone who kicks their balls out of bad lies. Golf is at some level a game that must trust the player, so I don't see how a phone is something that should be specifically banned.

post #54 of 73

When you have rules and laws for an activity, they need to be reviewed periodically to ensure enforcement outcomes are reasonable, and support the intent of the law.

 

I fail to see how a compass is going to help me read the grain on the greens, or chart wind direction. This is one of those issues that lawyers and theologians love, but drives everyday people crazy.

 

A personal bother is this. I recently bought an iPhone 4 as a replacement for my very basic cellphone. I would like to use one of the rangefinding apps while I'm playing golf. I really don't want to spend another $300 for a more-primitive dedicated GPS/rangefinder unit.

 

USGA and R&A need to have a rules meeting this fall just on electronic technology issues. Have some discussion - maybe even listen to everyday golfers - and make adjustments.

 

Possibly someone can invent a GPS/rf  app that does only things allowed by the rules of golf, and blocks "illegal" features from being used.

 

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As for iP4, the control switch allows you to "sleep" an ap quickly, and toggle back when you need it again. And, battery quite robust.

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