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R&A / USGA DMS for amateurs

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http://www.randa.org/en/RandA/News/News/2014/January/THE-R-and-A-ALLOWS-DISTANCE-MEASURING-DEVICES-IN-ITS-AMATEUR-EVENTS-IN-2014.aspx http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/blogs/local-knowledge/2014/01/usga-still-deciding-on-allowing-distance-measuring-devices-f.html
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It's about time. Next step is getting them in the hands of professionals. I would like to see the tours issue GPS devices. It is silly that anyone with a couple hundred dollars to spare can have more accurate yardage info while playing than the guys playing for millions of dollars.

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It's about time. Next step is getting them in the hands of professionals. I would like to see the tours issue GPS devices. It is silly that anyone with a couple hundred dollars to spare can have more accurate yardage info while playing than the guys playing for millions of dollars.

Really?  You think that they don't have information as accurate as you do?  Their yardage books are more accurate than your laser, because they are made using the slope version, usually the Bushnell 1600 or what ever the most current model is.  They measure anything and everything that could possibly be pertinent.  That data is all compiled on Monday or Tuesday of the tournament week, partly by the caddies and partly by the players.

By the rules you are not allowed to use any DMD which measures slope during a competition or handicap round, so the detailed yardage book that they compile puts them one up on you.

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During the rounds players and caddies still have to do calculations by hand from yardages paced off from markers.

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During the rounds players and caddies still have to do calculations by hand from yardages paced off from markers.

There is a lot less pacing that you might think.  I worked a PGA Tour event for 4 years and watched them in the practice rounds as well as in the competition play.  They have so many course features marked that they rarely have to pace more than 10 yards.  The don't really calculate because all of the numbers are in the book.  If it's 157 yards from the front edge of the bunker to the middle of the green, and the hole is cut 5 yards in, they pace off 7 yards from bunker to ball, then it isn't exactly higher math to come up with a 145 yard shot.  That can be done in about the same amount of time that it takes to get the laser out of its case, take a reading, then take it again to be sure you got it right.

I don't have any issue with it they do decide to allow it, but it won't really change how they play, nor will it make them any faster.  The odds are that they will still have the book and double check it against the laser.

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When I started in the game there was typically a bush or pine tree planted at the 150 yard position.  It was on the players to familiarize themselves with the course and learn what club to hit from certain positions.  Of course, if one played numerous public courses it was more difficult to dial in the distances but that was just the way it was.

I own a GPS but at times I wonder if we haven't lost something from the game in the ability to judge distances.  Any fool can look at a GPS or laser a flag.  There is some talent in having the "feel" for distances just from eye-balling the target.

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There is a lot less pacing that you might think.  I worked a PGA Tour event for 4 years and watched them in the practice rounds as well as in the competition play.  They have so many course features marked that they rarely have to pace more than 10 yards.  The don't really calculate because all of the numbers are in the book.  If it's 157 yards from the front edge of the bunker to the middle of the green, and the hole is cut 5 yards in, they pace off 7 yards from bunker to ball, then it isn't exactly higher math to come up with a 145 yard shot.  That can be done in about the same amount of time that it takes to get the laser out of its case, take a reading, then take it again to be sure you got it right.

Not to mention that with a laser you only get the distance between your ball and the pin. From the notes pros get to know how much green there is between the pin and the closest hazards. And that data is always accurate, unlike the one provided by GPS devices such as GolfBuddy or Garmin G-series.

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Not to mention that with a laser you only get the distance between your ball and the pin. From the notes pros get to know how much green there is between the pin and the closest hazards. And that data is always accurate, unlike the one provided by GPS devices such as GolfBuddy or Garmin G-series.


I thought anything could be shot for distance with the laser devices? Edge of bunker, base of tree, ball in fairway, leg of someone in the group in front of you, at least it seems that way when I play with the lasers inside the golf store (distance to manikins, bags, signs, displays, racks, all seem to work). Maybe it is different on the course.

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I think Ignorant was saying that you can only get a distance from where you are standing to an object, not the distance between two objects that are not adjacent to you (eg the distance between the flagstick and a greenside bunker to one side).

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ignorant

Not to mention that with a laser you only get the distance between your ball and the pin. From the notes pros get to know how much green there is between the pin and the closest hazards. And that data is always accurate, unlike the one provided by GPS devices such as GolfBuddy or Garmin G-series.

I thought anything could be shot for distance with the laser devices? Edge of bunker, base of tree, ball in fairway, leg of someone in the group in front of you, at least it seems that way when I play with the lasers inside the golf store (distance to manikins, bags, signs, displays, racks, all seem to work). Maybe it is different on the course.

You can also only shoot a consistent measurement to something with a decent surface to bounce the beam off of.  The more indistinct or sloped the surface is the less accurate or decisive the measurement will be.

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When people are talking about the tour guys going this way I do think there's a fairly big difference between R&A; amateur events and Pro tournaments - in R&A; amateur events they don't always have a caddy and they don't always play practice rounds. Although I think it's a great idea for the amateur guys, I think the caddies do a great job of telling their players what the yardages are. The rule in golf that states that you can only get advice from your caddy is an important one - at the pro level it means it becomes (to an extent) a team effort. There are good caddies and possibly not so good ones and great partnerships have grown out of great players teamed with great caddies. Anything that takes any of the skill involved with differentiating one of the best caddies from the rest isn't really a step forward in my view. As an aside, I heard of a caddy once, on assessing his players state coming down the stretch (he was catching the leader and was hyped) deliberately giving slightly shorter yardages than the truth, knowing his guy always flew the ball that extra few yards with the adrenalin pumping. True or not? No idea but technology doesn't always trump decent common sense.
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You can also only shoot a consistent measurement to something with a decent surface to bounce the beam off of.  The more indistinct or sloped the surface is the less accurate or decisive the measurement will be.

Interesting. If and whenever I decide to buy a laser I'm going to have to take it outside the store and field test it a bit.

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Now we have this to contend with.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sports/golfing/approach-g8/prod144530.html

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I think Ignorant was saying that you can only get a distance from where you are standing to an object, not the distance between two objects that are not adjacent to you (eg the distance between the flagstick and a greenside bunker to one side).

That is what I meant. But also that it is not necessarily possible to get a reading from an edge of a bunker if it is not well visible to you. All hazards with their exact locations are in the notes which alwasy gives you a better starting point, and of course faster.

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I must confess, I struggle to see what that device does that is truly useful over and above the Golfshot app I have on my phone costing £20 ($33) over here. I use it when I don't know a course as it's quicker than a course planner and pacing out for social play. Other than try to tell you what club to hit, which frankly I'd find as annoying as the trend in modern cars when it tells you what gear you 'should' be in, it basically does pretty much the same as the app. In fact the extra 'features' such as telling you which club to hit, including taking into consideration uphill or downhill to the flag, would not only irritate me (half the fun of plotting your way round the course and course management is working these things out for yourself), it may even be counter productive, especially to a beginner. Is that an 8 iron bearing in mind it's a cold day? Pretty sheltered spot, but is it still an 8 with that breeze I felt walking up to the tee? It's downhill so it's saying 8 not 7, but that means the very slight breeze into me will have more of an effect as I'll hit it higher, so it'll need some extra club - in fact a knock down 7 is the club from up here. Course management, pitting yourself against the course and out thinking it is part of the fun, especially as you progress and on tougher courses. Walk up to ball, look at gadget, pull club it tells me to pull doesn't sound that appealing if I'm honest.
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PlaysLike Distance

Despite its slim profile, the Approach G8 debuts a substantial range of features to help you take on any course. PlaysLike Distance gives golfers distances to the target, adjusted for uphill or downhill shots.

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PlaysLike Distance

Despite its slim profile, the Approach G8 debuts a substantial range of features to help you take on any course. PlaysLike Distance gives golfers distances to the target, adjusted for uphill or downhill shots.

I know mate, and that's my point - the adjudtment for downhill, for example, is subject to ourside conditions. A '1 club wind' (ie requires an extra club into it than the yardage in still air) may well be a '2 club wind' downhill if your shooting right into it. So say it would normally be an 8 iron, the gizmo may 'correct' it to a 9 for downhill, and you may think "take an extra club so it's back to an 8." But a wind into an exposed steep slope pushes it a tad higher so the wind the gizmo doesn't know about has more of an effect than on the flat. And what about correcting for temperature? Basically it's doing half the calculation, disregarding factors that may effect it. I'd trust myself more than I'd trust it which would just make its selection irritating.

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