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Elevation Measuring Device - Did They Get This Rule Wrong?

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So the rules now allow distance measuring devices, I am currently trying out a budget laser range finder with modes for multiple sports... but I suspect it may not have a legal mode for golf and want some opinions.

Mode 1: Gives "elevation adjusted 'golf' distance" automatically.

Mode 2:  Gives a straight line distance in yards as well as elevation in yards.

Mode 3: Gives a straight line distance in yards as well as an angle in degrees from horizontal.

Quote

Common examples of uses of equipment that are allowed and not allowed during a player’s round under this Rule are:

(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).

Mode 1 and 2 are clearly out given the quoted rule part of rule 4.3, but mode 3 is suspect. Do you think that an angle measurement is legal or illegal?

Rule 4.3 states that you can use equipment to help your play but bars equipment that does the following: 

Quote

Using equipment (other than a club or a ball) that artificially eliminates or reduces the need for a skill or judgment that is essential to the challenge of the game, or

I kind of think that the angle measurement wouldn't be allowed if elevation measurement isn't allowed, given that you could just calculate elevation from the angle.

This raises the question though, why in the world would they allow distance measuring but not elevation measurement. The skill or judgement should come from the players ability to choose and execute a shot with perfect knowledge of distance and elevation, not from their ability to judge the elevation... It seems to me they got this wrong.

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29 minutes ago, jshots said:

This raises the question though, why in the world would they allow distance measuring but not elevation measurement. The skill or judgement should come from the players ability to choose and execute a shot with perfect knowledge of distance and elevation, not from their ability to judge the elevation... It seems to me they got this wrong.

They got this exactly right.  You've always been able to get distance information, at first by pacing, then from yardage markers in the fairway, so it made sense to allow distance measuring devices.  However, outside of hiring a surveyor to run level circuits, you've never been able to get accurate elevation change information.  And the way the rule is written, quite appropriately, you're still not allowed to get elevation measurements from your electronic device.

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40 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

They got this exactly right.  You've always been able to get distance information, at first by pacing, then from yardage markers in the fairway, so it made sense to allow distance measuring devices.  However, outside of hiring a surveyor to run level circuits, you've never been able to get accurate elevation change information.  And the way the rule is written, quite appropriately, you're still not allowed to get elevation measurements from your electronic device.

Before yardage markers, I would hardly call it realistic to pace off every single shot. My Grandfather used to tell me how they had no yardage markers and it was all feel and depth perception. Not to mention the difference between a walked off yardage marker +/- flag color and a laser rangefinder is immense. 

I think your logic for distance leads elevation to the exact same place. You can already lookup the elevation of any spot on a course. Its readily available public knowledge, just that your rangefinder can't be the one to tell you.

 

Regardless, what do you think about the angle measurement function?

Edited by jshots

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3 minutes ago, jshots said:

Before yardage markers, I would hardly call it realistic to pace off every single shot. My Grandfather used to tell me how they had no yardage markers and it was all feel and depth perception. Not to mention the difference between a walked off yardage marker +/- flag color and a laser rangefinder is immense. 

I think your logic for distance leads elevation to the exact same place. You can already lookup the elevation of any spot on a course. Its readily available public knowledge, just that your rangefinder can't be the one to tell you.

Nevertheless, it was always possible to get a distance without specialized equipment.  For as long as I've been playing (50 years or so) I've seen yardage markers of one kind or another, commonly every 50 yards from 100 to 200, depending on the hole.  Distance has been marked on cards for much longer.  Distance is a traditionally accepted measure.  And in my experience, if I'm pacing off yardages from markers on a reasonably accurately marked course, use of a laser doesn't add much of anything.  

Again, elevation has always required specialized equipment.  You simply cannot get accurate elevation data without equipment.  And use of equipment to get elevation data on the golf course is unlikely to be acceptable for the foreseeable future.

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I like what @jshots posted about what his Grandfather said about depth perception. Some golfers, myself included, can look at a shot, and know what club to pull. Whether we hit the ball that distance, with that club, is up for grabs....lol

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13 hours ago, Patch said:

I like what @jshots posted about what his Grandfather said about depth perception. Some golfers, myself included, can look at a shot, and know what club to pull. Whether we hit the ball that distance, with that club, is up for grabs....lol

Haha, he would laugh at me trying to get my distance off of my phones GPS. "Back in my day, they didn't even have yardage markers or numbers on the sprinkler heads". 👴

 

19 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Nevertheless, it was always possible to get a distance without specialized equipment.  For as long as I've been playing (50 years or so) I've seen yardage markers of one kind or another, commonly every 50 yards from 100 to 200, depending on the hole.  Distance has been marked on cards for much longer.  Distance is a traditionally accepted measure.  And in my experience, if I'm pacing off yardages from markers on a reasonably accurately marked course, use of a laser doesn't add much of anything.  

Again, elevation has always required specialized equipment.  You simply cannot get accurate elevation data without equipment.  And use of equipment to get elevation data on the golf course is unlikely to be acceptable for the foreseeable future.

Well regardless. I'm trying to write a review for the range finder I bought and am wanting to be sure of the ruling - is the distance measuring mode that also includes an angle measurement (does not display elevation directly) an illegal device?

I'm saying that yes it is because it is because it is essentially the same as an elevation measurement. Just looking for some confirmation of that.

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Also I don't see any mention in the new rules prohibiting the use of "unusual equipment"... Someone get this information to Bryson asap

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Yes, anything that measures the elevation difference - including angles - is illegal.

1 minute ago, jshots said:

Also I don't see any mention in the new rules prohibiting the use of "unusual equipment"... Someone get this information to Bryson asap

Look at Rule 4. The words "unusual" may be gone, but there are still plenty of rules about using equipment.

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19 minutes ago, iacas said:

Look at Rule 4. The words "unusual" may be gone, but there are still plenty of rules about using equipment.

I see rule 4. I'm just joking mainly... but I thought that ultimately part of the reason for his drawing compass ruling was the fact that it was "unusual"

Now maybe it would fall under "reduces the need for a skill or judgment that is essential to the challenge of the game"

Edited by jshots

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As if golfers could do anything with the knowledge that there is a 4 yard drop over 195 yards.

Maybe tour pros, not anyone else.  I remember growing up, all we had was yardarge markers on sprinkler heads and/or stakes or markers in the fairway.  It was all rough estimation and translating visual input into a feel.  I still can't stand it when someone is lasering from 70 yds out. Just hit it for god's sake.  Can you imagine a bball plyer asking for distance before each jump shot?  Just look and pull the trigger.  It's a sport after all.

No problem with range finders and distance.  As for the elevation, i don't care one way or the other because I think it's usability is far overrated compared to common sense and eyesight.

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As long as I've played there has always been something that tells your rough distance.   That is very meaure-able and although some people take their sweet time with their range finders, it does help speed play and that is a good call.

Yeah, wind and elevation is definitely something different and I'm glad they left it out.  It doesn't take much brains to figure distance, but I think it's a good skill to learn if you want to be a better player.  Or at least develop the skills to be a better player.

 

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Sorry, I disagree. If it takes me 5 seconds to get an exact yardage from 70 yards, I’m taking those 5 seconds. 

After the laser I know it’s not 65, and it’s not 75. No guessing=faster play and shorter putts. 

 

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On 3/25/2019 at 1:08 PM, 3jacker said:

As if golfers could do anything with the knowledge that there is a 4 yard drop over 195 yards.

Maybe tour pros, not anyone else.  I remember growing up, all we had was yardarge markers on sprinkler heads and/or stakes or markers in the fairway.  It was all rough estimation and translating visual input into a feel.  I still can't stand it when someone is lasering from 70 yds out. Just hit it for god's sake.  Can you imagine a bball plyer asking for distance before each jump shot?  Just look and pull the trigger.  It's a sport after all.

No problem with range finders and distance.  As for the elevation, i don't care one way or the other because I think it's usability is far overrated compared to common sense and eyesight.

Oh dude! You read my mind! My buddy got a Garmin watch 2 years ago. On full shots I appreciate the info, but when I'm about 55 yards from the hole and he's running up beside my ball to tell me that it's 57 yards, I shake my head. Last year, after one of these pronouncements I asked him, "John, just how precise do you think I am with my distance control?!" 

I've been playing golf for 50+ years as well, and have always depended on my eyes. I'd pace off my distance from the nearest sprinkler head, Kirby marker, stake or whatever, but that was only the initial assessment. More important was how the shot "looked". The yardage might say 7 iron, but if it looked like a 6, that's what I'd hit and I was right more often than not. 

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On 3/25/2019 at 8:39 PM, Augster said:

 

Sorry, I disagree. If it takes me 5 seconds to get an exact yardage from 70 yards, I’m taking those 5 seconds. 

 

I’m fine with the 5 seconds. But I don’t buy it changes your outcome. ‘About 70’ as opposed to 67yds isn’t going to affect your distance to the pin unless your a tour level player. 

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On 3/24/2019 at 1:11 PM, jshots said:

Before yardage markers, I would hardly call it realistic to pace off every single shot. My Grandfather used to tell me how they had no yardage markers and it was all feel and depth perception. Not to mention the difference between a walked off yardage marker +/- flag color and a laser rangefinder is immense. 

I think your logic for distance leads elevation to the exact same place. You can already lookup the elevation of any spot on a course. Its readily available public knowledge, just that your rangefinder can't be the one to tell you.

 

Regardless, what do you think about the angle measurement function?

Many of these new fangled pieces of equipment (old enough to have never used one), if you can turn it on to a distance only mode, it is fine for sanctioned play.  The model I just ordered has an elevation mode as well.  I will keep that on for practice. As long as you can turn it off (and keep it off) there is no need to buy multiple models.

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Did they get this ruling wrong...NOPE.  I think they got a lot of stuff wrong with the rules changes for 2019 but by leaving the ruling about distance measuring devices and not allowing for elevation...they got that right.

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I am surprised that so far everyone has agreed that elevation measurement should be illegal. I thought for sure that people would see it as similar enough to distance measuring.

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19 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I’m fine with the 5 seconds. But I don’t buy it changes your outcome. ‘About 70’ as opposed to 67yds isn’t going to affect your distance to the pin unless your a tour level player. 

For 99.99% of amateur golfers, having a distance for the front, middle and back of the green, then knowing if the hole is cut front, middle or back is plenty close enough.  For a lot of us, just knowing the general direction of the green is close enough.  🤣

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