Are Golf Laser Rangefinders Legal?

You may be an avid golfer and know that there has been some contention with regard to the use of laser rangefinders in the golf course. Your confusion may actually have some merit. For a long time, the United States Golf Association (USGA), did not allow electronic devices on the golf course. However, in 2014, some players did start to use distance measuring devices during games. In 2019, there were further amendments to the restrictions, giving golfers a little more leeway with regards to the use of rangefinders and distance measuring devices such as GPS and other golf apps.

So are golf laser rangefinder legal?

Go on reading and you will get the answers.

using rangefinder for golf

Understanding the USGA Rule 14-3

Under the USGA rule 14-3, golfers will not use any devices that could give them an unfair advantage in the game. The rule comes under artificial devices and unusual equipment section. When on the greens, the assumption is that all the players are equal and must use their skills and abilities to compete against each other. This effectively made the use of laser rangefinders and distance measuring devices illegal. Any player found contravening the restrictions would face this qualification or other penalties.

In 2006 there was a revision to the rule. Players could now use the distance measuring devices but, only if they did not have certain features. In 2016, there was a further amendment to the rule, and the devices could have certain features as long as the player disabled them or turn them off during the game.

Under the 2019 rules, you can use the DMD even without the local rules. However, the committees still have a lot of power. The use of the distance measuring devices is subject to the local rules that the committee would come up with. In the case that the committee members feel uncomfortable, allowing the use of such devices, they were within their rights to prohibited. The local rules are specific to the different golfing events and can change from time to time.

Recommended Laser Rangefinder For Golf Without Slope

  • The most cost-effective rangefinder you can find on the market to provide you reliable performance for golfing, hunting, bowhunting, and other professional application. Both models have slope functions. The slope switch is for tournament legal.
  • Provide high-precision distance measurement. Integrates latest functions such as continuous range readings, ARC (angle range compensation), Pin-Seeking and Flagpole-Locking Vibration (Vibrate when the flagpole is locked), and Speed Measuring
  • Measuring range from 5 to 650 yards, with +/- 1m high accuracy and 6x magnification. The flagpole locking function supports a distance up to 150 yards (Flagpole only) and 250 yards (Aim the flag when it's unfolded). Our rangefinder can meet most user’s needs
  • Fully multi-coated optics lenses effectively reduce reflected light and increase the transmission of light giving you a brighter clear image. The diopter is adjustable for precise focus on display
  • TOURNAMENT LEGAL: The "650y with slope switch" version features a slope switch that can let you turn off the slope function anytime you want, making your tournament legal. We are confident in our product and will provide a 1-year warranty. If you meet any quality issue with our product, we’ll directly send a new one or a full refund is optional (Except second-hand product).
  • 【Excellent Golf&Hunting Rangefinder】Provide you everything you need for golfing, hunting, bowhunting, and other professional application with reliable product quality and after-sales service. General Golf and Slope Golf Mode,The physical slope switch is for tournament legal.
  • 【SLOPE & FLAG-POLE LOCKING 】- Slope function compensates incline or decline of slopes, calculating not only the horizontal, but the trajectory path length between you and the target. Flag-pole locking enhance your targeting process, giving you vibration feedback after distinguishing and identifying your target.
  • 【ACCURATE with Stabilizing Feature】Measuring range from 5 to 1500 yards,flag-lock up to 350+ yards with +/- 1m high accuracy. Vibrate when the flagpole is locked Under Mode "M2" ,when you make flag-lock ,you can Scan the flag 3 seconds which will to slove the problem if your hands shake. (Please ping the flag, not try to ping the stick).
  • 【FAST FOCUS SYSTEM】Rangefinder is 6X Magnification ,Even with glasses on, you will not have any issues adjusting the focus to see the target clearly, simply turn the eye piece to focus on your target, and the range finder is waterproof LCD Digital display,.To help save battery the rangefinder will automatically shut down after 3 seconds of inactivity. To turn it back on, simply press the power button again.
  • 【 WHAT YOU GET 】1x rangefinder ( portable size(104*35*70mm, Very small and light 6.6oz) ), 1x carrying case, 2x CR2 batteries,1x carabiner, 1x lanyard, 1x cleaning cloth and 1x manual.We will offer 2 year warranty and lifetime customer support. Great return service after contacting customer service team, so that you have no after-sales troubles.
  • 𝐒𝐌𝐀𝐑𝐓 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐔𝐏𝐆𝐑𝐀𝐃𝐄𝐃 𝐋𝐀𝐒𝐄𝐑 𝐑𝐀𝐍𝐆𝐄𝐅𝐈𝐍𝐃𝐄𝐑: Our VPRO500 Laser Rangefinder is a premium product, measuring up to 540 yards with continuous scan mode, advanced Pinsensor technology, and a durable, water-resistant body. This high-precision laser range finder is sure to provide you with a seamless experience and reliable performance for golfing, hunting, and other professional application.
  • 𝐄𝐍𝐇𝐀𝐍𝐂𝐄𝐃 𝐏𝐈𝐍𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐎𝐑 𝐓𝐄𝐂𝐇𝐍𝐎𝐋𝐎𝐆𝐘: Designed with precision to provide fast measurement with 1-yard high accuracy, integrated with enhanced Pinsensor technology to accurately measure overlapping subjects and continuous range readings, perfect for measuring golf flags, hazards, and wooded areas.
  • 𝐋𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐖𝐄𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐏𝐎𝐑𝐓𝐀𝐁𝐋𝐄: Measures just 4.09 x 2.83 x 1.61in and weighing just 6.52 oz. Compact in design yet lightweight and portable. This handy laser range finder added extra convenience and confidence, perfect for carrying while golfing or hunting, or for measuring and surveying without extra weight or bulk.
  • 𝐔𝐋𝐓𝐑𝐀-𝐂𝐋𝐄𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐏𝐓𝐈𝐂𝐒: Advanced ultra-clear, multilayered optics with easy read, through the lens display ensuring best viewing experience with exceptional clarity and sharpness, and continuous measurement mode for fast, convenient measurements; what's more; it is an eye-safe rangefinder for visual comfort with class 1 laser and <0.5mW average power output.
  • 𝐅𝐔𝐋𝐋 𝐏𝐀𝐂𝐊𝐀𝐆𝐄: Packed with everything you need, complete rangefinder package for quick setup, including premium carrying pouch, CR2 battery, wrist strap, microfiber cleaning cloth, quick start guide, TecTecTec 2 Years Happiness Guarantee (online registration required), and lifetime customer support to fulfill your core distance measurement needs to maximize your game.

Rules to Using Laser Rangefinders as a Distance Measuring Device

There are specific rules that govern the use of distance measuring devices, such as laser rangefinders. Such include:-

  • You can measure a straight line between two points
  • Players can share DMDs and information. On the course, all the information, such as distance between markers and obstacles to avoid, is readily available. The players, therefore do not contravene any USGA rules by sharing such
  • Players can measure, gauge and record distances
  • Players can use features such as calendars, clocks, scorecards, email, and texts. You cannot, however, communicate with your coach during play
  • Players cannot use any features that may give information such as humidity, wind direction, and angle of slope. You can, however, access the local weather forecast. Even if the features are on the device you are using, you must turn them off or disable them on the greens.
  • When you finish the stipulating round, you can record the swings for future reference or reviews. You can, however, not recall or review any videos or images during the round.
  • The USGA and PGA do not allow the use of DMDs during major tournaments such as the PGA. The players can, however, use them during the practice sessions. It is critical to note that the same applies to the caddie as well. The golfer may face penalties or disqualification if the caddy contravenes this rule.

are rangefinder legal for golf

Exceptions

In an interesting turn of events, the USGA allowed the use of two laser rangefinders, the Bushnell Tour x, and the Leopold GX-41 laser rangefinders. The players, however, needed to remove the brightly colored faceplate for the slope feature. Without the faceplate, the players cannot access the slope feature, making it legal to have on the greens.

  • Exchange technology offers you Slope when you want it and makes it tournament legal when you need it
  • Dual Display Technology lets you toggle between bright red display or the crisp black display based on lighting conditions or user preference
  • PinSeeker with JOLT Technology provides feedback that you have locked onto the flag
  • 2nd generation E.S.P provides faster and more accurate yardages than ever. Slope Technology provides compensated distances for elevation changes
  • 6x magnification ranges between 5 and 1,300 yards and is accurate to +/- 0.5 yards
  • Class 1 laser with <0.5mW average power output

Final Thoughts

A laser rangefinder is a fantastic tool to have whether you’re a beginner or advanced level. You get to measure distance without having to do it manually. It is easy to use and gives high levels of accuracy. You can use the results to pick the golf clubs you want to use based on the information you get. It is important to know the rules governing the use of DMDs, such as the rangefinders. If you are going in for a tournament, the committee organizing the event will probably have their own set of local rules.