USGA rules for GPS

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With the increasing use of range finding products in the game of golf the USGA, in 2006 issued a ruling on the use of GPS and laser range finders in tournaments and establishing handicaps. The ruling stated that the use of these was to be determined by"local rule". In other words they may be allowed but not always allowed . This means that say a local club tournament would allow the use of the GPS and range finders for establishing a handicap for the participants but might not allow the use of these devices in the tournament itself.

With the advent of smart phones such as the Blackberry, I Phone and Android there has been a development of "apps" that will provide many of the same functions as the handheld devices. his capability prompted the USGA and Britan's R&A to  issue a  clarification in April, 2009. The need arose from the fact that smart phones can access web browsers that could, potentially, also access apps that would provide other information such as degree of slope, temperature, wind speed and direction. Given this type of information skilled golfers could , concievably have an advantage over other golfers in a tournament or in a betting situation within a group or a foursome.

The issue centered around whether a device that had these capabilities was legal or non conforming and the ruling was one of common sense stating that the normal resident functions of these phones would be allowed. A golfer can use his smart phone on the course for its regular activities of making phone calls and checking emails, although that would be poor golf etiquette to do so and might piss off the other members of his group. Mosr serious golfers don't want anything to do with those things when they are on tha golf course.

The "local rule" clause has led some advocates of these devices to cry foul. In a qualifying round for the USGA Amatuer the devices were not allowed under the local rule causing some participants to complain that there was an advantage to golfers who had more opportunity to play the course over those who had limited chances . Predictably these fell on deaf  ears . Tough get a caddie.

This article was published on Hubpages as The Cheapest Price for a Golf GPS unit
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