And they said it would never be done. Never, no, no never, say never.
The USGA will allow Distance Measuring Devices (DMD's) in all amateur championships this year, as well as the qualifiers for the events. The question to answer of course is whether this change will speed up play!
The Note to Rule 14-3 of the Rules of Golf allows committees to make DMD's legal during a competition, but the note has to be in effect before golfers are allowed to use the devices. The USGA has decided to adopt this note in all 2014 amateur championships. However, the US Open, US Women's Open and the US Senior Open will not adopt the note this year.
According to the USGA's website, pace of play studies at the 2013 US Women's State Team and U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur championships have determined that DMD's did not hold up play. "From the data collected at these championships, USGA researchers found no evidence that DMDs had a negative impact on pace of play and will continue to monitor the use of DMDs in the larger pool of amateur events to further study their effect on pace of play."
I join golfers all over the world in hoping that shooting flagsticks with lasers will cure the undue delay malady that has overtaken the game, or at least help in a small way.
It's about time, literally. Time is not on our side when a five-hour round of golf spoils a good walk. Tournament golfers must remember that the Note has to be in effect before DMD's can be used.
The Rule did not change. The USGA just decided to adopt the note for amateur championships this year so that they can study the effect. Welcome to the 21st Century!