What Are Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinders?

The concept of a Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder has only existed since the USGA and R&A added an extension to Rule 14/3b back in 2006. Rule 14/3b stipulates that a player is prohibited from using any artificial device or unusual equipment for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play, and the penalty for breaching this rule is disqualification.

This rule in its own right means that any type of golf rangefinder at that point was deemed to be illegal for use in competitions or tournaments. The extension to the rule simply states that “The Committee may make a Local Rule allowing players to use devices that measure or gauge distance only”.

This now means that golf course committees and tournament organisers can apply this local rule to allow players to use a rangefinder that provides distance measurements only in their competitions (which most of them do now!). So the definition of a Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder is one which has the ability to provide yardage distance measurements only and is used under tournament or competition conditions where the local rule has been enforced.

If you are looking to buy a golf rangefinder and use it in competition it is important that you check it is Tournament Legal and only provides distance measurements because there are lots of rangefinders now available that offer additional features including adjusted yardage measurements for slope angle, temperature and altitude conditions, as well as ones that provide suggestions on club selection.

Although these more advanced type of rangefinders are excellent coaching and training tools and may appear more exciting, at this moment in time they are deemed to be illegal for tournament play, so it is only advisable to buy one of these devices if you are only looking to use it in friendly competition or for practicing purposes.

Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinders also tend to provide you with a very useful scan mode which enables you to pan across the landscape and receive a continuous display of accurate distance measurements to the targets that you scan over. This is a great facility to help with locating lay up points or judging carry distances greenside bunkers or lakes.

Some of the new Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinders currently on offer have become so incredibly fast and accurate at producing results that they can have a maximum distance range of anywhere up to a mile and be accurate to within inches.