PGA Championship 2024: Are Rangefinders Allowed at Valhalla?

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Of the four major tournaments in golf, the PGA Championship is thought to be the most unique. This event differs from the other majors in numerous ways, starting with the opportunity for club professionals to compete and ending with the distinctive tournament customs. The PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club will continue to adopt the special local regulation in 2024 as part of its distinct vibe.

For the fourth year in a row, competitors will be allowed to use rangefinders during their competition rounds. The goal of the PGA of America’s decision to allow rangefinders at its main tournament is to speed up the pace of play. Although range finders are now widely used for recreational golf at clubs all over the world, they are still forbidden in the highest professional divisions of the sport such as the other three majors and regular tour events.

PGA President Jim Richerson explained the rationale in 2021, saying, “We’re interested in methods that may help the flow of play during our championships.” Rangefinders allow players to quickly get precise distances without having to walk off the yardage. This time-saving device could keep the players moving at a quicker pace. It is often used in practice rounds by caddies.

Even though it will only be in effect for one week at the 2024 PGA, the rangefinder rule might have longer-term effects. When it was initially implemented in 2021, it was viewed as a contentious departure from custom. However, encouraging player responses implies that the regulation might endure.

A temporary experiment or the future norm?

2019 saw the USGA and R&A update the Rules of Golf to allow golf events to use rangefinders. The PGA took advantage of this, probably in an attempt to avoid the lengthy pace of play fines that have occasionally tarnished its major. Rangefinders have become standard equipment during practice rounds when permitted, so players and caddies are happy about the rule.

With the regulation in place, the Tour is closely observing the PGA’s pace-of-play outcomes. If it does well at the PGA Championship, the Tour might reconsider its position, and allow it in its events and other three majors. The PGA of America also extends the rangefinder rule to its Women’s PGA and Senior PGA events. Rangefinders are becoming more and more accepted among professional golfers, and in the next few years, they may replace current standards. So if this previous anomaly rule becomes the standard on professional tours across the globe, don’t be shocked.


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