The Loop

Distance Devices: Pro and Con

March 18, 2009

Golf World's Angry Golfer, John Hawkins, stepped boldly on the side of distance-measuring devices in a recent column:* "If 15 minutes of sprinkler-hunting is avoided in every round, you wouldn't think twice about make the investment. So, too, should the USGA."* Your reactions fell squarely in two camps:


Dear Editor,>

John Hawkins has it right. It's now time for Golf's Governing bodies to encourage the use of all rangefinders and distance-measuring devices. Five hour rounds would be a thing of the past. By not doing so they are stealing our most valuable asset. Time.>

Rocky Rafkin PGA>

San Clemente, CA>


Dear Editor, Having played this wonderful game for nearly 55 years I must take issue with John Hawkins' position in support of distance-measuring devices for golfers, which he is convinced will speed up play. Nothing is more frustrating than watching two guys who haven't hit a green in regulation for a month deliberate the distance and associated merits of their respective "toys" from what we players would call a "feel" distance of 50 yards. It drives me crazy. Nothing less than a well-charged cattle prod will help chronically slow golfers, except perhaps, those wonderful words, "that's good!" I am still convinced that the only help needed in finding the proper distance in golf is a couple of bushes on each side of the fairway at 150 yards. Just find it and go hit it! Larry Brunswick Ormond Beach, FL

I hesitate to disagree with a PGA professional on a subject like this, and you'll call me old school, but I'm with Larry. I'd legalize his cattle prod if it weren't for the fact that the guys in the foursome ahead of me would spend ten minutes on each hole talking about their new ones. Remember when we just looked at the hole and thought, "Hmmm, five iron," and hit the darn thing? Yes, once in a while an architect would trick you with a false front or bunker that looked greenside and really wasn't. But that's how we learned about those tricks. They don't make a distance-measuring device that can teach you that.

That said, it's not the distance-measuring device that slows things down, it's the measurer. Hurry up and measure.

--Bob Carney