Can PGA Players Use Rangefinders? (2023 Update)

Can PGA Players Use Rangefinders?

Professional golfers cannot use Golf Rangefinders in competitions or tournaments. They can use them during practice rounds, and non-competition rounds, and many do.  Nearly all professionals and their caddies use rangefinders in practice and social rounds to improve their game. So the next time you are asked Can PGA Players Use Rangefinders? you’ll know the answer. But if you want to know why keep reading.

Can PGA Players Use Rangefinders?

The ranges measured by the players or caddies can be noted in their yardage books, and later on can be referred to whilst playing their tournament rounds.  

In a similar way amateur golfers cannot use a rangefinder in local competitions and medals. The USGA and R&A rules were updated in 2016 which banned the use of rangefinders in professional competition but allowed local decisions to be made at courses to allow rangefinders for amateurs. However, as mentioned if the functions which artificially reduced the need for judgment cannot be switched off it will be deemed illegal to use in competitions.

This is due to rule 14-3a. The USGA explain that it takes a lot of skill to be a PGA professional, not only do you need to be an amazing golfer, but you also need to have a good skill at judging distance.

Rule 14-3a is detailed below:

14-3. Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment; Abnormal Use of Equipment

Rule 14-3 governs the use of equipment and devices (including electronic devices) that might assist a player in making a specific stroke or generally in his play.

Golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the judgement, skills, and abilities of the player. This principle guides the USGA in determining whether the use of any item is in breach of Rule 14-3.

Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an abnormal manner:

a. That might assist him in making a stroke or in his play


What Technology Is Banned In Golf?

Best budget rangefinder uk

Over the years many different types of equipment has fallen foul of the rules of golf. These items are referred to as ‘not conforming’, rather than illegal golf equipment. Equipment such as the Anchor putter, the British Golf Ball, which was  smaller lighter ball was banned in 1990, and most recently the use of ‘Green Books’ have now been banned.

In an interesting incident in 2017 Bryson DeChambeau was threatened with disqualification due to rule 14-3a. Nicknamed ‘The Scientist’, due to his elaborate ways of dissecting the game of golf, he had begun using a compass to calculate the tur hole locations on the putting green. This was initially approved by the PGA, but subsequently the USGA and R&A governing bodies disallowed this practice. So can PGA Players Use Rangefinders – unfortunately not!

How do golf rangefinders work?

Golf Rangefinders work by emitting a laser towards an object in the distance, in golf it would be the flag. The laser then hits the flag and returns to the rangefinder which calculates the time taken to return and changes this into a distance measurement. There are different types of rangefinders which are used in golf, Laser Rangefinders and GPS Rangefinders. The below image clearly explains how this process works, thanks to for producing this amazing image. image

Laser Rangefinders are the most popular and work as described above by focusing on a fixed target and calculating the distance. GPS Rangefinders work by downloading golf course information onto the rangefinder and providing you with distance information depending on where you are on the course. GPS rangefinders are marginally quicker to produce distances, but they do often require you to subscribe to be able to download course information. To get the best Cheap Golf Rangefinder (with slope) we’re going to focus on Laser Rangefinders.

Have a watch of this really helpful video to see exactly how golf rangefinders work and how they can dramatically improve your game.

Where do you aim a golf rangefinder?

Choosing the correct club for your approach shots to the green are vitally important to help improve your golf game. Using a Rangefinder can help to judge your distance . When aiming the golf rangefinder, it is best to aim the golf rangefinder is at the flag on the green. You can also choose to aim at other fixed landmarks during your game to help with calculating distances but predominately it is the flag which golfers aim at as a target. Even with the best cheap golf rangefinder you will find that the accuracy is excellent and will easily find the flag stick.

Are golf rangefinders accurate?

Golf rangefinders are extremely accurate. If you want precise measurements for your golf shots, then we would recommend a laser rangefinder as the only option. Many models are reported to be accurate to within half a yard, some of the more expensive models are even more accurate.

In comparison to GPS rangefinders which only provide pre-loaded distances to specific landmarks on the golf course, laser rangefinders can be targeted to aim at any fixed object you need to measure. Therefore, if you wanted to find out how far you’ve hit your drive you can accurately calculate this distance by aiming the rangefinder at the flag and subtracting from the holes total distance.

Best Cheap Golf Rangefinders

What are the best cheap golf rangefinders?

So have a look below at our 2 best cheap golf rangefinder list to see which one will suit your game. We would recommend any of the rangefinders on the list as they all present great value and excellent features. If you need more information, just click the link and you’ll be taken directly to the item in Amazon.

Can PGA Players Use Rangefinders?
  • Slope adjustable on/off
  • Flag-lock vibration technology
  • 650 yards distance
  • 6x Magnification
  • USB Charging battery

I’ve done a more detailed review of this rangefinder in this article, have a read if you would like to find out more.

Can PGA Players Use Rangefinders?
  • Adjustable slope function with on/off switch
  • Distance up to 650 yards
  • 6x Magnification
  • Vibration flag lock function
  • Handy carry pouch supplied
  • Batteries included

I personally use this rangefinder and bought it with my own money – read this article for more information on this Rangefinder.

PGA Rangefinder Rules Update 2021

In February 2021 the PGA of America announced it would allow the use of rangefinder measuring devices during its major championships.

“We’re always interested in methods that may help improve the flow of play during our Championships,”  “The use of distance-measuring devices is already common within the game and is now a part of the Rules of Golf. Players and caddies have long used them during practice rounds to gather relevant yardages.”

PGA of America President Jim Richerson

This is a major change to golf at a professional level, for golf purists it presents an uncomfortable rules update. However, for the more progressive golfer this is a natural step towards embracing technology in the modern game. We will watch with interest as this change unfolds with PGA Players using Rangefinders. What do you think? Comment below and let me know?


I hope you enjoyed this article on Can PGA Players Use Rangefinders? If you’re ready to take your game to the next level as a beginner why not check out our guides to the best drivers, or Wedges or putt for dough with our list of the best putters. Fun Golf is all about putting the fun back into your game, let us be your guide for all you need to know about golf. Also if our game’s not up to scratch maybe think about the golf balls you use, our guide to the best golf balls is worth a read.

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