Twelve months after its decision to allow Distance-Measuring Devices (DMD) to be used at all of its 2009 Championships, the EGU has extended its agreement with SkyCaddie which sees the brand becoming the Official Rangefinder of the EGU.
This follows the statement from The R&A last month announcing amendments made to ‘Decisions on the Rules of Golf’ 2010-2011 edition which also included a joint statement made by The R&A and the USGA regarding the use of DMDs confirming that the current practice of allowing DMDs by Local Rule remains appropriate.
EGU Chief Executive, John Petrie, explained the EGU’s decision to allow DMDs last year as one that they believed would have a positive effect on the pace of play; and moreover, that SkyCaddie’s support had allowed further investigation to help realize that ambition within the rules of the game.
During 2009 SkyCaddie supported all EGU National Championships, providing SkyCaddie GPS units for competitors to use at each event. In addition questionnaires were given to all players, including those who didn’t use a DMD and those that used their own personal devices, to assess their effect on pace of play.
The overwhelming response to the survey was that more than 90% of players believed DMDs helped the pace of play. In addition the EGU’s tournament staff and referees also highlighted that since the introduction of DMDs start times never needed to be pushed back or delayed (unless for weather) and there had been a really positive effect on the pace of play.
John Petrie commented, “Although our decision last year received overwhelming support from Counties and clubs there were still some concerns. Twelve months on and after important consultation with both players and officials we are pleased that we have some constructive results that can benefit the delivery of our events.
“This would not have been possible without the assistance of SkyCaddie. The support they gave at each of our events to both players and officials was outstanding and we are delighted to be able to extend our partnership into 2010.”
SkyCaddies will again be available for competitors at selected events to use in EGU events throughout 2010. In addition, SkyCaddies will also be made available to each member of the England squads.
Jackie Hitchcock, Managing Director of SkyCaddie UK, said, “Working so closely with the EGU during 2009 gave us some unique and highly valuable opportunities. I believe that the EGU’s stance on DMDs, and the results of the survey which followed, provide clear guidance to club operators and event organisers.
“The survey shows that when golfers use a SkyCaddie, or a similar device, they play faster. This fact alone should encourage more UK golf clubs and organisers to allow DMDs by Local Rule during the 2010 golfing season.
“We will continue to strive to give golfers ever more accurate information via our mapping process – which we conduct in harmony with the wishes of English golf clubs. We are delighted to enter our second season as the EGU’s Official Rangefinder, and we look forward to strengthening the relationship over the long term to mutual advantage.”
The EGU emphasises that the ruling to allow the use of DMDs reflects the details of Rule 14-3 and that the device must measure distance only; it must not measure other conditions such as wind speed or direction, the slope of the ground or the temperature. Any player found using such a DMD will be in breach of Rule 14-3 for which the penalty is disqualification, regardless of whether any such additional function is actually used.
SkyCaddie UK www.skygolf.com
English Golf Union www.englishgolfunion.org