No.50 Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment

Question 1:
Is a player permitted to use the following equipment on a golf course?
a) Standard binoculars.
b) Compass.
c) Booklet containing illustrations of the holes and providing accurate distances between various identifiable points.
d) Training or swing aid.
e) Hand warmer.

Answer 1:
a) Yes, Decision 14-3/3.
b) No, Decision 14-3/4.
c) Yes, Decision 14-3/5.
d) No, Decision 14-3/10.
e) Yes, Decision 14-3/13. Although a hand warmer is an artificial device, its use to warm the hands is traditionally accepted and a player is not in breach of Rule 14-3 if he uses equipment in a traditionally accepted manner.

Note: A player may not use a hand warmer to heat a ball. Decision 14-3/13.5.

Question 2:
What are the circumstances under which a player is permitted to use a distance measuring device on the course?

Answer 2:
If the Committee has introduced a Local Rule allowing players to use devices that measure or gauge distance only.

Note the use of the word "only" in the above answer. Decision 14-3/0.5 includes these words;
..... the use of a distance-measuring device that is [also] designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect a player's play (e.g., gradient, wind speed, temperature, etc.) is not permitted regardless of whether such an additional function is used.
Note: An interesting consequence to the above is that a player may not use an iPhone on the course for measuring distances, although there are numerous applications available for this purpose. The reason is that all iPhone models have an inbuilt compass feature, which cannot be removed. I have expanded on this subject in a July 2010 blog  item, which can be accessed here.
Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,
Good golfing,
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