The use of range finders is now allowed in the rules of golf since January 1st, 2019. But it is also possible to prohibit the use of the range finders by local rules. The PGA Tour has that local rule in effect.
Last week we were all surprised to find out that PGA of America decided to permit the player to use it at their championships. This is also the case for the Women and Senior PGA Championship. This is also the only occasion for a few club pros to be invited.
A few years back, we could not use a range finder at any Golf Canada championship. I was a referee at the Canadian Seniors at Le Griffon Golf Course and I saw a player on the first hole that was using his range finder. I gave the information to the Rules Chairwomen and she went to talk to the player to announce to him that he was disqualified. He was from BC and his wife tried to convince us to let him continue to play but it is not possible when a player is disqualified.
Before Jan 1st 2019, if a player used a range finder without having a local rule to allow it, the penalty was DISQUALIFICATION.
Now, it is in the Rules but if a local rule prohibits the use of the range finder, the penalty is 2 strokes for the first breach.
PACE OF PLAY
Many golfers think it will improve pace of play. A survey amongst caddies did not come out with that conclusion. In very rare occasion this will help Pace of Play. As an example, during the Open a few years back, Spieth took 10 minutes to figure out the distance from his ball to the pin because his tee shoot went on another fairway. A range finder could have helped.
INFORMATION ON THE SLOPE
Except during the practice round, a player is never allowed to look at the SLOPE reading on his device. This information adds or subtracts the distance depending if you shot is uphill or downhill.
It is not always possible for referees to see if the slope device is ON but the Rules makers decided that the golfer is honest and will never cheat!