Hi, I'm new to your forums, though I have found them very informative. I recently purchased a Golf Guru, though I have not received it yet. I'm not really a competitive golfer, but I was curious about it conforming to the new USGA/RCGA rules and decisions. I am a Canadian so I asked for a rules clarification from the RCGA and received the following rules decisions as being applicable.
14-3/5.5 Electronic Device Providing Distances Between Various Points
With regard to Decision 14-3/5
, may a player use an electronic device containing the same information?
Yes. Exception 2 to Rule 14-3
applies, but the player must not use a device with a measuring or distance calculating function. However, see also the Note to Rule 14-3
14-3/16 Use of Electronic Devices
As provided in the Etiquette Section, players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.
The use of an electronic device such as a mobile phone, hand-held computer, calculator, television or radio is not itself a breach of Rule 14-3
. For example, the following uses of an electronic device during a stipulated round are not a breach of the Rules:
• Using the device for matters unrelated to golf (e.g., to call home);
• Using the device to access information on advice-related matters that were published prior to the start of the player's round (e.g., an electronic yardage book, swing tips); or
• Using the device to obtain information related to the competition being played (e.g., the leader board or projected "cut").
However, examples of uses of an electronic device during a stipulated round that are a breach of Rule 14-3
, for which the penalty is disqualification, include:
• Using the device (e.g., a television or radio) to watch or listen to a broadcast of the competition being played;
• Using the device to ask for or give advice in breach of Rule 8-1
(e.g., calling a swing coach at home); or
• Using the device to access information on advice-related matters that were not published prior to the start of his round (e.g., analysis of strokes made during that round).
So I e-mailed Golf Guru and posed the following questions about conformity.
"I have asked the RCGA for a clarification and as I understand, under 14-3/16- "Using the device to access information on advice-related matters that were published prior to the start of the player's round (e.g., an electronic yardage book, swing tips);" is acceptable. However, under 14-3/16- "Using the device to access information on advice-related matters that were not published prior to the start of his round (e.g., analysis of strokes made during that round)." Is a breach of Rule 14-3, for which the penalty is disqualification.
Therefore if statistical information being collected about the round being played becomes part of the information being displayed during the round, ie. Club distance information, GIR, Fariways Hit…etc., the unit would be illegal. While if the data collected about the present round was kept separate to be added to the statistics after the round it would be acceptable?
How does the Golf Guru collect, compute and display the stats that are entered during the round? Have you already confirmed with the USGA that the Golf Guru conforms to 14-3/16?"
This was the response from Golf Guru.
"The Golf Guru is fully compliant with the USGA and R&A rulings associated with distance measuring devices. Although the Golf Guru does allow for recording of GIR and FIR and will present percentages, these particular statistics provide absolutely no information or advice that would help a golfer make a club selection, nor does it measure any other playing conditions, such as wind speed or slope. If the Guru were to suggest a club selection based on a record of shots kept within the Guru, it would be illegal. The Guru does not allow you to associate a club with a distance recording at this time. It probably will in the future, and will still be legal, as it will not use this information and present it as "advice" to the golfer on club selection.
The SureShot GPS device is one that comes to mind as not being legal, as it did make club suggestions based on recorded history. This is the only feature that kept them from being legal, even though this feature could be shut off. They would have been legal otherwise, and their unit pretty much records the same Stats as ours. Knowing your GIR's, FIR's, and average # of putts does not provide advice. Just because you've hit 12 of 14 fairways, all you can do is feel good about that. Nothing there tells you anything about how you should hit your next tee shot, fairway shot, or putt. If you do a search of GPS and USGA rulings, you will find quite a bit of information where this very issue has been discussed. There is no reason to believe that the Guru is not in full compliance."
"I'm not sure of what actions SureShot has taken to bring their unit into compliance. I do know that they have changed their software, and they may have addressed this issue in subsequent releases. I have not kept up with it. They may be in full compliance these days."
Based on this information it seems to me that Golf Guru and probably others (Sureshot) are doing what they need to in order to remain in compliance to USGA/RCGA rulings. It may be the reason that the club distance function is not available for the Golf Guru at present, rather than the notion that the software is in an undeveloped state.
I just thought I would share what I found out. Personally, I want to track stats for evaluation after the round and over the course of the season. During the round, I have a hard enough time concentrating on the shot at hand.