Golf

USGA to allow rangefinder devices in amateur events

Henrik Stenson of Sweden
Henrik Stenson uses a laser rangefinder during a 2012 practice round.
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PINEHURST, North Carolina (AP)

The United States Golf Association has approved the use of distance-measuring devices in all of its amateur championships and their qualifying events, starting this year.

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The USGA's championship committee announced the decision on Thursday at its annual meeting. The USGA said the ruling reflects a joint decision with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

The committee voted to adopt an optional local rule that has been available under the Rules of Golf since 2006. Distance-measuring devices will remain banned at the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open and their qualifying events.

''We have seen progressive developments in technologies available to golfers who seek to improve their playing performance and enjoyment that also maintain the essential elements of the game,'' said Thomas J. O'Toole Jr., USGA vice president and chairman of the committee. ''It is in this spirit that we are allowing the use of distance-measuring devices in our amateur competitions.''

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