Ivan Morris – Pros and cons of distance measuring range finders

Ivan Morris – Pros and cons of distance measuring range finders

Mutt: Apropos the new, proposed rules on Distance Measuring Range Finders, I am seriously thinking about purchasing one. I would like your opinion - I think I know what it will be and I could be wasting my time asking. I'm trying to figure out the best approach?

Should I have a zapper or a wristwatch or just work off a booklet like the pros? Knowing your yardages spot on is the first step to controlling the distance you hit the ball.

An effective north-south game is far more beneficial to lowering one's scores than the comparative skill in the east-west, left-right department.

Jeff: Good luck to you with that. In the interest of faster play and less brain clutter, I just look for a 150-meter marker and do my estimates from that. I'm not that good that telling me it is 147-metres or 153-metres instead of 150 makes any difference.

Mutt: I had a feeling you wouldn't approve. That's a 6-metre gap, by the way, equal to 7-yards - slightly more than half a club! You are bordering on the careless with that approach.

Don't you ever look at sprinkler heads with measurements on them? Do you have any idea how far you hit your 7-iron?

Jeff: Nah! It would slow me down too much. Doesn't the distance you hit the ball depend on the ground conditions, the temperature, the wind, how you feel and the adrenaline factor.

I can hit a 7-iron 105-yards or 185-yards depending on a variety of factors.

Mutt: Adrenaline? It's a long time since you had a rush of that beautiful sensation. Surely a laser is a useful feature when playing over unfamiliar territory? Why would you not want all the help you can get?

Jeff: If I'm in danger of losing money to you on the last hole, you better believe the adrenaline faucet will start to flow. The thought of losing will always switch on my adrenaline default button.

When it happens, how do I work out if a club is too much or too little? I wear glasses on the golf course too and I sometimes have to remove them to get an accurate reading.

Other objects such as trees and buildings behind the target tend to get picked up instead of the flag. I still prefer to use a yardage book - if I can get an up to date one.

I do have a large collection of yardage books but, of course, never remember to bring the right one for the course I am playing with me on my travels.

Golf is more fun when you eyeball the target and just pull a club. I know it wouldn't be your style. You are too score obsessed. I don't care about score. All I want is to win!

Mutt: Isn't golf all about the score? Does not the lowest score win? Is it not silly not to take every technological advantage within the rules to lower one's score?

Jeff: Personally, I don't think there should be any distance markers on the course, no measurements, no yardage books, no GPS's, no lasers, no nothing.

Mutt: Wouldn't that give the golfer with best eyesight an advantage? I don't understand why the pros are not allowed to use DMD's like us amateurs. I suppose the caddy's union would object? It would downgrade a tournament caddy's job.

I can only imagine what you must think about the undulation maps the pros use on the greens?

Jeff: I am probably in the minority but I find it tedious watching the pro tours where they step off the yardages and then take out their pencils to begin what seems to be a complicated accountancy exercise and comparing notes to see if their results concur? It seems to take forever.

Mutt: On away courses, I find a laser very useful to figure out the distances to hazards. On my home course or a course I know well, I've no doubt that a GPS wristwatch is more than adequate. One glance and you have your information.

Jeff: There's too much technology in golf today. It's supposed to be a game of skill not a quantifiable, measurable, predictable, scientific exercise.

Any individual who resorts to distance information is not a real golfer.

It's defeating the purpose of the game to use artificial aids. To play real golf the individual must use their senses.

To resort to aids means there is surrender before the game has started and an unwillingness to persevere in developing one's skills. Pulling the right club is part of that.

Using one's eyes to judge distance and club choice is what helps define the game as golf. The R&A should stop messing about and outlaw all forms of distance aids. Golfers will benefit by acquiring an additional depth to their skills, which will improve their game in the long run.

Mutt: I may agree with you but it won't stop me using my range finder because the rules say it is okay. For me, the game is hard enough as it is.

Words of the Wise

It is a wonderful tribute to the game and to the dottiness of the people who play it - that for some there is no such thing as bad weather, an insurmountable obstacle, an unplayable course, the wrong time of the day, or year - Alistair Cooke