Jump to content

Golf GPS on Mobiles


Recommended Posts

Sorry for starting a new thread, not sure its applicable to other Golf ones anyhoos??


I recently got a new phone and downloaded a GPS App for Golf, I have an old GPS thing that I used before but the one on the phone was superior (and free )

Anyways I was scheduled to play at another course yesterday with a work mate who plays off 5 and he informed me that said apps were illegal and I would be disqualified if I used it.

I went on to R&A website to check.




I took it from the flowchart that my phone App was ok?? But to be on the safe side didnt use it.

He sent my link to his clubs committee and has retorted with the following from Englang Golf.




This paper aims to help Clubs and their members understand the rather complicated

rules on DMDs. Technology changes rapidly and the interpretation of associated

Rules also evolves. The following guidance reflects the ‘state of play’ at the time of

writing. The guidance assumes a DMD is being used in competition.

1. Local Rule. You cannot use a DMD in competition at your Club unless the Club

has introduced a Local Rule allowing DMDs. The Club should use the wording on

page 136 of the new (2012-15) Rule Book. If your Club has introduced the Local

Rule, it cannot then restrict the type of DMD you can use e.g. the Club cannot

prevent mobile phones being used as DMDs (but see 6 below). If your DMD

‘conforms’, you can use it.

2. A ‘conforming’ DMD measures distance only. If your DMD can also give you

information on other conditions which might affect your play, it doesn’t conform

and the penalty is disqualification, even if you didn’t use that information.

3. Non-conforming features. If your DMD has e.g. a compass, spirit level or can

gauge temperature or wind speed, the penalty is disqualification. Again, it

doesn’t matter whether or not you have actually used those features. Most

‘usual’ DMDs are fine e.g. GPS type DMDs or optical rangefinders because (or if)

they only measure distance. However, be careful, some optical models can

measure ‘slope’. If yours can, it doesn’t conform and the penalty is


4. Watches. Some DMDs can be worn on the wrist. If it also tells the time, that’s

fine! No special rules here. You can wear a DMD on your wrist, on your belt,

round your neck (!), carry it in your pocket, hang it on your bag or attach it to

your trolley. However, it mustn’t have a non-conforming feature, even if you

don’t use it or it’s switched off. If it does have one, it’s a ‘DQ’.

5. Trolleys. Some have built-in DMDs. Not a problem as such. But, it mustn’t

have any non-conforming features (see 3 above). Some do. However, many

modern ones can be switched to “competition mode”. That’s fine. Alternatively,

England Golf accepts that if the non-conforming features – or displays – are

“taped over” so they can’t be seen, that’s also fine. If there is evidence that,

during a round, the trolley is switched back to “non-competition mode” or the

tape covering a non-conforming feature is taken off so the “illegal” information

can be seen, you’ll face disqualification.

6. Mobile phones used as DMDs. Be very, very careful! Many people download

a DMD “App” on to their phones. In itself, not a problem. The problem is this: If

your phone has any other features or Apps which don’t conform and the phone is

used as a DMD, you will be disqualified whether or not such features or Apps are

used. Just having one on the phone makes the use of that phone as a DMD

“illegal”. The owner may not realise it but many mobile phones have, for

instance, a compass or spirit level as a feature. If your phone has a weather App

or facility which gauges actual temperature or wind speed, it’s a disqualification.

Again, it doesn’t matter whether that feature or App is used or not. It’s worth

quoting from the England Golf Men’s “Hard Card” (Standard Local Rules etc.):

“Advice on the use of mobile phones as a distance measuring device:

Because of problems over whether a particular phone conforms to the Local Rule

and, therefore, to protect players from the risk of disqualification, (England Golf)

strongly recommends that mobile phones are not used as distance measuring


7. Mobile phones used as phones. Clubs may not restrict the type of DMD a

player uses, as long as it is a conforming DMD (1 above). However, a Club can

have a “regulation” on using phones – as phones. England Golf has the following


“Mobile phones (including pagers and similar devices): May not be used on

the course (including on practice days) by players or caddies for making/sending

or receiving calls or texts, except in cases of emergency”.

England Golf would take disciplinary action against a player for breach of this

regulation. England Golf is very happy for players to carry mobile phones in

their golf bags, so that, if there is an emergency, they can phone the office, pro

shop, emergency service etc.

8. Other playing “aids”. If your DMD has a feature or App which helps you, for

instance, read/gauge/measure the slope on a green (such Apps can be

downloaded on to some mobile phones), then, whether or not that feature or App

is used, the penalty is disqualification.

England Golf Men’s Championship Committee.

May 2012


 Rule 14-3 and the Note at the end of this Rule

 Specimen Local Rule on page 136 of the Rule Book

 Appendix IV on Distance Measuring Devices, page 162 of the Rule Book

 England Golf Men’s “Hard Card”, Local Rule 10 (The Hard Card can be viewed

at and downloaded from England Golf’s website, under the ‘Championships’


 R&A’s “The Rules Regarding Distance Measuring Devices” (can be viewed at

and downloaded from the R&A’s website. Contains a very useful flowchart)



Its as clear as mud!!!!


So is it a yes or a no??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...