Are Rangefinders legal in Golf Competitions?

Are you allowed to use rangefinders in golf competitions?
This is the most searched question when it comes to buying a rangefinder. So to answer your question, yes it is allowed to use rangefinders in golf competition but with few limitations. In this post, we will enumerate the features of rangefinders that are legal in golf competitions and illegal features.
So before we continue, let’s see how rangefinders became legal to use during competition.
If you’re not a professional player and play for yourself or with friends, be sure to check my buying guide for golf rangefinders with slope as they will be the best in those cases.
Just putting it out there as slope technology is one of the features banned from competition golf.
Table of Contents

How rangefinders became legal in golf competitions?


Earlier using rangefinders or any other electronic device during a golf competition was prohibited. But later with the development of new devices and equipment in the field of golf, the rules became less strict. Because of this few exceptions were made. So when people started using these tools, the rules became lenient. Because of this, you are now permissible to use rangefinders in golf competitions. But there are some conditions to be met. Let’s discuss what these conditions are.

What are devices legal in golf competition?

You can use various devices during a golf competition. Here, we will list the devices that you can use in a golf competition.


You are allowed to use rangefinders in golf competitions. However, certain features are not permissible to be used. So if you have a traditional laser rangefinder or a rangefinder in which you can easily disable the illegal features, you are permissible to use it during golf competitions. But if you have a modern rangefinder where you cannot disable the features, you are not permissible to use it for golf competitions. You are however permissible to measure yardages, record score and share information with partners. Later we will discuss the features that are permissible and the features that aren’t non-permissible.

GPS Watches:

Yes, you can definitely use a GPS watch in golf competitions, but there are certain conditions. Certain features are illegal during a golf competition. So have to disable these features in order to use it during a golf competition. But if you are not able to disable the, you can’t use a GPS watch during competition. You are permissible to check the weather for storms.

Rangefinder application on a smartphone:

If you are only using the downloaded rangefinder application on the smartphone, it is permissible. Again, certain features are not permissible to make it legal. You can use it if you don’t use the under prohibition features of the application as well as the smartphone. You can take calls and receive notifications.


What are features not permissible in golf competitions?

These under prohibition features are like calculators, you cannot use a calculator which advanced features, but you are permissible to use the one with basic features. Similarly, you cannot use rangefinders with basic features but not with advanced features. Here is a list of all the features that are illegal in a golf competition.


Slope reading feature:

Slope reading feature helps to know the degree of elevation and gives to accurate yardage by adjusting the distance as per slope. You will find this feature in laser rangefinders. Moreover, you cannot use this feature during competitions.
I have a separate article where I talk about benefits of golf rangefinders with slope if you’re considering it for a purchase.
You can only to use a rangefinder with no slope feature or a rangefinder in which you can disable the slope feature temporarily for competition.

Weather conditions:

You are also not permissible to check weather conditions during competitions. Many people use it to their advantage by checking the speed of the wind. Because of this, you are not permissible to check the wind speed during competitions. You can use it to check thunderstorms. So you can only to use the device if you disable this feature.

Contact a coach:

Rangefinders and other devices have a feature in which you can contact a trainer or coach. This feature is also not permissible in a golf competition. You have to disable this feature.


Swing analysis:

You are not permissible to use swing analysis software to review your swing during competitions.

Club Suggestion:

Rangefinders and other devices also help you in choosing a club for the game. You are not admissible to use this feature in a golf competition.

The Play’s like:

They also help to give you Play’s like information by collecting your swing data to make suggestions on your technique. It is not permissible in golf competitions.


These are all the features that are not permissible in golf competitions. So if you want to use a rangefinder in golf competitions, make sure you use a traditional rangefinder or a rangefinder in which you can easily disable the above features.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Joshua Bennes
Joshua Bennes

Hi, I’m Joshua, a full-time architect with a knack for internet marketing. My true passion, however, lies in the golf courts where I visit every chance I get and have been doing so for the past 20 years or so. Using my experience, my goal is to help others select the best golf equipment and become better players.