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Justin Thomas captured the PGA Championship on Sunday with his spectacular three-hole playoff win over Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills Country Club. The tournament also marked the second PGA Championship to allow rangefinders to follow the course following the debut of distance measuring devices at last year’s tournament.

The PGA Championship, organized by PGA of America, is the only event among the big four men’s golf championships to allow rangefinders, which calculate distances to the hole and the slope on the greens. The devices have been approved as part of efforts to improve the pace of play. Range finders cannot be used during PGA Tour tournament rounds, but they can be used on the course during practice rounds.

“Any technology that doesn’t slow down the game is good,” says Gavin Dear, CCO at Firing range, a Scottish developer of golf shot-tracking rangefinders and smartwatches. “But [rangefinders] will come [to the PGA Tour] whether it’s next year or in five years, it will come. And this is a good thing. It would actually bring their game closer to the game of the average golfer.

Shot Scope teamed up with former professional golfer and social media star Paige Spiranac earlier this month to promote their new PROLX+ GPS based range finder. The company’s products are used by more than 110,000 golfers. Cher, a former professional golfer, doesn’t believe the use of rangefinders would threaten caddies’ job security. “To me, it’s such a small part of what the caddy provides,” he says.

The LPGA Tour began allowing players to use distance measuring devices during tournaments last year, with Voice Caddy signing a deal as the Tour’s official rangefinder. A few male golfers, such as Gary Woodland, used range finders during this weekend’s PGA Championship, although the use of the devices is far from universal on the course.

“The PGA [Championship] It’s kind of weird because golfers are so stuck in their routines,” Dear told SportTechie at a cafe in Manhattan. “You introduce technology for a week, it’s like, ‘Am I going to use it, right? Well, I have my books of distance, that’s how me and my caddy interact The LPGA is more interesting because they opened it for the year, now you start to see golfers change their ways because they can do it for any event.


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