The debate around digital caddies heats up after getting some clarification from the USGA

By | December 10, 2017

Arccos Caddie gets Thumbs Up from USGA | via MyGolfSpy.com

So long as the player uses the “Arccos Restricted” app and a local rule is in place allowing the use of distance measuring devices, all is above board.

The battle in the comments of the MyGolfSpy article makes for the most interesting reading. There continues to be a passionate debate between those that believe digital aides like the Arccos Caddie threaten the very fabric of the game and those who see it as little more than a way of making the game more enjoyable.

I tend to side with those that defend the use of digital aides. As to whether such devices will impact the pace of play is a more complex topic. If used appropriately, it seems natural that a quick glance at a cell phone would take less time than we once spent looking for sprinkler heads and pacing out yardages. We’ve already embraced GPS and lasers. How is it so much worse if your yardage device gives you some friendly advice too?

Simply put, if a device can help the average player hit an extra green or two, or avoid the occasional hazard, it feels like that would have a net benefit on the pace of play versus any extra time spent pulling out a gadget prior to each shot. Or, put another way, how is a gadget like Arccos Caddie any different than pulling out a yardage book and turning to a human caddie for advice?

Ultimately this brings up the old argument about friendly versus legal golf. Playing by the strict rules of golf certainly has its time and place, but, what percentage of golfers actually do that on a typical day out? During a casual round with friends, it’s nearly routine to ask, “What distance have you got?” or even, “What did you hit there?” Both penalties according¬†to the current rules of the game. If I can turn to a digital caddie to get that information instead, that sure sounds like playing more within the spirit of the game to me.

Good call USGA.