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New gadget: Distance Measuring Device or Dumbing Measuring Down?

The tsunami of technology ­continues to flood in.

Last night, the Royal & Ancient's championship committee succumbed to the onslaught by allowing the use of distance measuring devices (DMDs) in their amateur events for 2014.

The use of such devices has been covered by an optional local rule, one which has been available under the Rules of Golf since 2006, and the R&A themselves have now decided to take up this option.

Officials stressed that the rule will not be used in the Open Championship or any Open qualifying events. They also emphasised the point that they are not making this a recommendation for other championship organisers to follow.

Evangelists of the contraptions believe that they can speed up play. Any golfer, however, who has watched someone pace out a yardage, flick through the strokesaver, lift the binocular-like invention to their eyes, peer intently at the distant flag in much the same way as a bird-watcher gazes at a Great Crested Grebe, and then skitter an approach into a nearby bush will snort at these pace-of-play benefits.

Andrew Coltart, the former European Tour winner and Ryder Cup player, has been particularly vocal about the increasing influence of DMDs on younger players. "They have adopted the new, lazy, easy approach to golf," he noted. "They take out their laser and shoot at the pin."

Coltart remains a firm believer in the benefits of individual reconnaissance whereby players learn to read a course and piece together their own, detailed yardage books; a valuable skill he fears is withering among the new generation.

Like-minded souls maintain that the DMDs are simply dumbing down the shot-planning process. Used properly, they can certainly be a handy aid but not to the overly reliant point where the player's own judgement and feel is shoved aside.

"I feel the wind on my face and I think about the temperature; is it hot, is it cold?" reflected Miguel Angel Jimenez, who rose through the caddie ranks to become one of the European Tour's most decorated stalwarts. "And then I go with my instincts."

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