The USGA issued a decision Wednesday that expands the possibilities of how technology is used in competition. Responding directly to Arccos, the GPS-based stat-tracking platform, the USGA ruled that Arccos Caddie—a feature in the company’s Arccos 360 App for smart phones that uses stored data to give strategy recommendations to a golfer on the tee based on your past performance—is permitted during competition, as long as it stays on Tournament Mode and only discerns information with yardage, just as the USGA ruled on distance-measuring devices with Rule 14-3. Here is the USGA’s full explanation:

“Based on the information provided and our understanding that the Arccos 360 is incapable of gauging or measuring any parameter other than distance, use of the Arccos Caddie application in conjunction with the Arccos 360 application, as submitted, has been evaluated and it has been determined that the use of the Arccos Caddie application is permitted under the Rules of Golf when a Committee establishes a Local Rule permitting the use of distance measuring devices (see Decision 14-3/0.5). However, please note that in the absence of such a Local Rule, use of the Arccos System during a stipulated round is contrary to Rule 14-3.” The intelligence given from Arccos Caddie is only considered conforming off the tee, because, according to the USGA, those recommendations can be made before a round begins. Just as a 2016 USGA rules revision (Rule 14-3a) allowed distance-measuring devices to be used only in a tournament mode, with anything extra such as slope or shot recommendations not being permitted, the USGA made that point clear in this decision:

“Please note that if a player could access certain information through the Arccos mobile application during the stipulated round that might assist him in his play, such as current round shot information (e.g., shot distance, individually or included in the club averages, or club selection during the round) or certain statistics, the player could be in breach of Rule 14-3a of the Rules of Golf. This is because the player could be deemed to have used an artificial device to access information that might assist him in his play.” The USGA did not immediately return a request for comment. Read more here…

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