Shane Lowry: Shorter courses not Rangefinders will bring golf up to speed

Open Champion & Paddy Power Ambassador Shane Lowry isn't sure this week's experiment with the telescopic rangefinders in the PGA Championship will have the desired effect.

Shane Lowry Kiawah Island


I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the PGA Tour’s experiment with Rangefinders at this week’s PGA Championship in an attempt to ‘speed up’ the game.

And while using this equipment to better estimate the distance and accuracy of the shot won’t make the game any slower, I’m not sure how much faster it will make it.

The irony is that we hear the authorities want to ‘speed up’ golf, but then they keep making the courses longer and tougher to play.

That’s the point I’m making.


When I’m out with friends I’d use Rangefinders, but in tournament play and especially Majors like this week’s event at Kiawah Island, the pin positions are a little tighter and a player has a lot more to worry about than just ‘distance’.

We’re trying to gauge how far the carry is to the front of the green, how far it is to carry the bunker and little nuances like that. I’ll certainly still be carrying a yardage book this week and I’d say most players will still get their caddy to do the same, even with the permitted Rangefinders to look through.


Having a good caddy is also part of the game – would Rangefinders take away from that too? Possibly.

The PGA have obviously put some thought into this and feel that it’s worth doing in the second golf Major of the season as well as in their Senior & Women’s Championship. It’s certainly worth a try and in a couple of years, we may be wondering why we didn’t do this all along.

I’m just not sure the initiative will have the desired effect to speed up play and I really don’t see the point of it at all, to be honest. But that’s just my take on it.

Shane Lowry Portrush The Open July 21, 2019

Open Championship 2021

I saw the other day that the R&A is confident that a ‘significant’ number of spectators should be allowed on course when I finally get to defend my Open Championship crown at Royal St George’s.

That’s brilliant news if things go according to plan but we’ve been here before. No-one would have believed we’d still be in some form of lockdown 12 months on from when the pandemic first broke – so we’ll just have to wait and see.

However, there seems to be more light at the end of the tunnel with the UK trialling limited spectator events and plans for more in even greater numbers. It would be great if the Open Championship was back to playing in front of full galleries again in mid-July.

All the players definitely miss the buzz and the atmosphere of playing in front of crowds and can’t wait for them to return in numbers again. Let’s hope we get back to it shortly.



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What do you think?