This year's US PGA Championship will be the first men's major to allow the use of distance measuring devices during competition rounds.
The surprise policy, announced today by the PGA of America, will debut in the second men's major of the year, scheduled to take place at Kiawah Island in South Carolina from May 19-23.
It will also be implemented at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship and the Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship.
The PGA of America explained that the decision has been taken with a view to combatting slow play but added that the devices will need to conform to the Rules of Golf, specifically Rule 4.3a (1) pertaining to 'Distance and Directional Information'.
It includes the following conditions:
• Allowed - Getting information on distance or direction (such as from a distance-measuring device or compass).
• Not Allowed - Measuring elevation changes, or interpreting distance or directional information (such as using a device to get a recommended line of play or club selection based on the location of the player's ball).
"We're always interested in methods that may help improve the flow of play during our championships," said PGA of America president Jim Richerson.
"The use of distance-measuring devices is already common within the game and is now a part of the Rules of Golf. Players and caddies have long used them during practice rounds to gather relevant yardages."