Arnold Palmer News: Archives
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October 21, 2005
Distance Measuring Devices Permitted - Good News for Palmer Endorsed LaserLink
By Mike Dudurich
Sunday, October 9, 2005
Remember persimmon woods, the predecessors of today's metal woods?
How about the steel shafts that have been replaced to a great extent by graphite shafts?
And who could forget the old wound golf balls that have been replaced by the longer-soaring titanium center balls?
Technology has changed the game of golf and how we play it, and it played a big part last week in the most important change to the Rules of Golf, as agreed to by the USGA and the R&A.
Golf's dual ruling bodies, in New Decision 14-3/0.5, said a committee is permitted to allow the use of distance measuring devices by local rule. This applies to devices that measure distance only and not any other conditions that might affect a player's game, such as wind or gradient. In the absence of such a local rule, the use of a distance measuring device remains contrary to the rules.
That new rule, one of 111 additions or changes to the Rules of Golf, applies to devices like Laser Link's Range Finder and Bushnell's Pinseeker. In our remote-control driven society, golfers can point at a flagstick (or a bunker or water hazard, depending on which device they're using), click and immediately know the distance.
Recreational golfers can reap the benefits of that ruling in their club and local tournaments, as long as the use is specified in a local rule. Country clubs and public courses will see the benefit of the rule in an improved pace of play, an oft-heard complaint.
"These devices help get you around, there's no question about it," said Arnold Palmer, who, along with Jack Nicklaus, is a spokesman for Laser Link. "Pebble Beach is the worst in the world (in terms of pace of play) and we're playing 4 1/2-hour rounds there, and that's remarkable."
When Nicklaus put Laser Link to use at his Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, pace of play improved by 15 minutes per round.
"It's difficult for someone as old as I am, who played golf in the days when none of this stuff was available or even allowed," Palmer said last week. "I can remember my father saying to me, 'Just remember your eyes and feel for a golf hole are what's going to make you good or make you play good.'
"You can see, and that's very important, and with all the modern techniques today we've gone away from that. But I liked it. I still think from time to time it would be great to rely on our senses to play, but that isn't going to happen. I can't reject the fact that golf has become modern."
The PGA Tour and USGA have said they have no immediate plans to allow the devices in their competitions. The two major golf organizations in Western Pennsylvania -- the West Penn Golf Association and the Tri-State Section PGA -- haven't addressed the issue.
"Our staff will recommend to ban them from our individual competitions," said Jeff Rivard, executive director of the WPGA. "We believe that club selection and yardage determination is still a big part of championship golf."
Dennis Darak, executive director of the Tri-State, said his organization will deal with the issue in a few months.
From a manufacturer's standpoint, it's all about getting golfers around the course more efficiently.
"It's a win-win for golfers, no doubt about it," said Jordan Vermillion, product manager for Bushnell. "It will get them through a little faster, make it more enjoyable, and once they use it a few times, it will increase their confidence as well."
"It will be about convenience for the players. We live in an instant gratification world," said Rob O'Loughlin, president of Laser Link Golf. "Our mission is not about the Tour. We want to help the average guy get around the course."
Laser Link, Bushnell and the other electronic devices available may not be targeting the Tour, but during practice rounds on Tour, caddies use the devices to verify what their yardage books show and what they walk off.
"It's a foregone conclusion the pros are going to have the yardages, one way or another. Either the caddie is going to get it, or they're going to get it personally. So what's the difference?" Palmer said. "That's for sure. When do I think it will be legal on Tour? Next year. I suppose they could prevent it for a while, but I don't think forever. I think it's a foregone conclusion that it's going to be used. There's no way around it."
Mike Dudurich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 836-5095.
Posted by scurry at 10:03 AM
October 19, 2005
Palmer Insures Proficiency in Cessna Citation X Jet
Arnold Palmer takes no chances with regard to flying his personal jet aircraft. He and his chief pilot, retired Air Force colonel Pete Luster, polish their skills in handling his Cessna Citation X jet annually by undergoing mandatory, intensive recurrent training at a Flight Safety facility. This year they will attend classroom and simulator classes Dec. 17-19 at Flight Safety's new installation at the Orlando International Airport in the city where Palmer makes his winter home. Palmer has been flying since the late 1950s and has been a qualified jet pilot since acquiring his first jet aircraft - a Jet Commander - in 1966. The highlight of his aviation career came in 1976 when he and three other men set a new international record, flying a Lear Jet 36 around the world from Denver to Denver in 57 hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds. His long-time association with the airport at his hometown of Latrobe PA was recognized in 1999 when it was renamed the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, a first-class facility that recently received a state grant of $500,000 for hangar expansion. Luster has been with Palmer since 1996 when Arnold acquired the first of his two Citation X's. Palmer is expected to make an appearance during the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando Nov. 9-11.
Posted by dgiffin at 03:47 PM