Pro is disqualified on 1st hole — because of rule sometimes not in play 


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To Blake Abercrombie’s defense, the rule he oh so painfully broke is sometimes no infraction at all. 

Though, of course, sometimes it is. 

Oh so painfully.

As first reported by the Fire Pit Collective’s Ryan French this week, Abercrombie was playing the first hole at a DP World Tour Q School first stage event last week, he used a rangefinder, and he was booted. We know your question.

Aren’t rangefinders allowed now under the rules? 

And the answer is yes. But it depends. 

The USGA describes the rule well in a graphic on its home page. And an exception. The note reads: “Rule 4.3a allows the use of distance-measuring devices so long as the player does not access any information that is prohibited under this Rule. The first breach of this Rule means the player gets a loss of hole penalty in match play or a two-stroke penalty in stroke play. A second breach of Rule 4.3 during the same round results in disqualification. NOTE: A golf course or the Committee in charge of a competition does have the option to prohibit the use of distance-measuring devices by Local Rule.”

The note is the key. Notably, rangefinders weren’t allowed anywhere until a 2019 rules change. 

So Abercrombie was DQ’d. Over Twitter, French and another player at the event added a few more details. 

Abercrombie had paid 2,000 euros to play in the event in Brabrand, Denmark, according to French. He had also flown over from the U.S. 

In response to French’s tweet, pro Nicolas Paez added that “there was literally a sheet on the tee saying no distance measuring devices and the starter reminded us. No excuse.” A user responded that Paez had given a “poor take,” to which he replied:

“It happened less than 10 minutes after you were instructed the rules. It’s your job to follow the rules.”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at