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Rules Guy: Can I use a drone to check the pin position before hitting my approach?

November 12, 2019

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

Is it permitted to send a drone to check out the green contours and pin position before hitting my approach shot? — CAPT. BIRINDER SINGH SIDHU, VIA E-MAIL

Captain, just when I thought I’d heard everything, a query comes in reminding me that the human capacity for challenging conventions is surely limitless. You will be disappointed but perhaps not shocked to learn that such a reconnaissance mission is verboten under Rule 4.3a, which covers equipment that reduces the need for skill or judgment essential to the game.

First breach of the rule is the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play; second breach is disqualification; third breach, court-martial.

Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to rulesguy@golf.com. We promise he won’t throw the book at you.