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‘Waste of time’: Why caddies are saying rangefinders won’t prevent slow play

Seasoned European Tour bagman Steve Brotherhood tells Alex Perry why the PGA of America have got it wrong by allowing DMDs in tournaments

The PGA of America has wasted no time getting down to business in 2021. First they ditched Donald Trump’s resort as the host of next year’s PGA Championship, then they announced that players will be allowed to use rangefinders during their events.

This caused quite a stir on social media and the caddie community had plenty to say about it.

So I asked Steve Brotherhood, a European Tour caddie since 2004 working with the likes of Paul Broadhurst, Marc Warren, Ritchie Ramsay and, most notably, eight years with David Howell, to join me on the NCG Podcast to discuss the matter.

I asked him for his immediate reaction to the news. “Waste of time,” he replied, without even thinking about it.

“There is so much detail in yardage books now, with numbers [for] pretty much everything.

“Slow play is a big big issue and bringing a laser into play, after using this as well, is just going to slow play up.

“We will walk [the course] on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So going into Thursday we will have all the numbers we need.

“I swear by the Bushnell laser, I’ve had it for 16 seasons [and it’s] never let me down. It’s a great bit of kit during the practice round, but you won’t see me using it on the golf course, that’s for sure.”

So when does Steve envisage a time he might use it?

“The only time I think I’d use it is if my player’s miles off line, maybe onto another fairway, and we can’t get a good angle to pace off the yardage from the spots in the book,” Steve explains.

“If you imagine you’re lasering to a flag, and then your player says, ‘What is it to the front of the green?’ Straight away I’ve got to go back to my book to see how far the flag is on, so I’ve got to take that off. Then he asks, ‘What have I got to the back to the green?’ Then I have a look at my yardage book to see how far past the flag I’ve got.

“All that informations is in my book.

“If you haven’t got a number from wherever you are, you’ve been pretty lazy.”

I ask Steve if there has ever been any talk of it coming into force on the European Tour, or if he believes it might happen.

“Absolutely not,” he says. “There are always rumours – it’s the same as anything when new technology comes out.

“[And] if they do introduce lasers, I don’t think they’ll be used because there’s no way they will get rid of the yardage books. The players and the caddies won’t allow that.”

Now listen to the podcast

Steve Brotherhood was chatting on the NCG Podcast, where he goes into more details about why he thinks rangefinders will not improve the pace of play on tour.

It then turned into a wide-ranging discussion about Steve’s career that included a fascinating insight into how the trend of players putting friends on the bag affected professional caddies, “prank” texts from Hugh Grant, and his thoughts on that Matt Kuchar incident in Mexico.

Also, did he apply the Rory McIlroy job when that became available? And how do you even apply for a job as a caddie?

Sit back and enjoy the tales of a seasoned bagman who has seen it all on the European Tour.

Listen below or on your preferred podcast platform.

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Source: National Club Golf