I have got some interesting feedback from the makers of the GolfShot iPhone App. You can read the responses below, but in summary, an app is
legal as long as it can only measure distance.
Furthermore, the iPhone must not have apps installed which can measure slopes, temperature and wind (speed and direction) - don't ask me how this would work in reality i.e. can you really see golf club officials scrolling through your iPhone making sure you have none of these apps?. And if you really want to be pedantic, whats stopping you downloading these apps once you are out on the course? It looks like they are relying on everyone's integrity similar to keeping scores etc.
So in theory if a club has a local rule permitting the use of DMDs, then a distance measuring iPhone App falls under this category. However they recommend that you check with your club first.
Do clubs have local rules banning the use of mobile phones? If so then that rules out the iPhone straight away...
I'm just not convinced on this one as there are a lot of grey areas.
Anyways with regards to the thread on GPS friendly clubs, I wonder would it be an idea to modify it to include whether or not the club also permits iPhone Apps? - just a thought....
Response from makers of GolfShot:
Not sure if you saw this article or not but I'll quote the text below:
"Smartphones and Other Multi-function Devices"
In the case of multi-function and smartphone devices that can run golf GPS apps, such as the iPhone and BlackBerry, the ruling is more complex, but it is clear. Some have interpreted the 2009 USGA/R&A Joint Statement to mean that multi-function devices that may include phone, Web-browser, and weather app capability, are not permitted for competition under any circumstances.
That is not the case, says Carter Rich, equipment standards manager for the USGA Test Center, based in Far Hills, New Jersey. For example, use of a conforming golf GPS app on an iPhone or BlackBerry is allowed when the local rule permitting use of such apps is in effect, with some qualifiers. These fall into two categories:
1. Resident functions normally found on smartphones, such as web browsers, and calling capability.
2. Golf-specific apps or other apps that might assist the player in making a stroke or in his or her play.
Even though a golfer could potentially open a weather site via a Web browser during competition, Rich says, the rules do not prohibit the use of a Web browser-equipped smartphone in competition. There are other, permitted uses for a Web browser, such as checking e-mail, for example (don’t do that in my foursome, though!).
As with many rules of golf, it’s up to the golfer to stay within the rules with these capabilities on devices in his or her possession during competition. The same is true for phone calling capability, for example. “It’s fine to call your family and let them know you’ll be late for dinner. But calling your coach for swing tips is of course not permitted under the Rules of Golf,” says Rich. Regarding specific apps, there are some that you may not have on your device, whether you use them or not. For example, green slope-reading capability is not permitted on dedicated GPS or laser rangefinders, nor is it permitted on smartphones and other multi-function electronic devices, says Rich. Simply having a green-slope reading app or functionality on your device is enough to make it non-conforming, and to disqualify the golfer. However, a conforming golf GPS smartphone app that provides distances is still permitted.
The bottom line? Keep using conforming dedicated GPS devices and smartphone apps when the local rule permitting them is in effect, taking care to keep in mind the letter and intent of the rules as clarified above."