If you’re serious about improving your golf skills, a rangefinder is the essential tool for you. Helping players to determine the distance to any given point on the course, they can either come as software which is installed on another device or as a standalone unit in its own right. Rangefinders are especially useful for new golfers, since they do all of the hard work for them in assisting them to improve their game and get it right from the start. However, even more experienced golfers can find that these handy devices are invaluable in speeding up the game and achieving a more accurate drive.
There are two categories of golf rangefinder – GPS and laser devices. There are pros and cons of each:
- The cost of GPS devices is generally much lower than a laser device. There are many GPS golfing apps available for download to smartphones and many of them are even completely free of charge. Even a standalone GPS unit can cost only around $100. Of course, there are other more expensive GPS options with many more features too.
- There are many forms of GPS device out there. You can have the software installed onto your watch, phone, even on a hat clip, and of course, there is always the handheld unit. Players can choose whichever format is the most convenient and speedy for them.
- If you choose a full-featured GPS device, you will get a lot more information. This is especially good when playing a brand new course, since a GPS device can give you the distance to the water and bunkers as well as invisible hazards. It also gives all kinds of data about the shape and size of the green.
- The main problem with GPS units is that they are still not especially accurate, and even though modern devices have made huge improvements in this area, a laser device is still more effective. A GPS unit is unable to give a precise yardage to the flag.
- GPS units are only able to be used at courses which have been mapped by the company. Although most have now been done, there are still a few which haven’t.
- GPS units aren’t the easiest to use, and this could be an issue for new golfers.
- The top reason for choosing a laser rangefinder is that it is very accurate to within a yard, and some even to within a half or tenth of a yard.
- Laser rangefinders can be used anywhere with no need to download the course in advance. They are perfect on the range too.
- The worst thing about laser rangefinders is that they are pretty expensive, starting out at around $200. Although they are durable and long lasting, they still involve a lot of cash up front.
- While a GPS device can give you yardages very quickly, lasers have a habit of slowing down the pace of play. If you have shaky hands, it is even harder to aim the device at the flag. That said, even a laser device will still speed up your game.
- A laser rangefinder is only capable of giving yardages to things which can be seen and hit by the laser. It is fine for determining the distance to the pin but not for determining the distances to the middle, back or front of the green.
You can find out more about the types of golf rangefinder on the market today by reading this page.
Best GPS Golf Rangefinders
The SkyCaddie Touch has 34000 preloaded courses which have been mapped on foot to ensure optimal accuracy. There are also new HD onDemand maps which can also be downloaded so players can get a clearer view of each hole. The touchscreen is high resolution and is capable of providing yardages from any point. The round stats and scores can also be synced with ease via Bluetooth to the SkyGolf mobile app for reference. The accurate information is highly detailed and well presented, making this a great device for both new and experienced players alike.
Garmin Approach S20
Well known manufacturer Garmin has produced a stylish and effective GPS watch device which features a convenient slim design with great graphics. Rapid to charge thanks to the dedicated USB and clip, it can hold a charge for a couple of rounds, and it is also waterproof for use in all weathers. Simple to use, it displays plenty of information, with details about scoring, lay ups and hazards outlined clearly. This versatile device is even capable of measuring your walking steps to improve your health and well-being and since the Garmin Connect app is easy to use and comes free of charge, that makes it even better value.
Best Laser Golf Rangefinders
Bushnell Tour Z6
The popular device features Pinseeker with JOLT technology which makes it vibrate when it has locked onto the target. Ranging from 5 up to 1300 yards with ½ yard accuracy, this device offers a magnification of 6 x and also Vivid Display technology which changes the optics to suit lighting conditions. Not only that, but this is a very compact unit with an easy grip rubber exterior. It is waterproof and durable for a long lifespan. Results are accurate and speedy thanks to the ESP technology and thanks to the point and click operation is couldn’t be easier to use.
Bushnell Pro X7
Another laser rangefinder from this top brand, this unit is incredibly accurate and magnifies x 7. Also featuring JOLT vibrating technology, Vivid Display and the ESP ranging system, this impressive device can range up to 1 mile within ½ yard of accuracy. Requiring two hands to operate, this larger model has a version which also boasts slope technology for even better accuracy. The device is also simple to use, with an ergonomic design that works well on both the green and the driving range.