If you play golf, you’ve most likely heard of rangefinders. GPS and Laser rangefinders are quickly becoming a favorite item for many golfers to use to improve their golf game. They come in several different styles and prices, and you can choose from GPS rangefinders or Laser rangefinder.
However, are they really worth all of the hype? This is what we researched because rangefinders are finding they way onto golf courses all over the world. We’ll list several pros and cons to using a rangefinder so you can make an informed decision on whether or not this technology is right for you.
Golf Rangefinder: Pros
One of the highest selling points with rangefinders is their accuracy levels. By improving your distance accuracy level, you’ll learn how soft or hard to strike the ball to get it as close to your target as possible. Depending on the rangefinder, you can get your distance accuracy within one yard on a target that is up to 250 yards away.
Easy to Find Your Targets
A feature many rangefinders come with is built-in warning systems that either flash or vibrate when your rangefinder sees your target. These features make it easier to pinpoint your target, and they’re generally easy to use. Normally, you’ll just have to point your rangefinder or scan until to hits on your target.
Durable and Portable
As rangefinders started to catch on, companies started working harder to make their rangefinder units sleeker, smaller, lighter weight, and overall easier to carry around. Additionally, they started making them more durable to withstand a variety of weather conditions and any accidental drops.
Along with helping to improve your accuracy rating, several models also come equipped with useful smart features and apps. You may find things like jolt technology or the always popular slope mode. The slope mode allows golfers to accurately measure slope factors so they can plan their ball trajectory when their turn comes. (Note some courses don’t allow models with the slope feature. Why? Because it wouldn’t be golf without some weird rules.)
Both GPS and Laser rangefinders can give the golfer using them very quick measurement results. They can quickly and easily tell you distances, things in your way, slope trajectory, and more all in a few seconds. The Laser rangefinder is a little faster than the GPS model, but they both work quickly.
When you look through your golf rangefinder, it magnifies your target area. This allows you to look at your target, but also behind it at the same time. You should be able to get a good idea of what the course has in store for you in holes to come.
Golf Rangefinder: Cons
While a rangefinder will tell you the distance to your selected target, it typically won’t tell you green specifics. You won’t know the accurate measurements of the front, back, or center of the green unless there is a specific target you can focus on.
Greater Distances Can Mean Inaccurate Readings
This point is targeted more toward Laser rangefinders, but it can include outdated GPS devices as well. Generally speaking, the farther you are away from your selected target, the more chances of interference there are. Your rangefinder could pick up on things around the flagstick and not the actual flagstick itself. This can skew your distance and make it harder to get within range.
In recent years, rangefinders have started to come down in price. However, you still may find yourself paying over £200 for a more basic rangefinder, and the rangefinders with more features can easily go upwards of £500. This may seem like too much to pay for many casual golfers.
Problems with Steadiness
Laser rangefinders typically require steady hands to work correctly. If you find yourself shaking, or you’re simply not able to hold steady enough, you won’t get an accurate reading. The worse case scenario is that your laser rangefinder may not be able to locate the target at all.
Outdated Maps (for GPS systems)
GPS rangefinders depend on maps to give you specific course or hole readouts. If your GPS rangefinder isn’t updated on a regular basis, you won’t have the most up-to-date information to play on. Also, some golf clubs don’t map their courses at all, so you won’t be able to use your GPS rangefinder with them. One solution is to buy a laser rangefinder instead!
Contrary to popular belief, you most likely won’t be able to take your rangefinder out and have it work exactly as you want it to your first few times. There is a learning curve associated with both Laser and GPS rangefinders, and the level of difficulty depends largely on the model you choose. You’ll have to practice and experiment to find the best way that works for your playing style.
Golf rangefinders are excellent tools you can use to improve your overall accuracy and gameplay. They are slightly more costly upfront, but they are built to last for years. Both the Laser and GPS rangefinders have advantages and disadvantages to using them, and it’s up to you to decide if they’re worth it.
Many people that have them claim they’ll never play without them again, and other people say they won’t use them. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Me? I will never go back to not having one!