Blue, White, or Red stakes on a hole are general distance markers for every course I have ever played. I always thought that if I was playing a course that had the distance to the green printed on the sprinkler heads, I was playing a pretty nice course. It always made me feel like they went the extra mile for me and my game.
One time I was playing a round with a friend who kept looking at his watch. I asked him if he was late for an appointment or something, and he just started laughing. He said that it was a Garmin Rangefinder that he received as a gift. So of course I was curious, at the turn, I started searching the web for rangefinders for golf.
After our round ended I asked him if it had helped his game at all, what he told me blew my mind! He said that he felt that using his rangefinder gave him a better feel for distances which helped him to choose which club to use. He had definitely been playing better, whether it was because of his rangefinder or some other reason I do not know. What I do know is that he was “giving me a run for my money”, as the saying goes.
Well, I figured that if it could help his game why not mine? This post covers the topics that I needed to understand in order to find a good rangefinder.
Why Do I Need a RangeFinder?
First of all, if my friend’s game is getting better, then I have to do something. Now I know that you are supposed to be playing against yourself in golf but come on, you all know you are trying to stay ahead of your buddy whom you always hit the course with.
Yes, yes, I am competitive. He and I have a great time going back and forth on what the rules are and of course who the better golfer is. For example, we do not ask each other which club we are going to hit before a shot as that is against the rules.
Of course this is all done in fun, there is no money involved or anything. If I can lower my score, however, then that is the primary reason why I need a rangefinder for golf.
Another reason why it would be good to have a rangefinder is that it really does take the guesswork out of how far you need to hit the ball. This in turn gives you vital information for that next shot. It tells you which club you should use, as you should know how far you hit all the clubs in your bag. Getting to the green by using the distance markers on the course is OK but sometimes you have a green that is 50 yards deep. If the flag is at the back of the green you really need to pick a club that can cover that distance.
The Features I Need to Lower My Score
Everything you ever buy it seems comes down to features. It is always cool to have that new fan dangled thing that has all the bells and whistles, but are those features really worth the price? Does the feature fit the purpose and make it better or is it just another gimmick?
I need my rangefinder to be useful and make my game better, period. I also do not want to spend all of my golf money on something that is just a nice to have. You will find that I am not one of those golfers that has to have the newest and shiniest gadgets. My goal is to get better at the game and enjoy it as much as humanly possible.
Here are a common list of features you will find in rangefinders for golf.
- Pin Seeker feedback technology
- Minimum distance and maximum distance
- Yards to flags
- Yard accuracy
- Battery Consumption
- Contrast, clarity and light transmission
- Legal for tournament play
The features required will be different for everyone. I personally love the Pin Seeker technology. It is really helpful when you can pinpoint the flag and feel the rangefinder vibrate or make a noise so that you know you are on target.
Today it seems that most of the ranges that rangefinders are offering, are well beyond the distance of most holes. They cover upwards of 1300 yards or more. Where you really want to focus is on how far away can you target a flag and how accurate it will be within that range.
Another major concern for me is battery life. It is very frustrating to be midway through a round and find out your rangefinder just died because the unit was consuming power just by turning it on.
Of course, you cannot go without a waterproof and even a shatter resistant unit. Seriously, you are playing a sport outside in the elements. Where I live in the Northeastern United States, the weather seems to change by the hour.
Based on these criteria, I narrowed it down to the following 3 rangefinders for golf.
Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT Golf Laser Rangefinder
TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder – Laser Range Finder with Pinsensor
Callaway 300 Pro Golf Laser Rangefinder with Slope Measurement
Oh NO! I Just Dropped It!
This is probably my greatest worry. As you can see, the above links are showing that I am going to spend maybe $200 – $500. If I take my rangefinder out of its protective case and drop it on the golf cart path, or it finds the sharpest and hardest point to hit on the way to the ground, I am going to completely lose it!
My rangefinder must be able to withstand being dropped. It needs to be able to handle a shock to its system and still be completely accurate. Based on this I have now narrowed down my search further. I am now down to the Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT and the Triple Tec VPRO500.
My Golf Partner Just Spilled His Beer All Over my Bushnell
So now my rangefinder is protected from my clumsy hands, feet or just plain absentmindedness. But what about protection from your friends and the foibles they may cause? You know how it goes, sometimes you are golfing with someone who has more empty cans in their cart than golf clubs.
Have you ever set your rangefinder down on the seat of your golf cart or maybe you are nice and lent it to someone so they can use it for their shot? They in turn accidentally spill their “Beverage of Choice” all over it. It is one thing to play golf in bad weather where you need to protect it from normal water, and totally different thing to see someone spill their can of suds all over it. So I need one that is waterproof or at least water resistant.
I chose the Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT because it met the criteria that matters the most to me.
How this Rangefinder Has Helped my Game
After getting this rangefinder in my golf bag, I have been able to move my game to a whole new level. I have dropped strokes from my game and more importantly have increased my confidence level in the shots that I am taking.
My mental focus on the course has been able to move more towards strategy and away from trying to guess how far I am away from the flag. I have less frustration because of this which has increased my enjoyment of the game.
Enjoying the game of golf is one thing, and I can tell you this sport if you let it will totally take over your every waking moment. I am totally addicted not to just the game but to using a rangefinder. It has totally changed the way I look at the game of golf. Has it helped your game? I would love to hear from you about the experiences you have had with your rangefinders.
I have been playing this game for about 13 years now. Still having difficulty year in and year out with my range. That is my clubs are not always the same every year. I have tried a few of the apps on my phone which have worked OK. Nothing too accurate. I had a golfer use a range finder during a session last year. I have no idea which one it was. He seemed to be pretty accurate with it. I think this year may be my time to use this review and make the investment. Thank you for the information. Time to start looking.
I remember using my phone for a while and just never really saw any improvement. It seemed that it was guessing more than I was. I think that in general these laser rangefinders are all pretty good. However, I have found that the big names seem to really pay attention to the detail. When you find the one you like, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to email me or post back here if you have any questions.
Wow, I never knew these existed. While I don’t play golf myself, my brother and cousin are obsessed with the game, routinely playing at various courses almost every weekend throughout the spring and summer. I have a nice network of friends who play the game often as well, and even a personal training client who plays every Tuesday throughout the spring and summer. I’m not sure if they use range finders, but they’re competitive and play a good game, so I know it’s something both would be more than interested in. Thanks for the awesome article. Will be sharing.
Thanks for the feedback. With so many friends and family that play I am surprised they have not pulled you in. It is definitely something that can take up a lot of time, especially if you want to be good at it. I know that for me, like your brother and cousin, it is something that I get excited about everytime the season comes around. Let me know if and when you get started playing. I would love to hear what you think of the game when you get started.