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Golfing can be a ton of fun, but it’s even better when you are prepared for the game. Gettings used to a new course can be a daunting task, but there is a device that can make it easier. If you want to be at your best, you’ll want to invest in the best golf rangefinder and learn how to use it.
Rangefinders can be terrific tools if used properly. While it won’t improve your stroke, it can help you out in a pinch to figure out where you are concerning everything else. Everyone needs a bit of assistance sometimes.
What Is a Rangefinder
Finding the best golf rangefinder won’t do you any good if you don’t know what it is in the first place. Rangefinders are devices many golfers use to practice or when they are playing by themselves. They are helpful, compact devices that mainly take the place of a caddie.
After all, unless you are playing a proper round of golf, you won’t have access to a caddie.
Rangefinders allow you to find the distance between where you are and pretty much anything on the course. You can use these to see how far a bunker is, how far you’ll need to hit the ball to get to the hole, traps, trees, water, anything. And that can be very helpful if you’re new to a course and don’t have an idea of where things are.
There will be some golfers that look at rangefinders and GPS devices as cheating. However, they can be beneficial tools to help you practice with.
Why should you use one?
These electronic devices are changing the way golf is played but does it change the game that much? The biggest question before you go out and find the best golf rangefinder is, should you even use one? That answer is entirely up to you.
Rangefinders have a ton of great benefits to them, but some more traditional golfers still prefer to go about things the old fashioned way. While there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever, rangefinders make it so you can focus more on your game and your technique and less on the monotonous bits.
In a poll from 2012, about 69 percent of golf players actively use rangefinders, while 31 percent do not. Now, that study is a bit dated, but these devices are now nearly standard issue for many golfers. So why are golfers starting to use these more and more?
The convenience and accuracy of rangefinders are their most significant appeal. You can take them out, point downrange, and have the near exact distance in seconds. It saves you from having to walk to wherever you are trying to judge or shoot and walking back to your ball.
This allows you to get on with your game and spend less time assuming or trying to do the math in your head.
Also, these devices will enable you to avoid a lot of traps and blind spots, so you don’t get stuck in one of them during your round. Not to mention, by knowing precisely what your distance is, you can select the right club to use for that situation.
How do rangefinders work?
The best rangefinder will have a lot of features and functions beyond judging distance. However, that is its primary function, and it’s also the only function that is allowed during tournaments.
A rangefinder uses a laser to judge the distance of where you are and whatever it’s pointing at. The device will shoot a laser at your target, and it will bounce back, giving an incredibly accurate distance estimate. The accuracy of these devices is so high that you can point it at just about anything and get the distance in seconds.
Some of the higher end and best golf rangefinder options will come with technology to distinguish between the flag and the trees behind it, which makes the estimate that more accurate, saving you a whole lot of hassle down the line.
Other features that no doubt the best golf rangefinder will include a focus on elevation and other factors that can affect your shot. However, each rangefinder will have different features besides the standard distance function. So if extra features are something that you are looking for, be sure to pay attention to that.
Golf Rangefinders vs. GPS
There are a handful of devices that golfers can use for both tournaments and for practicing. While rangefinders are the most straightforward option, GPS devices and smartphone apps are also available.
GPS devices and apps give you a visual representation of the course you are on, along with numbers to represent distances to some notable regions. The top-down view of the course can offer you a far more accurate reading of where things are concerning you at any point during the game.
GPS devices are also far more reliable, as they are powered by satellite images and aren’t affected by weather or shapes.
Also, many GPS products and especially smartphone apps will give you more in-depth functions like swing analysis, predictions, and suggestions. Some rangefinders may do that, but they focus much more on what’s right in front of you at the moment.
However, many golfers see a GPS and the apps as too much technology for a game that should be about your technique and overall skill. Not to mention, some courses have bans on mobile phones, as they can be more of a distraction than anything else.
Rangefinders, on the other hand, purely work with measuring distances, slope, and sometimes elevation. While GPS devices are very useful, many of their functions are not legal during tournaments. For this reason, if you want to play it safe, a rangefinder is the better choice.
Are rangefinders legal in competition golf?
If you are thinking to yourself that you may have found a way to get a leg up on the competition during an official tournament or even against your friend, think again. While rangefinders are currently legal in PGA tournaments, many of their features are not allowed in any way.
In 2017, PGA announced that they would be having a trial run for allowing players at various upcoming tournaments to compete using rangefinders. These tournaments include the Web.com Tour, the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, and the Mackenzie PGA Tour Canada. During these events, players would be allowed to use these devices to see how they impact tournament play.
However, there was some limitation on this trial run. While the distance measuring function would be allowed, any function that measures slope, elevation, or wind would not be.
Now, for all tournaments, rangefinders, GPS devices, and smartphone distance measuring apps are allowed to be used throughout the play.
However, there are a lot of things that this rule limits. The limitations include any function that was previously banned, slope, elevation, and wind, but there is a lot more now.
With advancements in technology, the rules had to adjust so everything was covered and a player couldn’t claim that a feature wasn’t included and therefore should be allowed. So, the banned features now also include coach/trainer contact during a round, swing analysis, and Plays Like or Club Suggestions.
So basically, anything that gives you suggestions or technical analysis is not allowed during league and tournament play.
However, since many of the best golf rangefinder brands have features that enable you to disable certain functions, you can still use one.
How to use a golf rangefinder
If you are brand new to the wonderful world of golf and are looking at everything you need for your set, a rangefinder will be something you’ll want to include. While they aren’t entirely necessary to play the game, it can help a lot to perfect your technique.
Knowing how far the hole is, where traps and obstacles are can help you out. Plus, if you are starting to learn how to swing and get the movements and power down, these devices can be invaluable. Also, knowing how far you can hit a ball at max power versus lower power is incredibly useful.
The best golf rangefinder will be very simple to use. They all come with a sight that you can look down to find your target. Once you find what you want to measure, press the button on the top and a laser will shoot from the device to your target and back.
Many rangefinders will also feature an LCD display in the sight or on the side of the device. Once the distance is measured, the yardage or meters will show up on one of those displays. If your rangefinder has other modes like slope and wind speed, those measurements will also show up on the same display.
They can help you build a strategy and prepare for any game, even if you aren’t allowed to use the device itself. Which also brings something else up. While rangefinders can be helpful, you shouldn’t rely 100 percent on it.
Golfers who rely too much on technology may find themselves lost when they are forced to play without it. Use it only to perfect your technique and learn a new course, but focus more on your judgment and skill. That is the best way to improve your game.
Is a golf rangefinder worth it?
If you invest in the best golf rangefinder, they can be quite instrumental.
However, they do have some limitations you should know about. Rangefinders are profoundly affected by the weather of any kind. Anything from bright sunlight to rain and even fog can throw off the accuracy or make it completely useless.
Since they judge everything using a laser, it has to rely on the laser bouncing back. Slopes, odd shapes, and targets that aren’t in direct line of sight can throw off the estimate.
So while rangefinders can be great at helping you, you may want to be careful. Using it in the wrong situation can lead to a lot of frustration.
How We Reviewed
Unfortunately, we were not able to test out every single one of the products we have here. However, the information we featured in this best golf rangefinder guide is entirely reliable and accurate. Using quality sources, including expert reviews and buyers guides, we built a guide with all the best information possible to help you.
We only feature products with a high rating on Amazon and look at customer reviews for good measure. You can be sure that if we recommend a product, it’s worth a look.
Best Golf Rangefinder
Every product we have here has a high rating on Amazon and glowing customer reviews. While some may have a higher score than others, this list is in no particular order. We recommend every item here equally and fairly.
The best golf rangefinder will be a product that fits your needs perfectly. However, remember not to rely too heavily on technology when playing. Use it sparingly and remember to improve your organic techniques as well.
Precision Golf NX7
Here is a rangefinder that is 100 percent legal for tournament play. The Precision Golf NX7 is purely a distance measuring device, without any slope measurement capabilities. This rangefinder combines the perfect balance between accuracy and durability more than many methods.
The sturdy design and rubber grip allow the device to find your target quickly and accurately. With this one, you won’t have to question whether or not it’s working, with its haptic feedback. Every time you use the laser, Precision Golf’s pulse vibration technology kicks in.
Pair that with a 400 range, 1/10-yard measurements, and tag technology, you can play with confidence. Not to mention, the scope also features 6X magnification, so you never lose your target.
The Precision Golf NX7 has a 4.4 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon.
- Tag technology
- Durable design
- Tournament legal
- 1/10-yard measurement
- Haptic feedback
- 400-yard range
The Callaway 300 is full of features that golfers will love. This rangefinder goes beyond the typical point and shoot design of many others. Here, you can not only place a pin, but you can take the measurements of multiple targets at once.
Thanks to Callaway’s Pin Acquisition Technology, or PAT, you can drop and quickly lock onto a pin from up to 300 yards away. But don’t worry, because you can view clearly up to 1,000 yards with a 6X magnification. Couple that with a one-yard, plus or minus, accuracy and you’ve got yourself one powerful little device.
If you’re often unsure about the distance to the flagstick, the Callaway 300 offers an exclusive BIRDIE feature. This delivers audible feedback in the sound of a “chirp” to confirm the range.
The Callaway 300 has a 4.6 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon. It also sports the badge for Amazon’s Choice, which makes it an excellent option for the best golf rangefinder.
- Audible feedback
- 300-yard pin dropping with PAT
- 1,000-yard accuracy distance
- Measure multiple targets at once
- Slope feature is illegal for tournament play (you can turn it off)
- Yard to meter button can make for inaccurate results if turned on by accident
This 2019 upgrade for the VPro500 comes with all the bells and whistles. This lightweight device makes for easy and accurate distance measuring. Up to 540-yards, you can scan continuously and drop pins where you need to.
The new Pinsensor Technology provides fast measurement with 1-yard accuracy. With this feature, you can also drop pins behind each other for a convenient target overlay design. While there is no slope feature, that does make this device 100 percent legal for tournaments.
The body build of this rangefinder is very durable and weather-resistant, which allows you to use it regardless of the conditions outside.
The TecTecTec VPro500 has a 4.3 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon. Also, it has the badge for Amazon’s Choice, so you know you are getting a great product. Maybe one even worthy of being the best golf rangefinder.
- Pinsensor technology
- Target overlay
- One-yard accuracy
- No slope feature makes it tournament legal
- No slope feature
- Only 540-yard distance
If you’re looking for a rangefinder with a bunch of extras, the Bozily rangefinder gives you just that. This rangefinder has a total of four scanning modes that you can take advantage of.
A standard distance mode is accurate up to 1,000-yards and 200 plus yards to the flag. A slop mode can show you the distance taking the slope and angle into consideration. The verticle mode gives you the height measurement of your target, which can be great to judge an obstacle in your way.
Lastly, the Bozily rangefinder features a speed mode, which measures the speed of something with a range of 20 to 300 kilometers per hour. You can also turn the slope feature off to make it tournament legal.
The Bozily rangefinder has a 4.1 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon. It also has a badge for Amazon’s Choice. All of which makes choosing this device as your best golf rangefinder a safe choice.
- Four scan modes
- Durable design
- 1000-yard range
- 1-yard accuracy
- Some modes aren’t useful for golf
Bushnell Tour V4
Possibly the most attractive rangefinder, the Bushnell Tour V4 is perfect for those craving speeds and accuracy. With a range accurate to 400-yards and a clear visual field, this rangefinder can get you to where you need to be.
With Bushnell’s Pinseeker, you’ll never lose sight of your target. And with Jolt technology, the device will even give you a tactile confirmation once the measurement is done and is locked on the flag.
Bushnell’s claim to fame is its companion smartphone app. This app gives you the convenience of a rangefinder with the power of a GPS. The app features 3D flyovers with distances, hole layouts, and access to over 36,000 courses.
The Bushnell Tour V4 has a stellar 4.5 out of 5.0-star rating and the badge for Amazon’s Choice. This may be the best golf rangefinder for those looking for the best of both worlds.
- Companion app
- Attractive and durable design
- Easy to use
- Pinseeker with Jolt
- No slope function
- Short range
This rangefinder seeks to accommodate those with vision problems with their fast focus system. Even if you wear glasses, you will be able to focus at any time and keep your vision clear easily.
The PeakPulse rangefinder is accurate from 6 to 400-yards with its pinseeker technology up to 300-yards. This pinseeker technology ensures that even if you have shaky hands, you’ll never lose sight of your target. And if you are worried about being unsure if you’ve got the lock, you’ll get a vibration to confirm.
One great feature is its power saver, which will shut off the device after eight seconds of inactivity. This allows you to save your batteries for the moments you need the most.
The PeakPulse has a 4.3 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon.
- Fast focus system
- Pinseeker with Jolt
- Power saver
- Tournament legal
- 400-yard distance
- No slope function
If you like VPro500 but are looking for more, the ULT-X is precisely that. An upgrade over the VPro500, but with all the same base features, the ULT-X gives you everything you need and more. With their Target Lock Technology (TGT) this rangefinder quickly locks onto flags up to 450-yards.
With a more than 1,000-yard range, includes a slope feature, which you can turn off, and more. Once you lock on to your target, the device will vibrate to confirm for you. And it’s scan mode allows you to give you instant measurements one after the other.
The ULT-X may also be the most accurate rangefinder we have here. At 300-yards, it has a 0.3-yard accuracy and 0.5-yards at distances up to 600-yards. Looking further, you’ll have a one-yard accuracy up to 1000-yards.
The TectecTec ULT-X has a solid 4.5 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon.
- Incredible accuracy at varying ranges
- TGT up to 450-yards
- Continuous scan mode
- A total upgrade over VPro500
Using the best golf rangefinder can be incredibly helpful to perfect your game. However, pay attention to your organic skills just as much. Many rangefinder features are not legal for tournaments or games, so you may be forced to play without one.
The best golf rangefinder will be one that suits your needs and more, but also allows you to use it during tournaments. Look at the features, ranges, and everything in between when making your choice.
Do you use a rangefinder when you play, or do you prefer one of the other methods? Let us know in the comments below!