Tired of walking out your yardages on the course? Ready for an upgrade to your game and the overall golf experience? At Draining Birdies, we have reviewed many golf rangefinders, conducted hours of research to help you get the right tool for accurate yardages on every shot you hit. Having peace of mind with your yardages allows you to expertly manage your way through the course so you can play your best.
In this article, we go through many golf rangefinders to get you ready before the next golf season starts. Of course, rangefinders also come in the form of wearable gps, apps, watches and other devices. Players who prefer shooting their distances with a scope should check out this review. There are plenty of rangefinders on market, which can be intimidating to sort out the best selection for you. We walk you through each of your selection, as well as go through a guide on finding the best rangefinder for you.
Best Overall Golf Rangefinder
Bushnell Tour V5 Patriot
Best Overall Rangefinder
Bushnell is the premier brand in golf rangefinders, having the most experience making similar accessories for hunting and fishing
The Bushness Tour V5 Patriot is our pick for the best overall rangefinder for its superior accuracy and exceptional battery life. You can’t have your rangefinder dying on the 14th hole of your round, and this product makes sure that won’t happen! It also reads yardage +/- 1 yard up to 1,300 yards!
Budget Friendly Rangefinder
Blue Tees Series 2 Pro
Best Budget Rangefinder
This is our top rangefinder for the money, and you won’t sacrifice any performance picking one of these up either
Blue Tees has recently burst on to the golf scene with its affordable rangefinders with excellent accuracy. The Series 2 pro comes with slope correction and a sleek, and easy to hold case!
Best High-Tech Rangefinder
Voice Caddie SL1 Active Hybrid
Top Technology Pick
The Voice Caddie SL1 may not look as cool as the Bushnell or Blue Tees, but it has excellent technological features and is one of our top picks for the season
The Voice Caddie Sl1 active hybrid rangefinder has great accuracy and is one of the quickest rangefinder for locking in on your target and giving you and accurate reading. This has all the technological features you could think of, including a screen showing you the hole design!
Blue Tees Series 2
Best Budget Rangefinder
If you are hunting for a rangefinder that won’t break the bank, this is the top pick for many serious players and it has one of the best looking designs
Bushnell Tour V5 Patriot
Our Top Choice
The top of the line rangefinder on the market, the Tour V5 Patriot does not mess around with unparalleled accuracy and distance
Voice Caddie SL1
Best High-Tech rangefinder
For a rangefinder with all the feature including a digital screen, this is the most advanced rangefinder on the market
Our Research and Findings
The great game of golf is one of the toughest and you want every advantage you can get to score your best. Hitting your shots to correct distances each time is key to playing your best golf. A rangefinder that gives you the correct distances quickly with minimal error is ideal. As you grow your game and become a better player, distance control becomes even more essential to achieve your best on the course and having the best rangefinder can help you level up.
The Best Golf Rangefinders for 2021
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Golf Rangefinders for 2021
- 1.1 1. Bushnell Tour V5 Patriot - Best Overall Golf Rangefinder
- 1.2 2. Blue Tees Series 2 Pro - Best Golf Rangefinder for the Money
- 1.3 3. Voice Caddie SL1 Active Hybrid - Best High-Tech Golf Rangefinder
- 1.4 4. Nikon Coolshot 20i GII - Sleeper Pick Golf Rangefinder
- 1.5 5. Bushnell Hybrid Laser Rangefinder
- 1.6 6. Nikon COOLSHOT Pro Stabilized Golf Rangefinder
- 1.7 7. Garmin Approach Z82 Golf Rangefinder
- 1.8 8. TecTecTec ULT-X Golf Rangefinder
- 1.9 9. Sure Shot PINLOC 5000iPs Laser Rangefinder
- 1.10 10. Callaway 200s Slope Golf Rangefinder
- 1.11 11. Precision Pro NX9 Golf Rangefinder
- 1.12 12. BOBLOV 650 Yrd Golf Rangefinder
- 1.13 13. TourTrek Signal Golf Rangefinder
- 1.14 14. TecTecTec VPRO500S Golf Rangefinder
- 2 Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide
- 3 Are Golf Rangefinders Worth Buying?
1. Bushnell Tour V5 Patriot - Best Overall Golf Rangefinder
- Accuracy to +/- 1 yard
- Range from 5 to 1,300 yards with 6x magnification capability
- Fast Focus System allows golfers to adjust the optic focus to ensure sight clarity and target accuracy
- Short vibrating bursts letting golfer know the laser has locked on the target
- Built-in BITE magnetic cart mount
- 2x brighter and clearer optics for improved accuracy and vision
- Patriot Pack also includes premium carry case, Folds of Honor/Bushnell Golf divot repair tool and battery
- Comes with the Bushnell app for providing GPS yardages if you choose not to use the rangefinder
- Manufacturer’s Warranty: 2 Years
- Bushnell is a trusted brand and this rangefinder is widely used by professional players
- Very user friendly, easy to lock onto the target
- Extremely accurate with a very long range and superior magnification
- Magnetic cart mount is convenient
- Sturdy design and fits easily in your hand
- High price, typical of Bushnell products
- Not waterproof
Bushnell is a household name when it comes to rangefinders. Bushnell is one of the first ones in the golf space and are a reliable brand to trust for delivering accurate yardages, given their long history of developing hunting scopes. The Tour V5 Patriot Laser Rangefinder is one of Bushnell’s best. This model has all the features a golfer requires in the rangefinder, which is why we choose the Tour V5 as our performance pick.
With this rangefinder, you will get the best accuracy for long range shots, as well as clear optics when scoping your targets. It is extremely easy to use, and the rangefinder locks onto your target quickly providing a quick vibrating burst. It comes with a few useful accessories you may need on the course as well.
Only drawbacks of the Tour V5 are it is not waterproof and the high price. If you take care of this great tool, you won’t have to worry. In our experience, if you use rangefinders for every approach shot, this is a worthwhile investment.
2. Blue Tees Series 2 Pro - Best Golf Rangefinder for the Money
- Distance adjusted for slope
- Flag Lock feature with Pulse Vibration
- 800-yard range, accuracy of +/- 1 yard
- Water resistant all-weather rangefinder
- HD Display with EZ Optic Focus
- Hard-shell carrying case with clips and microfiber cleaning cloth and two batteries
- 60-day money back policy and 2-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Slope-adjustment feature is desirable
- Accurate distances with a relatively long range
- Vibration feature is handy
- HD display ensures clear visibility
- Very reasonable pricing
- Attractive looking scope
- Outer cover can scratch or damage easy
If you’re wanting a trendy-looking and accurate rangefinder, the Blue Tees Series 2 Pro Slope could be your winner. Never mind the cool looking logo and color contrasts, this rangefinder will adjust for slope and get you’re the right yardage each time. Surprisingly, the price of the Pro Slope isn’t all that much higher than Blue Tees’ regular Series 2. For that reason, we believe the Series 2 Pro Slope is one of the best value rangefinders on market.
This golf rangefinder is overall a simple design, but it is efficient and gets the job done. It provides accurate distances to within +/- 1 yard and has a range up to 800 yards. When you lock on your target the Blue Tees will send a vibration letting you know you have targeted the pin and display the yardage.
In terms of weight, this rangefinder is fairly light. It is also compact and fits nicely in the palm of your hand. Blue Tees also offers a magnetic strap so you can hold your Series 2 on the bars on your power cart. However, these are sold separately. The Blue Tees is also water resistant. Rain or shine, you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged and it is one of the best golf rangefinders for the money.
3. Voice Caddie SL1 Active Hybrid - Best High-Tech Golf Rangefinder
- Ranges from 5 to 1,000 yards with an accuracy of +/- 1 yards with magnification up to 6x
- Features a GPS pre-loaded with 40,000+ courses
- Direct capture booster feature for quick measurement of yardages
- OLED display for best optics and graphics and is effective in dim light conditions
- Auto Slope mode corrects distances for elevation changes
- GPS provides green undulations and course layouts for pre-planning your round
- One Touch Vibration feature confirms when your target is locked
- Image Stabilization feature helps players lock onto their target easier
- Continuous Scan Mode displays yardage of all objects until the target button is released
- Metallic body with leather handle
- Water and shock resistant
- Best of both worlds with GPS data paired with rangefinder scoping
- Easy to use with the vibration and stabilization features
- GPS data with course pre-loaded help golfers zoom into to any targets they want to scope
- Quick to lock onto targets
- Slope adjustment features is essential for accurate yardages
- OLED display provides very crisp optics
- Classic looking rangefinder with metal and leather combination for attractive looks
- Water and shock resistant features are handy
- Expensive selection given all the features offered
- Short battery life – drains faster than other rangefinders due to the GPS feature
Another high-tech option for a range finder is the Voice Caddie SL1 Active Hybrid. This rangefinder combines the best of both worlds – accurate rangefinder with GPS data. The data is integrated with what you are trying to scope and target, whether it be the flag or distance to carry a bunker or hazard. This rangefinder operated very quickly to get you the right yardage. It also corrects for elevation changes, which is essential. In terms of optics, it doesn’t get any better than the OLED display providing the clearest graphics.
One of the neat features is the leather and metallic exterior. It makes for a trendy looking rangefinder and gets points for style. If you’re a tech-savvy golfer looking for a highly advanced rangefinder, the Voice Caddie SL1 may be just what you want!
4. Nikon Coolshot 20i GII - Sleeper Pick Golf Rangefinder
- Ranges 6 to 800 yards with an accuracy of +/- 1 yard
- Magnification of 6x with Nikon glass and multicoating technology
- Slope-Adjusting ID (Incline/Decline) Technology
- Toggle-off slope-adjusting for straight line distances
- First Target Priority feature displays the range of the nearest target and filters out objects in the background
- 8-Second continuous measurement helps find multiple or thin objects for your targets
- A solid and accurate medium length rangefinder
- Slope adjustment feature is essential and can easily be switched off
- Clear and crisp optics with the Nikon glass
- Easy to laser distances
- Batteries last long
- Outer material not as durable
Another Nikon rangefinder worth considering is the Coolshot 20i GII Laser Slope. This rangefinder is simple, yet reliable and will give you accurate yardages every time. The best feature is the Slope-Adjusting Technology which gives you the right number everytime for those tough uphill and downhill shots.
This isn’t the most advanced Nikon rangefinder, but it will do its job well. The rangefinder optics are clean and clear. Given the reputation of a staple such as Nikon, you can be assured the display within the rangefinder is high quality and definitely worth the investment for your golf game!
5. Bushnell Hybrid Laser Rangefinder
- Range 5 to 1,000 yds with a +/- 1 yard accuracy
- PinSeeker with JOLT Technology ensures laser has locked onto the target with vibration bursts
- Fast Focus System helps golfers adjust the focus easily and eliminates blurring
- HD Optics with 5x magnification
- Stabi-Grip Technology for easy and comfortable handling
- GPS pre-loaded with 36,000+ courses in 30 countries
- Auto Course Recognition and Auto Hole Advance features for a user-friendly experience
- Exterior GPS read out screen for displaying distances
- GPS identifies up to 4 hazard and layup distances for hole
- Bluetooth connection with phone with Bushnell Golf App to pair rangefinder with your phone
- Highly advanced rangefinder with GPS features
- Features to pair with your phone for golfers with poor vision
- Hazard and layup distances give golfers course management options
- Easy to use Fast Focus system with JOLT Technology for fast targeting
- Good sturdy grip for easy handling
- Battery drains faster due to GPS features
Here is another hybrid rangefinder with GPS features. As we had mentioned, Bushnell is one of the best names in the game and we have to showcase their first Hybrid Rangefinder. This awesome toy not only gives golfers accurate yardages, but the GPS features thousands of courses and helps players with course management. It auto-recognizes the hole you’re playing and gives multiple distances for hazards and layups.
This is another high-tech rangefinder and it comes with a solid frame and ergonomic grip. The classic Bushnell PinSeeker with JOLT Technology features are included making it easy to laser your targets. The Bushnell Hybrid Laser Golf Rangefinder is a top choice on the market and definitely worth considering!
6. Nikon COOLSHOT Pro Stabilized Golf Rangefinder
- Range of 8 to 1200 yds with +/- ¾ yards accuracy including magnification up to 6X
- Waterproof rangefinder
- STABILIZED technology helps lock onto the target easier by quieting hand movements
- HYPER READ displays measurements in 0.3 seconds for any distance
- Incline/Decline Technology adjusts yardages for slope for higher accuracy
- Actual Distance indicator provides a visual cue if using rangefinder in tournaments
- Locked On technology ensures laser targets the closest object and filters out background objects
- 8 Second Continuous Measurement feature allows scanning the landscape and simultaneously receive yardages
- Sharp OLED display provides bright and clear viewing with fast focus capabilities
- Nitrogen filled device helps eliminate potential for condensate and fog to seep into the rangefinder
- Extremely easy to use with a high degree of accuracy
- High quality display with OLED lighting
- Quick to measure distances with slope correction feature is essential
- Waterproof and fog proof through the nifty Nitrogen filled feature
- High price
- Not as durable as other rangefinders
Another top brand in the rangefinder space is Nikon. You may know them for their cameras, and the Coolshot Pro certainly has the camera feel and looks. This new Nikon rangefinder is one of the best products in the market. It suits well for golfers with shaky hands and helps lock onto their target easy using the Stabilization technology.
It is extremely accurate with the all-important slope adjustment features to deliver both yardages and effective yardages. On top of that, it is both waterproof and fog proof so you won’t have to worry about those rainy rounds you play. You can’t go wrong with the Nikon Coolshot Pro. It’ll deliver you the accuracy and performance you need and will surely improve your golf game!
7. Garmin Approach Z82 Golf Rangefinder
- Accuracy to within 10” of the flag, range of 450 yards with vibration feedback when you lock onto your target with image stabilization
- Full-color 2-D CourseView mapping for more than 41,000 courses worldwide
- Hazard view provides insight on every hazard on the green
- Laser Range Arc feature draws an arc on the map at the distance the laser is targeted
- Pair with your smartphone to view wind speed and direction
- PinPointer shows direction to green on blind shots
- Find My Garmin allows you to easily find your device in case you leave it on the course
- Automatically determines which hole you are playing and the par information
- Water-resistant up to 1 meter and up to 30 minutes
- 1 Year Consumer LTD Warranty
- Best of both worlds combining rangefinder functions with GPS features
- Amazingly accurate – within 10” of the flag
- Image stabilization feature makes it very easy to lock onto the flag
- Full color 2-D display displays your yardage clearly
- PinPointer for blind shots is convenient helping golfers aim
- Ability to pair rangefinder with smartphone showing aerial view and wind direction is advanced
- Never lose your rangefinder with Find My Garmin feature
- One of the most expensive rangefinders on market
- This Garmin is packed with so many features, golfers may not necessarily use all of them
- Given the many features, this rangefinder consumes battery quickly
This is truly the Rolls Royce of golf rangefinders, the Garmin Approach Z82 Laser Rangefinder + Golf GPS. This rangefinder is probably the most advanced option on market. It combines the best of a rangefinder with golf GPS features to bring you an experience like no other. Not only is it super accurate, it packs plenty of features and technology that makes it fun to use. If you can afford it, and if you’re a real tech-guy, by all means enjoy using the new toy. Given all of its capabilities, you may not need to splurge for this gem of a rangefinder.
8. TecTecTec ULT-X Golf Rangefinder
- Range: up to 400yds for flags, up to 1,000 yards for hazards. Accuracy to within +/- 0.3 yds with magnification of up to 6x
- Target Lock Technology giving vibration when the flag is lasered
- PinSlope Technology adjusts distances for elevation changes and Pin Sensor Technology allows golfers to measure overlapping targets
- First Target Priority mode measures distance to the closest object and filters out background objects
- Continuous Scan Mode provides multiple distances when scanning hazards, multilayered optical lens
- Diopter adjustment feature adjusts for near or far-sightedness
- Sure-grip ergonomic design with a molded hard case
- 2 Year manufacturer’s warranty
- One of the most accurate rangefinders
- Slope adjustment feature is essential and can be turned off
- Vibration feature is convenient
- Hazard scan mode is also very useful
- Warranty offer is generous
- Reasonable price
- Bulky looking rangefinder
- Display can be difficult to read
TecTecTec is a relatively new name in the rangefinder space, and they certainly have made a name for themselves. Their ULT-X Laser rangefinder is a fantastic product that is extremely accurate and easy to use.
Not only can this rangefinder hunt your flags easy, it can scan distances to hazard and provide multiple yardards. The Vibrating pin lock feature is pretty standard and the slope adjustment feature is essential. A thoughtful feature is the Diopter adjustment for players who may be near or far-sighted ensuring a clear vision to the target.
For all these features, the ULT-X from TecTecTec comes at a very reasonable price.
9. Sure Shot PINLOC 5000iPs Laser Rangefinder
- Priority Loc Technology focuses on targets and ignores background objects
- PinLoc Technology locks onto target and displays yardage for 15 seconds
- Scan Mode allows golfers to scan terrain delivering instant distance measurements
- Water resistant and lightweight design
- Reliable rangefinder, accurate with a long range
- Slope adjustment feature is essential for golfers
- Scan Mode is useful for targeting hazards and various objects
- Light and easy to handle
- Reasonable price
- Not waterproof
Sure Shot is another great brand in rangefinder designs. It isn’t a premium brand, but they focus on mid-range value products. The PINLOC 5000iPS Laser is one of Sure Shots’ top products. It features slope adjustment technology as well as PinLoc which gives a clear display and shows the yardage to your target for an extended time. Scan Mode is also useful if you need to figure out how far to carry your drive over that dread cliff.
This is a fairly simple yet reliably designed rangefinder. It has all the features a golfer needs to scope accurate distances for his/her shots.
10. Callaway 200s Slope Golf Rangefinder
- Range: 5 to 800 yards with an accuracy of +/- 1 yard and magnification up to 6x
- Slope adjustment technology for elevation changes
- Pin Acquisition Technology (P.A.T.) quickly locks onto flag from up to 275 yards away
- Scan function gives golfers ability to acquire distances for multiple targets at the same time
- Distances measured in yardages or meters
- Waterproof design, also fog resistant
- Accurate rangefinder
- Slope adjustment feature is also needed and useful
- Scan function affords players the ability to course manage
- Water and fog proof ensure good protection from the elements
- Easy to read display
- Great for golfers on a budget
- Some reviews have noted short battery life
- Not the clearest optics
A great budget rangefinder selection is the Callaway 200s Slope Laser. This is a simple design rangefinder that is compact and easy to use and offers decent accuracy. Ranging up to 800 yards, it can scan for any target you need on the course. The Slope Adjustment feature is key for any golfer and the Scan Function can help players determine if they should lay up or clear the hazard.
The 200s is one of the most golf affordable rangefinders on market. One area of improvement would be the optics as the lenses aren’t exactly Nikon or Bushnell level quality. However, this rangefinder will get the job done for you on the golf course.
11. Precision Pro NX9 Golf Rangefinder
- Pulse Vibration Technology delivers a quick burst to confirm the flag has been locked
- Target Acquisition Technology makes it simple to lock on desired target
- Carry case and cleaning cloth included with purchase
- 2 Year warranty included
- Vibration feature is useful
- Measures distances quickly
- Target Acquisition Technology helps acquire targets even with shaky hands
- Much needed slope adjustment technology is included
- Reasonable price
- Range is relatively short compared to other range finders
- Absence of Scan Mode feature
The Precision Pro NX9 Slope rangefinder is simple yet reliable for delivering accurate distances. Featuring a clean and clear LCD display that is easy to read, measured and slope adjusted distances are both shown to the golfer providing the most information possible. When the distance is confirmed, the rangefinder sends a vibration pulse ensuring the target has been locked.
After poring over many reviews, users have found the NX9 Slope very reliable. The only criticism would be the relatively short-range capability of 400yards and the lack of a Scan Mode feature. However, given the price and quality, this is a solid choice for a rangefinder for any player.
12. BOBLOV 650 Yrd Golf Rangefinder
- Clear display and optics
- Speed mode enables scanning for multiple yardages and moving objects
- USB Charging ability
- Very accurate for yardages within 200 yards
- Speed mode is useful for getting multiple distances
- Slope adjustment feature is always useful
- USB rechargeability is convenient
- Very affordable
- Difficulty locking distances over 200 yards
- Optics not the clearest quality
One of our last picks in the golf rangefinder round-up is the BOBLOV 650yds. Yes, it ranges to 650yds, however it is most accurate for targets 200yds and closer. Doing our own research and reading various reviews, this rangefinder appears to struggle with longer yardages. Sometimes it locks the target, sometimes it doesn’t. Not surprisingly, the price tag of this rangefinder is affordable.
It does however have quality features such as the Fast Flag Locking and slope adjustment. For targets within 200yds, it will lock distances in under 1 second. The USB charging ability is very convenient and useful. Players will not need to buy and replace the batteries. If you’re looking for a cheap rangefinder that is reliable for relatively short distanced targets, the BOBLOV 650yds is the right one for you.
13. TourTrek Signal Golf Rangefinder
- Scan Mode allows golfers to get continuous yardage readings
- LCD yardage display for clear distance measurements
- Can switch between yardages and meters
- Vibration feature when the target/pin is acquired
- Carry-case included in the purchase that can be clipped to your bag
- Scan Mode is extremely useful for course management and planning
- Slope adjustment can be turned off and on
- Distance can be measured in yardage or meters if you are playing in different countries
- Water resistant design
- Reasonably priced
- Clear yardage display
- Some reviewers found this rangefinder inaccurate and often short with distances
Another great budget option is the TourTrek Signal Slope Laser. As listed in the name, it has the slope adjustment feature that every golfer desire for accurate distance measurements. This feature can be toggled on or off. Like many other rangefinders, this one also has Scan Mode where players can get continuous distances as they move.
The display is quite crisp with the LCD feature, and the rangefinder is waterproof, which is always a bonus. This is a good choice if you are looking a run of the mill rangefinder.
14. TecTecTec VPRO500S Golf Rangefinder
- Range up to 540 yards with an accuracy of +/- 1 yard with magnification up to 6x
- PinSlope Technology adjusts distances for elevation changes
- Pin Sensor Technology allows golfers to measure overlapping targets
- First Target Priority mode measures distance to the closest object and filters out background objects
- Diopter adjustment feature adjusts for near or far-sightedness
- Continuous Scan Mode provides multiple distances when scanning hazards
- Sure-grip ergonomic design with a shock-resistant case for protection
- Comes with a wrist strap and microfiber cleaning cloth
- Water resistant
- 2 Year manufacturer’s warranty included
- Reasonable accurate rangefinder
- Slope adjustment is essential for accurate distances
- Attractive price
- Display can be difficult to read
Back to back TecTecTec reviews incoming, only here we showcase the VPRO500S. It looks way different than the ULT-X, but has a lot of the same features and comes in at an even lower price. The main reason for the cheaper price tag is the shorter-range capability and the lower accuracy. However, given that it is still capable of +/- 1 yard is respectable.
The Slope adjustment feature and the Diopter adjustment that made the ULT-X so great is still in the VPRO500S.
This rangefinder is conventional looking and doesn’t appear exciting, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover. At the end of the day, this rangefinder gets the job done.
Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide
We’ve gone through the best rangefinders, and now, we dive into the important characteristics to consider when shopping for the best rangefinder for your game. Rangefinders are not cheap, let alone the rest of your golfing gear, so there are key factors to evaluate before making your purchase. There are some important frequently asked questions as well and we hope this guide provides clarity and direction in helping you in your decision.
What to look for in a Golf Rangefinder?
Rangefinders have changed over the years as materials and technology become increasingly advanced. It is important to stay in the know. If you are new to rangefinders, here are the technical things you should look for when shopping for one.
One of the first things worth noting is the range of the rangefinder. Most rangefinders can scope up to 600 to 800 yards depending on the brand. Some fancier rangefinders can get up to a thousand yards given the magnification capabilities. You won’t have to scope this far a range since your approach shots are usually within 250 yards.
However, if you are targeting those longer approach shots, make sure your rangefinder has the magnification to help you see clearly so it can give you a yardage.
This is the most important characteristic of any rangefinder. Golfers need to know they have the correct yardage to their targets. We touch on this more below, but rangefinder specifications will give you their error range. That is the +/- yardage uncertainty. The smaller the number, the better the accuracy, but also at a higher price.
Chances are, you will find yourself playing in rainy or wet conditions. Sometimes we are all clumsy and my drop our range finder, we hope that doesn’t happen. However, it is best to plan for the worst. Ensuring the rangefinder can protect against wet conditions is ideal, especially since this useful tool can cost a lot. Manufacturers typically note if the rangefinder is waterproof or not.
4. Battery Life
Rangefinder batteries are relatively long lasting. If you play frequently, a set of CR2 batteries (typical rangefinder batteries) can last up to 12 months. But of course, they don’t last forever, so ensure you budget having to purchase a new set every now and then. There is nothing worse than trying to scope your distance only to see the battery indicator is flashing empty.
Rangefinders that fit nicely in your hand, are easy to use and generate easy to read displays are ideal. The best displays should be crystal clear and give you the information you need. Focusing the rangefinder should be easy to adjust with the buttons. Magnification and ultimately marking your target should be quick. The picture should not be blurry at all once you’ve picked your target.
Golf Rangefinder vs GPS
Deciding on going with a rangefinder versus a golf GPS really depends on the golfer. There are advantages and disadvantages to both each offer their own unique features. We have noticed that a large number of low handicap / advanced players prefer using a rangefinder. Rangefinders gives direct yardages to the pin and players can pace on/off a couple steps to get the desired distance.
GPS can adjust distances as you pace as well, and they are very fast to update. However, pin locations change everyday and GPS’ don’t necessarily give distances to pins themselves. They usually provide distances to the front, middle or back of the green. Distances to bunkers or hazards are given as well. GPS’ may not have the map of the course you’re playing so sometimes you won’t get any yardages during your round, and you may find yourself relying on someone in your group who has a rangefinder. Even more of a hassle, you need to go old school and find sprinkler heads and distance markers!
With a rangefinder, players can scope any shot on any hole on any course they play. You can even shoot the distance to clear a bunker or a hazard with your rangefinder. If you’re itching to tee-off, you can even shoot the closest person on the fairway to make sure they are out of range.
Golfers who have just started playing the game, or mid-handicap players usually go with a GPS. We understand that shaky hands can make it difficult to use a rangefinder to scope your target. If your eyesight has issues, a GPS may be the way to go.
Rangefinders with Slope Correction
Unless you usually play perfectly flat golf courses, chances are you will deal with elevations on almost all your approach shots to the green. Slope is essentially the difference in elevation between the ground you stand and the pin on the green. If you don’t think elevation or slope affects your game, think again.
Changes in elevation will absolutely affect the effective yardage you have to the pin. When hitting shots downhill / downslope, your shots will normally fly a bit longer in time and distance. The result is you may want to consider hitting a shorter golf club. When facing a shot going uphill / upslope, the opposite challenge presents itself. You will have to club up and adjust for a longer than actual yardage. A rangefinder equipped with slope correction will solve this issue and give you the actual yardage you need to target.
Buying a rangefinder without a slope correction feature is perfectly fine if you feel comfortable making adjustments yourself. There are plenty of experienced golfers who only use a rangefinder to get a sense of the distance and correct for slope themselves. We believe having as much accurate information for your game is best. Rangefinders upgraded with this feature are usually more expensive, but the additional spend is a smart investment that can pay off in great results on the golf course.
Some fancier rangefinders have the ability to turn on and off the slope correction feature with the press of a button. If you play in tournaments, the rules may allow rangefinders to be used as long as the slope correction is turned off as it would give the player an unfair advantage.
Accuracy of Rangefinders
Accuracy of a rangefinder varies depending on the model and quality. Cheaper rangefinders are accurate to within +/- 2 yards. The most expensive and advanced models can be accurate to within less than half a yard. The most common rangefinders advertise accuracies of +/- 1 yard.
Of course, the rangefinder is only as good as how well the golfer uses the tool. If you consistently scope the wrong thing, you will be given the wrong distance to the pin every time. Maybe you are arthritic and have shaky hands; this can make it difficult to scope the correct distance for your approach shots. In this case, a different distance measurement tool may be better suited for you.
Rangefinders need to be reliable. If you notice your shots often come up short knowing you scoped the pin correctly and hit your shots as solid as you can, your rangefinder might have some accuracy issues.
Also, it is worth noting some rangefinders measure in meters instead of yardages. This is not as common, but some rangefinders can convert between the two units with a flip of a switch.
Golf Rangefinder Cost Ranges
Frankly put, golf rangefinders are not cheap. They can range anywhere from around $100 for the most basic rangefinders to several hundreds of dollars for premium brands with advanced features. Across this range, most of them do a good job in scoping the right yardages. You don’t necessarily need to splurge on the highest priced selection. A rangefinder for $200 to $300 will more than do a good job for you.
In our experience, beginners or high handicap players usually do not find value in using a rangefinder. Until they gain more experience, distance control isn’t exactly a priority in their game. Rangefinders benefit advanced players who are looking to ‘attack’ the pin. They know exactly how far they hit their clubs. Pairing this knowledge with accurate yardage readings increases both confidence and their chances of hitting it close. For these players, rangefinders can bring out their best game.
Aesthetics and Storage
Typically, all golf rangefinders are portable and fits in the grip of your hand. You want to make sure that the rangefinder comes with a case that is cushioned to protect it from wear and tear. Some rangefinders come with a strap used for adapting to your cart so it holds the rangefinder in place and is easily accessible. Having a case that attaches the rangefinder to your golf bag is also handy. Obviously, having a fully functioning accurate rangefinder is top priority. However, being fashionable is never a bad thing, and having a sharp looking rangefinder that is distinguishable is a nice to have. There are rangefinders that take on a more classic scope look versus ones that are trendy and perhaps futuristic looking.
Top Golf Rangefinder Brands
From our research, the more advanced the rangefinders are in technology and materials, the more expensive they are. These typically make exceptionally great rangefinders. The top brands in this space are Bushnell and Nikon. They are the most well-known rangefinders and are widely used across players.
Both of these brands have made rangefinders for many years. They are a reliable name and their products are long lasting. They price levels are usually high but once you buy one of their rangefinders, you probably won’t have to buy another one again as long as you take care of it. Not surprisingly, the Bushnell and Nikon names are mentioned a few times in our article.
Are Golf Rangefinders Worth Buying?
As we have mentioned before, if you’re at the level where you know exactly how far you hit your clubs, a rangefinder will benefit you. If you scope 100 yards to the pin and your normal sand wedge flies more or less 100 yards, you’re looking at a scoring chance and we you to drain that birdie. That’s the kind of confidence a rangefinder can bring to your game. If you’re not yet at that level, you have something to look forward to!
Rangefinders can be a golfers most helpful accessory. We often watch touring pros work with their caddies and figure out the correct yardage from their book. Us average joes aren’t afforded the luxury of a caddy, so a rangefinder can be the next best thing.