What Is A Golf Rangefinder?
A golf rangefinder is one of the most useful golfing accessories available on the market. Over the past couple of years Golf Rangefinders have grown in popularity. Golf rangefinders can come in a variety of ways, such as laser rangefinders, golf GPS watches, handheld GPS devices and smartphone watches. Golf rangefinders are designed get you accurate yardages to your target such as the flag stick, bunkers, hazards, etc. Each have their pros & cons which we will go into in more detail below. Having one of the best golf rangefinders in your bag will be one of the best decisions you could make. Read on to find out why.
How Can A Golf Rangefinder Improve Your Golf Game?
How far do you hit your 6 iron comfortably? Are you confident your answer is accurate? Do you really know or are you guessing? A rangefinder is not only a yardage tool, it’s a data collecting device. After using a golf rangefinder for a few weeks you will begin to collect your own personal data and know your yardages with all your irons. This data is collected in a number of ways depending on the golf rangefinder device you are using.
For example, most golf GPS watches can be connected to smartphones and computers for post round analysis. You can record and review how far you hit each shot, and the GPS watches can do this automatically. Laser rangefinders won’t record this for you but after a few weeks you will no without thinking what club you need to hit that yardages after using the rangefinder on each shit. Or you can manually take note of each yardage.
Owning one of the best golf rangefinders will give you that extra confidence that you need. Golf Rangefinders eliminate any uncertainty you have about the distance from you to the flag and help you choose the right club for the right shot. Instead of making a calculated guess, you can be 100% confident in your yardage and focus on choosing the right club for your yardage.
The best golf rangefinders are extremely useful if you are playing on a new course. Have you ever had to ask yourself the question “how far away is the water hazard?” or “will I carry that bunker on the fairway?” These problems are quickly solved using golf rangefinders. When you are confident in your golf decisions, you play better golf.
Look and go. That’s all it is with golf rangefinders. It’s a quick look through your scope or a glance at your GPS watch. That’s how quick and easy it is to check your yardage. How often would you find yourself looking for the 150 yard stick on the side of the fairway or marching 30 yards down the fairway for the 100 yard plate in the ground that’s barely visible. This slows down play and can anger your playing partners in the group. It’s even more awkward when you stride out the 25 yards from the 100 yard market and duff it 20 yards, trust me I’ve been there!.
Lower Your Scores
The best golf rangefinders will allow you to make better decisions during your golf round. The better golf decisions you make, the better you will score. From collecting data for a few weeks using your golf rangefinder, you will know exactly how far you hit each club in your bag. You will know the distances to hazards, bunkers, out of bounds areas, key factors that can ruin your round.
Knowing your yardages is so important, especially if you plan on your lower scores. Rangefinders can save you a couple of shots each round. Taking the guess work out of each shot allowing you to focus on making a solid swing.
If you are doing well late into the back 9 and you are at the right side of the fairway looking at an approach shot over water, but there’s no distance marker available. What do you do? Take out your rangefinder of course. You find it’ 150 yards to the pin, a comfortable 9 iron and you pop it onto the green. The data you collected for your club yardages allowed you to make an informative decision to get the ball onto the green and not short into the water.
What Are The Best Golf Rangefinders?
Like we mentioned, there’s a variety of golf rangefinders available on the market. But how do you define what the best golf rangefinder is for you? Here’s a brief overview of each one for you. I go into more detail of each rangefinder type and recommend what I think are the best golf rangefinders available to buy.
GPS watches are a great innovative golfing accessory that have lots of benefits that can’t be ignored. Golf GPS watches can give you the distance from you to the flag stick and major hazards. Golf GPS watches offer golfers vital information that could make or break your round. The best golf GPS watches on the market can offer you hazard information, overhead maps of the golf hole allowing to map out out your course management strategy. This is especially useful on courses you have never played before, with lots of dog legs, hazards and difficult holes.
Golf rangefinders are one of the most popular distance tools available to golfers right now. With a golf range finder there is no need to download mobile apps, course maps or worry about the strength of satellite signals. You simply take out the golf laser rangefinder, point towards the flag and BOOM you got your exact distance from your ball to the flag stick. But that’s not all. The same technology can be pointed towards bunkers, hazards, etc.
Handheld GPS devices are very similar to GPS watches with the exception the larger screens allow for more information to be placed on the one screen, for example a sky view of each hole. Basic models provide you with yardages to the front, middle and back of the green. More premium models will give you additional info such as distances to hazards and detailed color screen graphics. Additional features also include score counters and data collection for post round analysis. Some of these more basic golf GPS systems will also provide measurements to two or three additional hazards on each hole. If you are lucky enough to regularly travel to play golf then you might also want to consider how many courses your GPS handheld device can store.
Best Golf Rangefinders – Which Is Best For You?
Golf GPS Watches
- Golf GPS watches are generally quicker use. They are constantly using your location and will automatically give you the distance to the front, centre and back of the greens. What makes it great is that it’s right there on your wrist. Have a quick look, 100 yards to the centre, done!
- Golf GPS watches are extremely accurate. Even when compared side by side with the best laser range finders on the market, they are very closely matched.
- Does not slow down play. Laser rangefinders take much longer to use. Sometimes rangefinders find it difficult to pickup certain flags, especially with trees or bushed directly behind the flag stick and sometimes need to be checked two or three times to be sure the yardage is correct.
- Shot tracking and post round analysis. Most golf GPS watches come with software that allow you to review your round on your computer or smartphone. You can view your score, shots per hole, distance of each shot, number of putts etc. Garmin Golf GPS watches offer this via their Garmin Connect App.
- You can view the golf hole layout, this is great for your golf course management to spot hidden bunkers or find your way around tough dog leg holes.
- Many golf GPS watches can be used as everyday fitness tracking watches or smart watches that can receive calls, texts, emails, etc.
- Getting distances to hazards can be difficult to use on some models and take a lot of time to get the info on your golf GPS watch.
- If you want a simple tool to get only get distances to the green, then GPS watches may not be for you. As great as the technology is, some of the golf GPS watches have so many additional features that may not be used by some golfers.
- Some golfers mightn’t be comfortable playing golf using a watch
- Some holes will have discrepancies, although acquire for the most part.
Golf Laser Rangefinders
- Extremely accurate and can see the info yourself rather than relying on GPS info.
- Laser Rangefinders can quickly get the distances to hazards, trees, etc. Golf GPS watches can take a lot longer to get this info and will cause slow play within shots.
- Simple to use. Simply aim at the flag and you have your yardage.
- Can be stored away in a bag and not worn.
- Expensive considering the technology. Golf GPS watches offer far more features for similar prices.
- Can be difficult to use if you have shaky hands. The laser range finders require steady hands to remain focused on the target.
- Can be difficult at times to pick out the flagstick when there’s trees or bushes in the background.
- Does not work very well in the rain or foggy conditions.
Handheld GPS Devices
- Very quick and easy to use
- Can be clipped on to your golf bag
- Large screen options offer more detailed course information
- Provide hazard information easier than most GPS watches
- Shot and score counter
- Shot distance tracker
- Post round analysis
- Some models can be very large
- A lot of similar technology is available as a smartphone or smartwatch app
- Some handheld GPS devices will have discrepancies (although rare, some holes may be slightly off)
- Look dated
What Are The Best Golf Rangefinders Available?
Best Golf GPS Watches – My Top 3 picks
The TomTom Golfer 2 is an excellent golf GPS and one of the few brands other than Garmin that is really worth mentioning. It’s one of the best golf rangefinders that you should consider. The menu is controlled by the excellent square pad on the strap below the screen and this is very easy to use. The display is very clear and easy to read with large display numbers.
The TomTom Golfer 2 picks up your golf courses so easily. When you arrive at your golf course, just scroll right from the home screen and the TomTom Golfer 2 picks up the course you are on within 20 to 30 seconds.
To be one of the best golf rangefinders, your device needs to be accurate. The accuracy of yardages seemed pretty good and the display was clear with front, middle and back shown in nice big numbers. The font used also seems appealing and looks a little more modern. Scrolling between holes is easily done by simply clicking up and down on the pad. The TomTom Golfer 2 will provide you with some hazard information for each hole which is nice to know.
The TomTom Golfer 2 has some nice additional features that such as a pedometer, length of the round and also the calories burnt. An excuse to reward yourself for with a beer after. However the scoring function is really where the Golfer 2 will track your shots and distance between shots automatically. It picks up your swings pretty well and gives a little vibration after your follow through. It will only record one swing per location.
Once you have finished your round you just sync the Golfer 2 watch with the app on your iOS or Android phone via Bluetooth and you get to see basic stats on driving distance, fairways hit, greens in regulation and putting. The TomTom 2 is a great watch and one of the best gold GPS watches available today.
- Lovely design
- Automatically detects nearby courses and shots
- Accurate yardage
- Easy to use
- Replaceable straps
- Vibration swing detector can be annoying
- Syncing info can be difficult
- Very dated looking graphics
Garmin is establishing itself as the industry standard in their goal to becoming the best golf GPS watch brand on the market. It comes with a sunlight readable touchscreen display. It also comes with an extremely detailed Sky view of the course map and the yardages. This is presented in full color which we found much better and more modern than other models we tested.
The Garmin Approach S60 is very accurate and precise with it’s distances to the green front, center and back, it also. It clearly It provides quick and precise yardages to greens, hazards and doglegs. The Garmin Approach S60 also comes loaded with 40,000 courses from around the world that updates for you for free; so need to worry about course changes or out dated information.
The Approach S60 is equipped with a stylish quick fit strap that allows you to customise your watch colours and style, from bright coloured silicone, fashionable leather or even a stainless steel type finish. You can also download different apps, watch face styles to really transform this watch into your own and suit your very own style.
The shot tracker abilities of this watch are truly amazing. It automatically records the location and distance of each detected shot and uploads it to your Garmin Connect account for post-round analysis. It’s swing tracking is very sensitive and precise, knowing what are practice swings and can even pick up small chips around the green. This allows you to review your game post golf and analyse you golf and pin point where you need to improve on. The data collected and sent to Garmin Connect can also be used to compare against previous rounds to track your improvements. The
There are some nice features available on the Garmin S60. A nice handy feature I loved is the point it point yardages. You are on a long par 5 and want to leave the right yardage for a comfortable wedge shot, there’s a bunker is the middle of the fairway you want to make sure you clear. Simply tap the bunker on the map of your GPS golf watch and just like that you have your yardage. This is a nice feature that can be quiet useful especially if you are playing on a new course for the first time or a course loaded with bunkers.
The Garmin Approach S60 is far more than golf a golf GPS watch. It is also a fantastic smartwatch. You can use this daily as a regular smartwatch and pair it with your phone via Bluetooth. You can receive all your calls, texts and emails and even check the weather for golf through your Garmin Approach S60.
- Stylish watch
- Customisable (digital watch faces, mobile, quick fit straps, etc)
- Various features such as AutoShot, Quick Touch Yardages, Swing tempo, and post round analysis of each hole.
- Excellent standalone smart watch that can be used daily
- The battery drains too quickly. Fully charge for only 1 game of golf (GPS mode)
The Bushnell Excel GPS is their new top of line GPS watches. First impressions of the Bushnell Excel GPS watch is that it looks great. It has a stylish look that can be worn day to day.
The Bushnell Excel works pretty well and finds your course reasonably quick. It comes loaded with 33,000 courses that update automatically when synced with the Bushnell App. You get extra features such as a pedometer, odometer, swing tempo, etc. You can link the watch to your smartphone to receive text alerts, calls, and other notifications.
The yardage info is presented really well. The Bushnell Excel GPS automatically picks up what hole you are on. Your key yardage to the middle of the green is displayed on top in a large numbers and the front and back is presented just below in smaller sizes texted.
One of the main issues with golf GPS watches is getting hazard info. In most cases it takes far too long and is over complicated. This is not the case with the Bushnell Excel. Simply hit the middle button on the side of the watch face and BOOM you get your 4 hazards up on the screen. No messing around with multiple buttons and menus, angering your playing partners with slow play.
A nice feature that I really liked was the Swing Pro. You can select the club you are swinging and the watch can pick up the club head speed and tempo of your swing. This info is synced to the smartphone app. However, this seems to be temperamental as data did vary. However, with a Bushnell update this might improve.
The battery is very impressive. Many golf GPS watches out there only last for around 1 or 2 rounds. The Bushnell Excel lasted for 3 full rounds which is really great. It’s a pain having to constantly charge the watch (if you play a lot of golf).
The Bushnell Excel is an upgrade from their previous premium watch the Neo iON. Is it worth paying the additional costs? Well, that depends. The technology is much the same but the Bushnell Excel looks better, fits better and looks cooler. So many will be happy to pay the extra amount.
Overall, the Bushnell Excel GPS watch is a fantastic GPS watch with an excellent user friendly operating system and is a very stylish watch. Being able to sync with your smartphone is a nice addition that will allow you to receive texts and notifications through your GPS watch. One of the best golf rangefinders available, but comes at a cost.
- Very nice looking watch
- Additional fitness features
- Easy to use
- Hazard info displayed far easier than most GPS watches (a major plus)
- Synced with smartphone to receive notifications
- Apart for the improvements to the style of the watch, the technology is much the same as their last model the Neo iOn.
Best Golf Laser Rangefinders – My Top 3 picks
It’s no surprise the that the TecTecTec is one of the best golf rangefinders. In fact it’s Amazon’s number 1 rangefinder. The TecTecTec VPRO500 is extremely quick at finding the yardage and returns it almost immediately. Many compare it’s speed and yardage accuracy to the highly rated Bushnell laser Rangefinders.
The TecTecTec VPRO500 is very easy to use, Simply point and press the power button to the flag; and you have your yardage. The TecTecTec VPRO500 is a very compact and lightweight rangefinder. From only using it for 5 rounds I feel the distance measurement is very accurate. However it does sometimes take a few tries to get the correct reading if there’s some trees or slopes behind the green.
This rangefinder does not perform as well in the fog or rain but if you are fine weather golfer this wont be an issue for you. This is the go to option if you’re looking for a less expensive rangefinder that performs well. One thing that must be credited is the customer service TecTecTec provide.
Their customer support will go to great lengths to make sure they accommodate you anyway they can. There’s no surprise why this is one of the best golf rangefinders available to buy right now.
- Returns the yardage almost instantly.
- Very easy to use.
- Excellent clarity. It is very clear and the 6x magnification makes any flag visible. You can also focus the rangefinder by turning the eye piece for a clearer sight.
- Nice carry case with a belt loop
- Small, light and compact.
- Excellent customer support
- Very reasonable price for the quality of product
- Doesn’t work well in fog or rain
- Can be more difficult to get a flag reading if there are trees or large slopes behind the flag. You might need to double check to be sure.
- Not 100% Waterproof
- Not a fan of the brand name (but that’s just me)
The Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt is an excellent piece of golfing equipment. Bushnell is widely regarded as the industry standard brand of golf laser rangefinders, and why many of the Bushnell’s Golf rangefinders are regarded some of the best golf rangefinders on the market. The Tour V4 JOLT rangefinder is brilliantly engineered and offers excellent performance at it’s compact size.
You might be wondering at this stage what does JOLT actually do, it’s actually pretty cool. Probably the most standout feature the Tour V4 model offers. When looking through the scope getting the yardage the pin, with some models it can be difficult when there’s trees and banks behind the green. Sometimes you need to double, even triple check just to be certain the yardage is correct (usually when your playing well). The Tour V4 Pin seeker and JOLT technology gives you a little vibration when it acquires the flag stick.
The Tour V4 JOLT is ergonomically designed with a nice rubber grip that comes in handy in damp and wet conditions. The Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT includes an eye catching cool case that attaches to your golf bag to slip it in and out of.
Highly accurate, the industry standard device to which other brands try to replicate, it is without a doubt one of the best golf rangefinders available but comes at a price that one must decide; is it worth the money?
- Highly Accurate
- JOLT vibration & Pin Seeker Technology
- Nice Carry Case
- Cool Design
- Nice Rubber Grip
- Requires steady hand
The Precision Pro Golf Nexus Laser Rangefinder is one of the best golf rangefinders available on the market. It’s so easy to use. Just a point and click. It’s also very cool to look at.
It’s extremely easy to use, and it was simple to focus in on the 300 yard pen at the range. One thing that’s important to mention about this rangefinder, and why I recommend it, is that it seems to easier to read the flags than others. If you are like me and tend to suffer from shaky hands (especially playing with a hangover) then this might be the one for you.
Sometimes it’s the small things that catch your attention and with this it’s the carry case that came with it. The loud design of this laser rangefinder might not appeal to some; but the reasonable price considering how well it performs is worth looking into purchasing this one. A worthy laser rangefinder that deserves your consideration.
- Cool bright design
- Works great if you tend to have shaky hands
- Can be used up to 400 yards
- Turn dial for focusing
- Reasonable price
- Bright loud design might not appeal to some users
Best Handheld GPS Devices – My Top 2 picks
Want a simple golf GPS device? The Bushnell NEO Ghost could be your answer. It’s one of the best golf rangefinders. The Bushnell Neo Ghost shows you yardages for the front, middle and back of the greens in a nice simply 1.4″ x 1.4″ screen display.
What I really like about the Bushnell Neo Ghost is that it gives you info of up to four hazard distances per hole, such as green side bunkers to the left or right, etc. That’s more than enough in my opinion, you have 4 places per hole where you are NOT to hit the golf ball.
If you are not a fan of touch screens this may be the golf GPS for you. The Bushnell Neo Ghost has 6 buttons to perform all the key functions. It will pick up each hole automatically as you go from hole to hole on the course.
The Bushnell Neo Ghost is one of the best golf rangefinders you can get right now. A key take away feature that really makes the Bushnell Neo Ghost the ideal simple golf GPS device is the 4 key hazard distances you get right there in front of you, no fussing around with buttons and menus, tapping bunkers on the screen, etc. Straight simple info right in front you.
The Bushnell Neo Ghost is an excellent device and one of the best golf rangefinders. It’s a great quality entry level device that provides you with everything you need at a very competitive price. One of the best golf GPS devices available keeping the price in mind.
- Great battery life ( 3 rounds)
- No Annual Fees
- Preloaded with over 33,000 courses
- Clips onto your belt buckle
- Multiple Colours available
- Competitively priced
- Basic operating system
- No Course map overview
The GolfBuddy PT4 is their flagship model and be the best golf rangefinders available. The Golf Buddy PT4 has one of the biggest screens on the market at 8.5cm x 5 cm. The large screen will appeal to a lot of golfers who play a lot of different courses. Why so? Well with the large screen you are presented with a very detailed overview of each golf hole in nice color screen. The Golf Buddy brand actually physically map out each golf course on foot to make sure their info is extremely accurate, they literally go the extra yard for their customers.
The Touchpoint indicator for layups is done very well. When you are on the hole overview, when you touch the screen you get a target pop up on screen that you can move. What this does is give you the distance to the target and from the target the green, a really nice way of presenting the info.
The scoring function allows you the mark 4 players scores and record your data such as fairways missed, greens hit and putts made. etc. If you are a consistent golfer you can set fairways and GIR as default and change from there, hopefully not too much. One of the best golf GPS devices available and worth considering.
- Large screen for plenty of course information
- Smartphone stile shape
- Collect data such as missed green and Greens in Regulation
- Excellent layup feature
- Extremely accurate course information as Golf Buddy physically walk the courses to collect course information and yardages.
- 2 round battery life (Just about)
- Replacement battery option
- Very large which will not appeal to some
- Cant clip to belt buckle or fit comfortable in your pocket
Owning one of the best golf rangefinders will improve your golf game. The benefits to your game will help you lower your scores and handicaps. You have a number of golf rangefinders to choose from each having their own pros and coons You will need to take some time to decide what you need from your golf rangefinders. Remember this is an investment into your game. I have given you some guidelines on what I think are the best golf rangefinders for GPS watches, laser rangefinders and handheld GPS devices. If you want a more in depth reviews for the best golf rangefinders you can check them out below.
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