Laser Rangefinder Vs Golf GPS Watch? Which Is Better For You?

Laser Rangefinder Vs Golf GPS Watch? Which Is Better For You?

Rangefinders can vary from laser rangefinders, golf GPS watches, handheld GPS devices and even mobile apps. But, my favourite distance tools are laser rangefinders and golf GPS watches because of the amazing options you get that cater for every budget and how well the both perform.

Which is better for you, a Laser Rangefinder or Golf GPS Watch? Well, First of all lets distinguish between the two; because they have very different features and which one is right for you can depend on the individual golfer.

But, I’m telling you right now, a laser rangefinder or GPS watch is the best thing a golfer can buy to improve their game right away.

What is a Golf Laser Rangefinder?

Golf laser rangefinders (Reviews HERE) are one of the most popular distance tools available to golfers right now. With a golf laser rangefinder there’s no need to download mobile apps, course maps or make sure your watch is charged.

You simply take out the golf range finder, point towards the flag and BOOM you got your exact distance from your ball to the flag stick. It really is that simple with laser rangefinders and that’s what I love about them.

As a result of accurate yardages, you can choose the right club for each shot to try and shoot lower scores. Golf Rangefinders can also be pointed at flags, bunkers or other points of interest to get exact yardages.

Have you ever stood on the Tee and you’re worried if you will reach that water hazard or bunker? Rangefinders now can be easily get yardages to bunkers, hazards stakes etc to get exact yardages.

Find my full review of the ‘Best Laser Rangefinders’ Here

What is a Golf GPS Watch?

GPS watches are a great innovative tool that really have a lot of benefits that cant be ignored. Same as a rangefinder, a golf GPS watch will give you yardages to your target (front, middle and back of the green or a hazard).

However, it might be said that Golf GPS watches offer more vital information that could make or break a golfers round of golf. I am amazing at how advanced GPS watches have come and the features that they now offer.

The best golf GPS watches on the market can offer you up close green views, hazard information, sky view detailed maps of the holes to have a better understanding of what’s in front of you. This information as a result can lead to better course management and lower scores.

Not only that but now you can track shots, key swing metrics, club yardages and more. It’s crazy to see how far golf watches have come.

For example, Garmin Watches can be connected to the Garmin TruSwing to track key swing metrics like swing speed, face angle, swing path, etc.

Find my full review of the ‘Best Golf GPS Watches’ Here

Laser Rangefinder or Golf GPS Watch?

The interesting thing about both these products is that they are completely different products but share the same purpose, providing golfers with accurate yardages to targets and hazards. I will do my best here to highlight the pros and cons of laser rangefinders vs golf GPS watches.

Pros and Cons of Golf GPS Watches


Quicker To Use

GPS golf 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. Whats makes it great is that it’s right there on your wrist. Have a quick look, 100 yards to the centre, done!

Very Accurate

Golf GPS watches are extremely accurate. When compared side by side with the best rangefinders on the market, they are very closely matched

Does Not Slow Down Play

Laser rangefinders take much longer to use if a golfer checks the yardage two or three times. This can be a paid if golfers are slow, and even worse if they are poor golfers checking two or three times for every single shot. Because GPS watches are look and go, they are much quicker to use.

Shot Tracking & 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 shots, etc. Garmin Golf GPS watches offer this via their software Garmin Connect.

Sky View Hole Layout

You can view the golf hole layout, this is great for your gold course management to spot hidden bunkers or find your way around tough dog leg holes. However, this is only available on more premium watches like that Garmin S60.

Everyday Fitness Watch

Most golf GPS watches are everyday fitness tracking watches or smart watches that can receive calls, texts, emails, etc.


Distances To Hazards

Getting distances to hazards can be difficult to use on some models and take a lot of time to get the data correct.

Uncomfortable To Golf With

Some golfers might not be comfortable playing golf using a watch. To be fair most of the watches nowadays are sleek and not bulky. With the explosion of smartwatches now, more people seem to be comfortable wearing them every day. A lot of golfers are using Apple watches now for golfing.


Some holes will have discrepancies, although this can be rare as the maps and updated constantly for the most part. However it has happened to me in the past.

Pros and Cons of Golf Laser Rangefinders


Extremely Accurate

Probably the biggest advantage a laser rangefinder vs a golf gps watch has is the accuracy. With a laser rangefinder you can see the info yourself rather than relying on GPS info. You just need to be sure you are locked onto the target.

Quicker Yardages To Hazards

Laser Rangefinders can quickly get the distances to hazards, trees, etc in the distance. Because Golf GPS watches can take a lot longer to get this info and will cause slow play within shots. However, you must be able to see the hazard.

Easy To Use

Simply aim at the flag and you have your yardage.


Easily stored away in a bag and can be clipped to the bag as well.



Laser Rangefinders are expensive considering the technology. Golf GPS watches offer far more features for the similar prices if not lower prices.

Requires Line of Site For Yardage

In order to get your yardage, you will need to be able to see your target. For example a dog leg shot trying to cut the corner over the trees, you will not be able to get the yardage. Unless you got the Bushnell Hybrid which is a mix of Laser Rangefinder and built in GPS.

Not Good With Shaky Hands

Can be difficult to use if you have shaky hands. The laser range finders require steady hands to remain focused on the target.

Rain Or Fog Affects Laser

Do not work very well in the rain or foggy conditions as the laser cannot reach the target.

Rangefinder Or Golf Watch

Rangefinder Or Golf Watch

I hope I’ve helped you distinguish which is better for you, a Laser Rangefinder or Golf GPS Watch. Both Laser Rangefinders and Golf GPS Watches offer pros and cons but both perform their primary task of providing you with the yardages to your target.

Which is better for you? A Laser Rangefinder or Golf GPS Watch? It’s mostly down to preference; but here are the main things to consider:

  • How much you want to spend?
  • What features do you want/need?
  • Which one is best suited to your game?

Check out my review of ‘The Best Golf Laser RangefindersHERE.

Check out my review of ‘The Best Golf GPS WatchesHERE.

Disclaimer: The Golfing Lad is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

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