Golfers are always looking for new technology to help them play their best. While rangefinders don’t have the cool factor of a new driver or set of irons, they’re one of the easiest way for golfers to gain confidence and precision on the course.
Unlike golf GPS units, which offer golfers approximate yardages to different areas on the course, rangefinders give golfers precise distances to targets that are accurate within a few yards. That’s why everyone from Average Joe’s to PGA Tour pros can benefit from using a rangefinder.
There’s a lot of different models on the market, which makes it hard to know which one might be the best for your game. That’s why we’ve taken the guesswork out of the selection process with our list below, which includes the best rangefinders we’ve tested so far in 2013.
1. Bushnell Pro 1m: $499.95 (4.5 out of 5 Stars)
[three_fourth last=”no”]We’re not sure anyone needs a rangefinder with a range of 550 yards, but that’s the capability of Bushnell’s premium Pro 1M model.
The Pro 1M is larger and heavier (it’s 12 ounces) than most rangefinders on the market, but we can’t deny the technology Bushnell packed into the unit: Vivid Display Technology (VDT) to brighten even the darkest playing conditions, 7X magnification and readings that are accurate to plus-or-minus 1 yard. The Pro 1M is also available in Bushnell’s “Slope Edition” for $100 more, which provides compensated distances uphill and downhill shots.
The 3-volt battery costs approx $10 to replace, but don’t expect to need a new battery for a long time thanks to Bushnell’s PowerBoost technology.
Best for: Golfers who want the ultimate in point-and-shoot performance, and don’t mind a high-priced, larger-sized rangefinder.[/three_fourth][one_fourth last=”yes”]
2. Bushnell Tour V3: $299 (4.5 out of 5 Stars)
Is $499 a little more than your rangefinder budget? For price-conscious golfers, Bushnell created the Tour V3 rangefinder, which is $200 cheaper as well as smaller and lighter (it’s 6.6 ounces) than the Pro 1M.
Like the Pro 1M, it’s has a VDT display and runs on a 3-volt battery. But it has something the Pro 1M doesn’t have: Bushnell’s Jolt technology, which causes the unit to vibrate when a golfer locks in on a flag. It doesn’t quite have the range of the Pro 1M (300 yards instead of 550 yards) or the zoom (5X instead of 7X), but its smaller size, cheaper price and plentiful 300-yard range makes it the best rangefinder for the money on the list.
For the most detail-oriented golfers, it also comes in a Slope version for $100 more (note: if you’re interested in a rangefinder with slope capabilities, remember that they’re not legal for tournament play like standard models.
Best for: Golfers looking for the most bang for their buck. Its Jolt technology is great for showing off as well. [/three_fourth][one_fourth last=”yes”]
3. Leupold GX-4i Digital: $499 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)
[three_fourth last=”no”]Leupold’s GX-4i has a 450-yard range that measures distances to one-tenth of a yard (or meter), making it the most exacting model on the market. It is also designed with a 6X zoom and the company’s TGR Slope functionality, which can be added by attaching the company’s yellow Smart Key to the chrome face plate (Note: neither face plate makes the rangefinder legal for tournament play). And we’re just getting started with its unrivaled amount of features.
The GX-4i’s Prism Lock technology beeps and freezes the display when it locks onto the highly reflective prisms already incorporated into many course’s flag sticks, which is a nice touch. It also has a fog mode, which cuts through “first targets” like fog to help golfers get the yardage they want in poor weather conditions, as well as a club selector, which allows golfers to program the GX-4i to recommend clubs for certain yardages. At 7.1 ounces, the GX-4i is also about 5 ounces lighter than Bushnell’s Pro 1M and significantly more compact.
Call us old fashioned, but we’re not sure that golfers really need the added complexity of club selector, or the rangefinders “fog” and “scan” modes. And the added options don’t make up for the fact that we found it more difficult to lock onto targets with the GX-4i than any of Bushnell’s models.
Best for: Golfers who want every available option in a sleek, modern package.[/three_fourth][one_fourth last=”yes”]
4. Leupold PinCaddie: $249 (4 out of 5 Stars)
[three_fourth last=”no”]We love Leupold’s PinCaddie rangefinder because of its simplicity. It has everything we liked about the GX-4i: 6X magnification, a high-contrast LCD display and the company’s ultra-accurate PinHunter laser technology. And while it’s maximum flag range is only 250 yards, we feel it’s a worthwhile tradeoff for the unit’s $250 cheaper price.
More important for golfers who play in tournaments is that the PinCaddie lacks slope functionality, making it legal for tournament play. It runs on the same CR-2 lithium battery as the GX-4i, but swaps it aluminum construction for a rugged plastic design and tips the scales at a slightly lighter 6.8 ounces.
Best for: Price-conscious golfers who like the look, feel and performance of a Leupold. [/three_fourth][one_fourth last=”yes”]
5. Bushnell Tour Z6: $399 (4 out of 5 Stars)
[three_fourth last=”no”]Bushnell’s Z6 rangefinder has a 450-yard flag range, and the company’s ESP (Extreme Speed Precision) technology to allow for faster, more accurate reads than Bushnell’s Pro 1M and Tour V3 models. It’s also unbelievably compact (about the size of a deck of cards), with a 6X zoom and an accuracy of plus-or-minus 0.5 yards. From 5-to-125 yards, where golfers needs the most precision, the distances are displayed to one-tenth of a yard.
The Z6 has the same Posi-Thread battery door for its 3-volt lithium battery as the Pro 1M and Tour V3 models, and is legal for tournament play. But golfers can get a 100-yard longer range from the $100-more-expensive Pro 1M, and the company’s Jolt Technology from the $100-cheaper Tour V3. Both those rangefinders are available in slope models as well, if that’s your thing.
But if you’re looking for the smallest, easiest-to-use rangefinder without the frills of Leupold’s GX-4i and more power than the Leupold’s PinCaddie, the Z6 is probably the rangefinder for you.
Best for: Golfers who want the smallest, most powerful rangefinder on the market for tournament play. [/three_fourth][one_fourth last=”yes”]
WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of
One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.
So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.
These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.
Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims
The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things
- Design that delivers more power and stability
- Custom comfort that lasts all day
These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.
Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.
On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.
After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.
I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.
GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII
Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.
Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.
Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII
First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.
In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.
Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.
Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.
The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.
The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.
Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.
WRX Spotlight: Putting Perfecter
Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?
But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.
The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.
Don’t think it’s just for putting though.
Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…
No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.
For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.
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