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Review: Bushnell Tour V4 Rangefinders

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Pros: Compact and lightweight. Lightning-fast readings. Easy to use. With the Tour V4 Slope, slope mode can be turned off to comply with tournament rules.

Cons: Not waterproof.

Who it’s for: All golfers can use the Tour V4 ($299.99). The pricier Tour V4 Slope ($399.99) offers slope functionality, which appeals to golfers who play different courses on a regular basis, or want the most accurate readings possible for casual and practice rounds.

The Review

Last year, I made the case that Bushnell’s Tour X Jolt rangefinder was the company’s best rangefinder, and one of the best rangefinders on the market. That has changed, thanks at least in part to the USGA, which amended its stance on slope-measuring rangefinders. Golfers can now use a slope-measuring rangefinder, so long as the slope functionality is turned off, in tournaments where distance-measuring devices are allowed.

Bushnell’s new Tour V4 rangefinders are available in two models: the Tour V4 ($299.99) and the Tour V4 Slope ($399.99), which takes advantage of the new rule.

The Tour V4 Slope (and all Bushnell’s slope-measuring rangefinders) uses a built-in inclinometer, as well as an algorithm that factors in distance, elevation and trajectory to calculate a distance a shot will play. So on top of producing an actual distance to the flag, say 150 yards, the Tour V4 Slope will also provide a “plays-like” distance. If that 150-yard shot is uphill, it might play more like 160 yards. If it’s downhill, it might play more like 140 yards. For golfers who know their distances well, the Tour V4 Slope will help them better understand their course in causal and practice rounds. And come tournament time, they can still use the Tour V4 Slope, if local rules allow, by toggling the slope functionality off before they get to the first tee.

The USGA rule change eliminates the need of tournament golfers to have two rangefinders, a problem Bushnell had already solved with the Tour X Jolt ($499.99). The Tour X Jolt used a system of interchangeable face plates, which make it a slope-and-distance measuring device when its red face plate was installed, and a distance-only measuring device when its black faceplate was installed. The execution was impressive, but more than once when I (too firmly) dropped the Tour X in the back bin of my golf cart was I jarred when the face plate came flying off. The rangefinder was always fine, but a part of me wondered how many drops it had left in it before something bad happened.

There are a few advantages to the Tour X, however, but for most golfers in the market for a new slope rangefinder, the Tour V4 makes much more sense. For example, with the Tour X, golfers can toggle between a brighter red display and a deeper black display. It also has a 6X magnification, making objects appear 6-times larger through its viewing window, whereas the Tour V4 Slope only has a 5X magnification. The Tour X also claims an accuracy of +/- 0.5 yard, while the Tour V4 has an accuracy of +/- 1 yard. Personally, I liked the ability to toggle the color of the Tour X’s display from black to red, but I didn’t notice the magnification or accuracy differences when compared to the Tour V4 Slope. What I did notice in a big way, however, was that the Tour V4 had no removable parts, and was significantly smaller and lighter. More importantly, the Tour V4 Slope sells for $100 less than the Tour X. Both also use Bushnell’s “Jolt” technology, which alerts a golfer when the rangefinder has locked onto a flagstick by vibrating.

The lone drawback? The Tour V4 slope is water-resistant, whereas Bushnell’s other premium rangefinders (Tour X, Pro X7, Pro X7 Jolt, Tour Z6 Jolt) are rainproof or waterproof.

If you’re a golfer who wants the most accurate distances possible, the Tour V4 Slope is currently Bushnell’s most attractive option, thanks to its ability to turn its slope functionality on and off through its menu. If you don’t care about slope, the Tour V4 and its $100 savings makes more sense. But once slope is off the table, you may want to consider Bushnell’s even more affordable models (Tour V3, Medalist).

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Joe Carrow

    Jul 23, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Do you still think that Tour V4 is still worth a test? I am a Pro X7 user and happy to say it’s the best rangefinder i ever used.

  2. Kevin

    Dec 16, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Had these about a year now, for me they’ve worked perfectly, no issues with locking on, even in dull light, can be tricky into a setting sun but that goes for all rangefinders in my experience. Best I’ve used by far

    • Kevin

      Dec 16, 2016 at 7:49 am

      apologies, should have made it clear I was referring to the Tour X, not the V4

  3. ButchT

    Jul 13, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Does this model lock onto the nearest object in the line of sight or does it go back and forth with the trees in the background? Thanks. ButchT.

  4. Avery

    May 18, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Both I and a friend both got this range finder as soon as it came out. We both had the same experence and only discussed after we had both returned the unit. Battery Door is horrible. The Jolt feature works about 1 out of 4 times. It was hit or miss above 150 yards and could not lock onto any pin over 180 yards.

    I have had the same Bushnell 1500 slope since it came out and worked flawlessly. Unfortunately I sold it before testing this new model. Very sad Bushnell put these out without some further QC.

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Accessory Reviews

Top-3 men’s golf polos at the 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Vegas

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GolfWRX’s fashion expert Jordan Madley picks her top-3 favorite men’s polo shirts from the recent 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Las Vegas. Enjoy the video below!

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: The QOD Electric Caddy

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If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.

The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.

The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.

Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.

The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.

When folded, the QOD measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall.

Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.

Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.

The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.

The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.

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