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Is a laser rangefinder really necessary?

GPS Garmin g6 Rangefinder

114 replies to this topic

#1 Pearson10M

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 10:16 AM

Serious question:  I have a GPS (Garmin G6) and it works well.  Touchscreen, color, distances to the cup, critical distance on each hole, etc.  I can move the cursor around the screen and get distances to bunkers, water, back/front green.  With all of these features, what advantage does a laser rangefinder have?  I know that a lot of folks here use rangefinders and consider it a critical tool to improve their golf game by being able to accurately know distances.

Thanks.


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#2 Shilgy

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 10:26 AM

View PostPearson10M, on 18 August 2017 - 10:16 AM, said:

Serious question:  I have a GPS (Garmin G6) and it works well.  Touchscreen, color, distances to the cup, critical distance on each hole, etc.  I can move the cursor around the screen and get distances to bunkers, water, back/front green.  With all of these features, what advantage does a laser rangefinder have?  I know that a lot of folks here use rangefinders and consider it a critical tool to improve their golf game by being able to accurately know distances.

Thanks.
I have the Garmin S4 and some days it is off by as much as 8 yards. Not a big deal for me at 200 out. With a wedge in my hands that is too much doubt.
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#3 VNutz

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 10:29 AM

Absolutely necessary? No, people played for over 100 years without them with no problem. But once you use one you start to realize just how valuable it is to know exact distances, not just to pins but bunkers, trees, etc.

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#4 Rosco1216

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 10:34 AM

If it's necessary to know your true distance to any given spot(pin, bunker, water, etc), then yes. If you are cool with estimating and guessing, then no. IMO they become increasingly necessary the better player you are, and vice versa.
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#5 rcain1us

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 10:37 AM

GPS doesn't help you at the range, wit the laser I can check the distance to certain targets and not just blindly wail away.

I also want the yardage to say, a tree at the corner of a dogleg, or maybe the back face of a bunker I need to just carry.

GPS is great for the front, back and center of the gree

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#6 Atrayn

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 12:10 PM

Used Golflogix exclusively for years, but switched to Laser because of above stated reasons.
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#7 Pearson10M

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 12:43 PM

Thanks for all the candid responses.  Guess I'll start looking at Rangefinders now.

Edited by Pearson10M, 18 August 2017 - 12:53 PM.


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#8 Roadking_6

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 12:50 PM

I use both. I have a Garmin watch that was a tee prize in an event I played in. I also use a Leupod GX-3i2 . It gives me a better shot. If I know the pin is at 170 and the back of the green is 174, It may change my club selection. I want to know where to miss. We have tricky greens at my home course and the misses on them are crucial. It's always beneficial to me to know where my greatest margin of error is. Also I know distances to clear water, bunker, etc.

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#9 PerseveringGolf

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 12:52 PM

good luck using a laser on a dogleg or over trees.

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#10 Skaffa77

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 01:01 PM

View PostPerseveringGolf, on 18 August 2017 - 12:52 PM, said:

good luck using a laser on a dogleg or over trees.

I'm waiting for the amazing response that GolfWRXer's are too good of golfers to position themselves on the wrong side of a dogleg or behind trees.


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#11 Skaffa77

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 01:05 PM

I use a laser rangefiner.  My wife really wanted one too...but I just bought my wife a Voice Caddie SC300 figuring it'd be easier for her to use and give her enough info to make the club decision.  All honestly, I was surprised with how fairly close her Voice Caddie is to my laser rangerfinder (with exception of the slope function).  

I once commented to a scratch golfer that I use a laser rangefinder vs. a GPS device because it's much more accurate...like 5 yards more accurate.  He asked..."For our skill levels (non-competitive golf)...is it going to make that significant of a difference."  I pondered his question and realized that for the most part...it wouldn't.

Edited by Skaffa77, 18 August 2017 - 01:05 PM.


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#12 highergr0und

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 01:38 PM

No single piece of equipment has had a bigger impact on my game than the laser.  When I got my first one, I dropped several strokes off of my cap vs the GPS I was using going from around 10 to mid 6's.  Removing the variable of distance means more focus on left/right.   Playing courses with large greens can easily mean at least a club difference against a GPS.

Now that I hardly ever get to get onto a course and my cap would be HORRIBLE if I kept one, it's not quite as big of a deal.  My distance control isn't so hot with all the rust.  Lol

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#13 HiSpeed48

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 01:50 PM

Each has their advantages and drawbacks. A combination of both is most ideal. However, if I could only choose one then I'd choose a rangefinder.

I like knowing exact distances to flags, and I can almost always laser to the face of a bunker to estimate carry distance over fairway bunkers and the bunkers protecting the green.

GPS really shines on courses with complex layouts and/or lots of water features. It's also better for getting an idea for how far to the back of the green as well as the shape of the green if you aren't familiar with the course.
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#14 Duke of Hazards

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 02:06 PM

View PostHiSpeed48, on 18 August 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

Each has their advantages and drawbacks. A combination of both is most ideal. However, if I could only choose one then I'd choose a rangefinder.

I like knowing exact distances to flags, and I can almost always laser to the face of a bunker to estimate carry distance over fairway bunkers and the bunkers protecting the green.

GPS really shines on courses with complex layouts and/or lots of water features. It's also better for getting an idea for how far to the back of the green as well as the shape of the green if you aren't familiar with the course.

I was about to post something similar.   It's not a one vs. the other thing.  Ideally, you want both.

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#15 Norboo

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 03:02 PM

I have so many GPS devices, watches, apps and only one rangefinder.  
Ever since I've gotten used to my Garmin S20 watch, I hardly use anything else unless it's on a course I do not know well.  
I still use the rangerfinder but only on ocassional approach shots.

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#16 redrover69

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 10:26 AM

The GPS devices will keep track of statistics IE distances you hit each club and will keep track of your score and compile stats based on past performances. Also you can use the GPS as a map of the course you're playing. So you an see where the sand traps are water is and the layup distances etc etc.

Rangefinder won't do any of that...Ive been using my G8 garmin and my buddy his bushnell and when the flag is in the center of the green my GPS has been spot on with his rangefinder. I can approximate where the flag is by moving it on  the G8 and the distances are negligible. I guess if you're on the PGA tour ok I can see a few yards make a difference but for mainstream golfers I don't see where a few yards makes that much of a difference.

I guess its personal preference.

The G8 shows the distances instantly where the rangefinder you have to point and shoot and hope you hit the flagstick.

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#17 RighttoLeft

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 03:25 PM

I have both.
A Bushnell Neo XS GPS and a V4 Shift laser.
The GPS gets looked at before every shot, but there are 4 or 5 occasions each round when the laser is much more valuable.
Two examples off the top of my head:
  • a short (140 yard) par 3 with a creek directly in front of the small (10-12 yard deep) green and a sharp slope behind it. I want to know EXACTLY what the carry is to cover the creek from the two different sets of teeboxes used;
  • an S shaped par 5 where you often need to know how far to hit it to carry the trees lining the left side, but staying short of the treeline on the right.
A GPS isn't accurate enough in these two situations.

Edited by RighttoLeft, 20 August 2017 - 03:26 PM.

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#18 sheldonjhacker

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 03:30 PM

Once you go rangefinder, you'll never go back to a GPS watch.  :derisive:

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#19 TheFatTick

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 03:35 PM

I use a range finder on the range.

I use my GPS watch far more on the course. The distances to the front, middle and back at a glance give me a better idea of what I need to hit than distance to the flag.

Of course, I play 90% of my golf on my home course and know the greens, so I'm shooting to spots rather than flags usually.

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#20 ray9898

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 10:32 AM

Having exact distances can only be a positive.


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#21 Big Ben

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 10:35 AM

View PostPearson10M, on 18 August 2017 - 12:43 PM, said:

Thanks for all the candid responses.  Guess I'll start looking at Rangefinders now.
Thats how I do it, see the hole and shoot the flag. BB

Edited by Big Ben, 21 August 2017 - 10:57 AM.

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#22 Shilgy

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 10:54 AM

View PostTheFatTick, on 20 August 2017 - 03:35 PM, said:

I use a range finder on the range.

I use my GPS watch far more on the course. The distances to the front, middle and back at a glance give me a better idea of what I need to hit than distance to the flag.

Of course, I play 90% of my golf on my home course and know the greens, so I'm shooting to spots rather than flags usually.
That seems logical except those times you shoot with a rangefinder and the pin actually is a few steps before the front or beyond the back of the green.  That is my issue with GPS.  From 180 out it is probably accurate enough. With a wedge in my hand I hate the fact gps is occasionally 8 yards off.
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#23 MidMOGolfer

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 01:07 PM

I get way too aggressive when someone I'm playing with has a laser and I hear the exact yardage to the pin.  I play smarter using a GPS.  



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#24 kiwihacker

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 03:22 PM

I have both but only because I have, from time to time, played courses where the layout has changed and the GPS is rendered useless. This happened a few times too many with my old Skycaddie and my Garmin G6 is much better but it has still happened occasionally.  Where the GPS is accurate on familiar courses I'm happy with the GPS. On new courses the laser can be very useful though.
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#25 NYC243

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 03:27 PM

technology is truly killing so many things....

the best ball strikers in the world never had rangefinders....what happened to playing with your eyes and your feel...

count me out...


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#26 Bob Cat

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 04:16 PM

Both.  Glance at watch then laser pin.  GPS confirms I'm not shooting something behind the green.
Had a GPS watch for at least a year before the laser.  I feel both have incrementally improved my game.
I cannot trust a fairway marker anymore - seen too many significant discrepancy's.
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#27 Krt22

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 04:22 PM

View PostNYC243, on 21 August 2017 - 03:27 PM, said:

technology is truly killing so many things....

the best ball strikers in the world never had rangefinders....what happened to playing with your eyes and your feel...

count me out...

Baloney.

The best ball strikers in the world (PGA tour pros) have their caddies create their yardage books days in advance using...you guessed it....laser range finders. So good that if you listen to them talk to their caddies you will hear them coming up with yardage numbers down to the single yard and then sticking it to a few feet.

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#28 NYC243

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:06 PM

View PostKrt22, on 21 August 2017 - 04:22 PM, said:

View PostNYC243, on 21 August 2017 - 03:27 PM, said:

technology is truly killing so many things....

the best ball strikers in the world never had rangefinders....what happened to playing with your eyes and your feel...

count me out...

Baloney.

The best ball strikers in the world (PGA tour pros) have their caddies create their yardage books days in advance using...you guessed it....laser range finders. So good that if you listen to them talk to their caddies you will hear them coming up with yardage numbers down to the single yard and then sticking it to a few feet.

hogan, nicklaus, woods, snead, etc never had that...

the guys today rely on that...

i rest my case

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#29 Shilgy

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:11 PM

View PostNYC243, on 21 August 2017 - 05:06 PM, said:

View PostKrt22, on 21 August 2017 - 04:22 PM, said:

View PostNYC243, on 21 August 2017 - 03:27 PM, said:

technology is truly killing so many things....

the best ball strikers in the world never had rangefinders....what happened to playing with your eyes and your feel...

count me out...

Baloney.

The best ball strikers in the world (PGA tour pros) have their caddies create their yardage books days in advance using...you guessed it....laser range finders. So good that if you listen to them talk to their caddies you will hear them coming up with yardage numbers down to the single yard and then sticking it to a few feet.

hogan, nicklaus, woods, snead, etc never had that...

the guys today rely on that...

i rest my case
Besides anecdotal accounts what evidence do you have that they were better ballstrikers than the players of today? I mean I know Hogan hit it straight...... Ii guess the fairways were shaggy??

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#30 NYC243

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:19 PM

View PostShilgy, on 21 August 2017 - 05:11 PM, said:

View PostNYC243, on 21 August 2017 - 05:06 PM, said:

View PostKrt22, on 21 August 2017 - 04:22 PM, said:

View PostNYC243, on 21 August 2017 - 03:27 PM, said:

technology is truly killing so many things....

the best ball strikers in the world never had rangefinders....what happened to playing with your eyes and your feel...

count me out...

Baloney.

The best ball strikers in the world (PGA tour pros) have their caddies create their yardage books days in advance using...you guessed it....laser range finders. So good that if you listen to them talk to their caddies you will hear them coming up with yardage numbers down to the single yard and then sticking it to a few feet.

hogan, nicklaus, woods, snead, etc never had that...

the guys today rely on that...

i rest my case
Besides anecdotal accounts what evidence do you have that they were better ballstrikers than the players of today? I mean I know Hogan hit it straight...... Ii guess the fairways were shaggy??

the evidence is in the history. the players themselves have talked about how technology has transformed the game. nicklaus, gary player, even tiger have talked about it.

pro's have tried hitting old clubs and older golf balls which were smaller and have said how they cant believe those guys were able to hit it.

its becoming a game of science rather than skill. because of that the pga is now considering banning green mapping because of this very issue of technology vs skill.

Edited by NYC243, 21 August 2017 - 05:24 PM.


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