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Rangefinder or No?

rangefinder GPS

75 replies to this topic

#31 Natural1

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:51 PM

If a rangefinder counted as one of my (14) clubs I'd still use one.
It saves strokes and time. Best golf invention since the sand wedge.

Edited by Natural1, 09 August 2018 - 09:54 PM.


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#32 theboypinoy

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 02:46 AM

View Postgbartko, on 09 August 2018 - 09:50 PM, said:

My experience is that it takes too much time and I found a range finder cumbersome to use. For me it's not life or death and a golf buddy clipped to my bag is good enough. I think Golfshot Plus on my iPhone is a great tool if I need a specific distance to a hazard or whatever.

Where I did find the laser useful was on the range as they are always moving the tees but the distance markers stay static.

Just curious, how long does it take you to get a distance?

From pulling it out, getting the distance, and then putting the rangefinder back down takes less than 10 seconds. :)

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#33 cristphoto

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 07:31 AM

I have a rangefinder and a gps watch. I use the rangefinder much more than the watch.

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#34 J-Tizzle

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 08:17 AM

Oh also, I have some magnetic sleeve over my range finder where it can just snap to the front of the cart where the windshield attaches.  Super helpful and always keeps it in sight, I always know its there.

I also don't get why they wouldn't allow these on the PGA tour.  The caddies are all so good they come up with the exact yardages anyways, this would just save loads of time from the caddy walking off a yardage.
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#35 Hellstorm

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:08 AM

I can't imagine not having a laser.  I am thinking of upgrading to one with a slope reading but even just the yardage is great to know.  I can't imagine using the phone all the time...which I did before the rangefinder.  It is tough to see out in the sun and once I start messing with my phone, its tempting to answer texts and emails....which is counter productive.  The laser is just so much more versatile.  The line of sight is the only real issue and its not too often that you have an issue with that and I play on some hilly courses.

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#36 dubbelbogey

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:26 AM

Locally, I'm finding that sprinkler head yardage markings are not being maintained very well so doing it the old fashioned way was getting less and less reliable. I used a phone app for a few years, but decided to go with an inexpensive rangefinder. Overall, it's a great tool to have to quickly and efficiently get a yardage.

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#37 wybrh

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 11:02 AM

I must be old school.  My gps was stolen so I used a laser for a few months.  While it's nice to know exact yardages to the pin, I much prefer knowing front, middle, back, hazards, etc.  My mind prefers more spatial information than a single point.  Basically, using a GPS is like having a yardage book but not having to do the math.

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#38 SwingBlues

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:52 AM

View PostHellstorm, on 10 August 2018 - 09:08 AM, said:

I can't imagine not having a laser.  I am thinking of upgrading to one with a slope reading but even just the yardage is great to know.  I can't imagine using the phone all the time...which I did before the rangefinder.  It is tough to see out in the sun and once I start messing with my phone, its tempting to answer texts and emails....which is counter productive.  The laser is just so much more versatile.  The line of sight is the only real issue and its not too often that you have an issue with that and I play on some hilly courses.

Yeah, get the slope. I just upgraded from my Bushnell Medalist to the Bushnell X2 and the slope is a KILLER feature. Improves the pace of play because you don't need to figure out the yardage for a shot going up the hill or down the hill (except to factor wind). I think that feature saves me at least a couple of strokes in comparison to my Medalist which is non-slope.

Its true, the only time I would use a GPS is if I was in a blind spot and cannot see flag. I have a Skydroid on my phone which I use to mainly track scores or if I hit a long drive, I would measure it. But its rare that I use the GPS -but- it does come in handy the times I really, really need it.
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#39 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:23 AM

For me it all comes down to reducing error sources to as small a value as possible.  Proximity to hole on shots to the green is a function of a golfer's shot dispersion, range to target error, wind assessment, temperature, humidity, and elevation change.  No matter how good you are, reducing range to target error from 5 - 10 yards (approximately how well you can do with GPS or course markers) to 1 yard will improve your proximity to hole by a perceptible amount.  Simple math.

Primary issue with laser rangefinders is line of sight requirement.  Frustrating to work around obstructions (hills, trees, etc...) to get distance to the pin or a hazard.  That process also starts adding error depending on how far away from the ball you have to wander.
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#40 radiman

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 02:01 PM

View Postwybrh, on 10 August 2018 - 11:02 AM, said:

I must be old school.  My gps was stolen so I used a laser for a few months.  While it's nice to know exact yardages to the pin, I much prefer knowing front, middle, back, hazards, etc.  My mind prefers more spatial information than a single point.  Basically, using a GPS is like having a yardage book but not having to do the math.

I enjoyed that feature as well.  My Skycaddy would allow me to estimate pin placement on the green too, which made a nice visual aid.  Just because the pin is 150 yards out doesn't mean I need to hit my 150 yard club.  Or a better example.  Being 220 from the pin, it would be nice to know how far to fly the green, or better yet, how short do I want to hit it to allow for some rollout.

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#41 Joelsim

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 02:58 PM

I used my rangefinder for the very first time today. In most cases it simply confirmed what my GPS was saying as the pins were located in the middle of many greens.

However..

On a couple of occasions it helped me choose a better shot. An example. 15th hole, short par 4 at 320 yards. Hit a 3-Wood down the middle and my GPS said 78 yards to the middle of the green. I used my rangefinder at it said the pin was 86 yards away.

I know that I hit my 58* wedge 85 yards on a full shot, so I did that. I finished about 1 1/2y short of the pin.

If I’d not have had the rangefinder I would’ve hit the same club at 90% and finished 10 yards short.

So, having never used one before I’m already a convert.

BTW it takes about 5 seconds to get a reading, I was taking 3 readings each time just to make sure I was getting the flag, I was. It easy and quick.
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#42 jdl

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 09:22 AM

I use both. GPS app off of most par 4/5 tee boxes to easily see all the hazard distances, carries, doglegs, etc. And that's typically where I enter my score for the previous hole so I already have the phone out. Yes I could get these via laser but it would take time to shoot each of those yardages. Same thing on par 5s from the fairway to get a layup yardage if needed.

Inside of 150 or so and especially inside 100, I use the laser to get the exact pin yardage. Have been working a lot on those partial wedge shots, so having the exact yardage is important.

Edited by jdl, 14 August 2018 - 09:24 AM.


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#43 Pulledabill

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 01:20 AM

View PostJoelsim, on 09 August 2018 - 02:50 PM, said:

View PostWhit1969, on 09 August 2018 - 02:46 PM, said:

I have used the range finder and the GPS apps, but honestly I am old school and rely on marking off my own yardages.  Most of the courses I play have front, middle, and back marked on the sprinkler heads.  I mainly just want to know the front yardage and then go from there.  Honestly though I have a really good eye for seeing the yardage.  My partner uses his range finder on every shot and most of the time I am within five yards of his measurement just by looking at it.

Not quite so easy when you donít know where the pin is positioned on the green. In which case a rangefinder is a necessity if you want to get close. The number of times Iíve looked at the middle of the green GPS yardage, chosen the right club, hit it perfectly and then found Iím 5-8 yards away as the pin is at the back or the front has persuaded me to invest in one.

Dont these courses have colored flags that tell you front, middle, and back?

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#44 jslane57

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 01:32 AM

There is a learning curve with a rangefinder. As in you must remember to also think about how far out you are from the middle, not just to the pin. It is too easy to short side yourself and such when only thinking distance to the pin. But yeah, if best score possible is truly your goal, a rangefinder may be the second most important piece of equipment you can have, behind the best ball you can buy. I add the ball comment only because if you're not going for the best performance possible, a GPS watch or even 150 markers are certainly accurate enough...

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#45 Joelsim

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 05:21 AM

View PostPulledabill, on 15 August 2018 - 01:20 AM, said:

View PostJoelsim, on 09 August 2018 - 02:50 PM, said:

View PostWhit1969, on 09 August 2018 - 02:46 PM, said:

I have used the range finder and the GPS apps, but honestly I am old school and rely on marking off my own yardages.  Most of the courses I play have front, middle, and back marked on the sprinkler heads.  I mainly just want to know the front yardage and then go from there.  Honestly though I have a really good eye for seeing the yardage.  My partner uses his range finder on every shot and most of the time I am within five yards of his measurement just by looking at it.

Not quite so easy when you don’t know where the pin is positioned on the green. In which case a rangefinder is a necessity if you want to get close. The number of times I’ve looked at the middle of the green GPS yardage, chosen the right club, hit it perfectly and then found I’m 5-8 yards away as the pin is at the back or the front has persuaded me to invest in one.

Dont these courses have colored flags that tell you front, middle, and back?

Nope. Red flags on Princes (course 1) and yellow flags on Dukes (course 2).

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#46 Joelsim

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 05:24 AM

View Postjslane57, on 15 August 2018 - 01:32 AM, said:

There is a learning curve with a rangefinder. As in you must remember to also think about how far out you are from the middle, not just to the pin. It is too easy to short side yourself and such when only thinking distance to the pin. But yeah, if best score possible is truly your goal, a rangefinder may be the second most important piece of equipment you can have, behind the best ball you can buy. I add the ball comment only because if you're not going for the best performance possible, a GPS watch or even 150 markers are certainly accurate enough...

I’m not sure I agree with your ball comment. What’s the best ball for one golfer probably isn’t the best ball for another. Personally I’m trying to play one ball with a view to understanding what it does in any given situation. It doesn’t really matter which ball it is IMO in you can learn to know how it’s going to react.
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#47 jslane57

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 12:06 PM

View PostJoelsim, on 15 August 2018 - 05:24 AM, said:

View Postjslane57, on 15 August 2018 - 01:32 AM, said:

There is a learning curve with a rangefinder. As in you must remember to also think about how far out you are from the middle, not just to the pin. It is too easy to short side yourself and such when only thinking distance to the pin. But yeah, if best score possible is truly your goal, a rangefinder may be the second most important piece of equipment you can have, behind the best ball you can buy. I add the ball comment only because if you're not going for the best performance possible, a GPS watch or even 150 markers are certainly accurate enough...

I’m not sure I agree with your ball comment. What’s the best ball for one golfer probably isn’t the best ball for another. Personally I’m trying to play one ball with a view to understanding what it does in any given situation. It doesn’t really matter which ball it is IMO in you can learn to know how it’s going to react.
I totally agree that the best ball is not the best for many a golfer. Two piece distance ball is probably the best choice for many many golfers. The point I was trying to make is that if you're not trying to be as accurate at the best ball money can buy, you don't need to be as accurate as a rangefinder...

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#48 Precision Pro Golf

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 02:55 PM

View PostNatural1, on 09 August 2018 - 09:51 PM, said:

If a rangefinder counted as one of my (14) clubs I'd still use one.
It saves strokes and time. Best golf invention since the sand wedge.

This is a great way to explain just how valuable a reliable rangefinder can be. (Natural1... can we use this line? #NotJoking) Whether you're a new golfer learning the game or an experienced golfer who knows exactly what distance you hit all your clubs, a rangefinder is your most reliable and most versatile tool for getting an accurate distance to your target.

And "target" doesn't always just mean "the flag." The team from Precision Pro Golf went on a three-day golf trip earlier this week and played some great courses in the Indianapolis area. They were all beautiful, challenging courses. I found myself using the rangefinder to shoot a tree line or a bunker that I wanted to make sure to avoid almost more than I did the flag itself. Those are scenarios where a GPS unit just doesn't work as well. There are definitely benefits of using GPS and a laser rangefinder in tandem, but we'd recommend a laser if you were going to choose one. (Yes... we know we're bias.)

And... here's the obligatory plug that GolfWRX members received $20 off all our laser rangefinders. Just use discount code GOLFWRX at check out to claim the offer.

No matter what you decide to do or who you decide to purchase from, we hope you keep enjoying your rounds of golf and this community. It's a great group of golfers!
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#49 GSDriver

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 02:58 PM

Love my laser, very fast and easy to use.

Only buy on sale, and you might also notice that the 'golf' specific models are really just re-badged hunting models with double the price.

I have a Callaway made by Nikon (known for quality optics) that's going on 10 years old and works like the day I bought it....under $200 at the time because 'new' models came out.
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#50 LeoLeo99

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 02:59 PM

View Postronnbee, on 09 August 2018 - 04:36 PM, said:

Bushnell neo watch is perfect

That's what i use.  Very rarely pull my rangefinder out of the bag.


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#51 jslane57

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 05:18 PM

View PostGSDriver, on 16 August 2018 - 02:58 PM, said:

Love my laser, very fast and easy to use.

Only buy on sale, and you might also notice that the 'golf' specific models are really just re-badged hunting models with double the price.

I have a Callaway made by Nikon (known for quality optics) that's going on 10 years old and works like the day I bought it....under $200 at the time because 'new' models came out.
If I'm not mistaken, the algorithms are very different between golf and hunting models. Hunting rangefinders don't focus on small things (branches/leaves in your way) while focusing on the big things (deer). Golf rangefinders focus on very small objects (the flagstick) while not being bothered by big things (the waterfall behind the green). My friends with hunting rangefinders are often very frustrated as focusing on the pin can be tricky.

Edited by jslane57, 16 August 2018 - 05:19 PM.


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#52 Precision Pro Golf

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 03:34 PM

View Postjslane57, on 16 August 2018 - 05:18 PM, said:

View PostGSDriver, on 16 August 2018 - 02:58 PM, said:

Love my laser, very fast and easy to use.

Only buy on sale, and you might also notice that the 'golf' specific models are really just re-badged hunting models with double the price.

I have a Callaway made by Nikon (known for quality optics) that's going on 10 years old and works like the day I bought it....under $200 at the time because 'new' models came out.
If I'm not mistaken, the algorithms are very different between golf and hunting models. Hunting rangefinders don't focus on small things (branches/leaves in your way) while focusing on the big things (deer). Golf rangefinders focus on very small objects (the flagstick) while not being bothered by big things (the waterfall behind the green). My friends with hunting rangefinders are often very frustrated as focusing on the pin can be tricky.

This is correct. There's actually a big difference between hunting and golf rangefinder, which you have very well described. It's called First-Priority and Last-Priority. Hunting rangefinders have last-priority lasers, which try and shoot past small things like leaves and branches until they hit a larger object. Golf rangefinders have first-priority lasers, which try and pick up the first object (the flag) that they hit.

In addition, our NX7 model rangefinders are designed to easily pick up the flag with a bit wider beamed laser than other rangefinders -- both hunting and other golf rangefinders. This makes it easier for golfers with shaky hands to pick up the flag easily.

So, in our opinion, not all rangefinders are made alike. :) We actually do make a cross-over hunting/golf rangefinder that can be switched between first priority and last priority. Your hunting friends who also play golf might appreciate the NX7 Shot.
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#53 Bowlorgolf

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 05:08 AM

Knowing about the wider beamed laser from above is very helpful for us older golfers. You should make sure you call this out on your site. I have been sitting on the fence about adding a laser to my Approach 6 and with this info getting ready to pull the trigger. With the WRX member $20 off makes it a good deal.

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#54 dlygrisse

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 08:08 AM

View Postsheldonjhacker, on 09 August 2018 - 02:40 PM, said:

Once ya go rangefinder, you'll never go back ! :nyam:

I disagree. I went from using a laser back to GPS. I find front middle, back yardage to be the most helpful. I will pull the laser a couple of times maybe, a round if the pin is in a weird spot.
If a course has a pin sheet that shows where the hole is cut even better. No need with fiddling with a laser then

I also find the slope adjustment on the laser to be useless.

Maybe I’m crazy but that’s how my mind works.
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Odyssey Pro #1 black
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#55 NEhomer

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 08:15 AM

Bought my Nikon Coolshot on ebay for $130.00 and can't imagine not having it. My battery died this year and I was lost! My buddy had an extra but yeah, it's a pretty serious crutch for me these days.

I'm perplexed when folks say that it takes too much time. Mine has a strap that hangs out of the pouch. Grab-shoot-return is literally a 5 second endeavor.


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#56 payerasjl

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 09:50 AM

I use a range finder most of my rounds. However yesterday I used a buschnell phantom, a lil screen gps thing that shows a few hazards and distances to front back and center in real time. I LOVED it. It was easier to use, and it costs like 400 less than my laser. Check it out

I guess itís like a watch gps, but I canít swing with a watch on.

Edited by payerasjl, 18 August 2018 - 09:52 AM.

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#57 kdog25

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 03:39 PM

View Posttheboypinoy, on 10 August 2018 - 02:46 AM, said:

View Postgbartko, on 09 August 2018 - 09:50 PM, said:

My experience is that it takes too much time and I found a range finder cumbersome to use. For me it's not life or death and a golf buddy clipped to my bag is good enough. I think Golfshot Plus on my iPhone is a great tool if I need a specific distance to a hazard or whatever.

Where I did find the laser useful was on the range as they are always moving the tees but the distance markers stay static.

Just curious, how long does it take you to get a distance?

From pulling it out, getting the distance, and then putting the rangefinder back down takes less than 10 seconds. :)

I have a Bushnell. Couldnít be easier. But my buddy has a cheapie model. He hardly uses it - too difficult. My hands are fairly steady and even I have a hard time getting a reading. So it really can depend on ease of use. Thereís no way Iíd have one if I struggled like I did with my buddy's.

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#58 Bowlorgolf

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 04:07 PM

Still using my Approach 6 and when you have a blind shot or don’t know the course a quick view shows hazards that you may not see. Distance to hazard without out having to try and get a distance is a plus. Also use it to keep my scores. Still looking at adding a slope for learning my distances on some shots better.

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#59 NEhomer

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 04:22 PM

Do you guys have reflectors at the tip of your flags? Our course has flagsticks with 5 small reflectors surrounding the top.

Rangefinders lock in quickly.

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#60 Londoner

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 04:30 PM

Laser over gps all day long. From 150 yards in, if you know your wedge distances, how can you not benefit by knowing the exact distance?  Also great for distance to dogleg or distance to lay up or clear a bunker. My gps just sits in a drawer now.

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