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Pace of Play and the Laser: Bushnell Study


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#1 Gospel

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 07:36 AM

Granted this comes from Bushnell, and they would like to sell some lasers, but it is interesting to see some data showing that the laser speeds up play rather than slowing it down as some argue.

What do you think about this?

National University Golf Academy and Bushnell Golf Prove That

Laser Rangefinders Increase Pace of Play On The Course


The epidemic of slow play is put to rest with use of Bushnellâs Laser Rangefinders



Overland Park, KS (December 17, 2013) - Bushnell Golf, makers of the No. 1 laser rangefinder on the PGA Tour for more than a decade, teamed up with California-based National University Golf Academy to conduct a speed of play study.  The results of the study concluded that laser rangefinders improved speed of play during a round of golf amongst mid- to high-index players reducing a full round of golf by nearly 30 minutes.

Video recap of Speed of Play Study: http://vimeo.com/82134770


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#2 dbdors

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 08:28 AM

I don't get why it would slow down.  I grab my laser, shoot, grab a club and hit.  It takes a few seconds to grab a reading and done.  I'm not looking for markers, and guessing or pacing.  Not trying to figure out where the pin is.  If you play ready golf you should be ready.

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#3 Joelsim

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 08:32 AM

Agree. I shoot the pin 3 or 4 times and certainly with my NX7 this takes nor more than 10 seconds. Grab the relevant club and hit the shot. Compared to someone looking for their ball for 5 minutes this doesn’t impact the pace of play at all.
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#4 ZA206

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 09:25 AM

I'm 3X faster when using a laser than not having anything. Walking off yardages from sprinkler heads or yardage markers is for the birds.

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#5 No Catchy Nickname

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 09:37 AM

I don't have a rangefinder, but a mate does, and I've never really noticed it slowing down the pace of play when he uses it. Lots of other causes, IMHO, including cart-path only (biggest cause where I play), and four people to one cart (second biggest cause where I play), overly fast greens (lots of three putts), and very thick rough, to name but a few. Of causes directly attributable to players -- besides the three-putt issue-- I would put overly-long PSR at the top, not worrying about distance.
From my admittedly limited experience, rangefinder is low down the list. In fact, it may speed up play as it allows for faster club choice.

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#6 Ri_Redneck

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:17 PM

I have seen many who can shoot the distance in a matter of seconds, But I also see some that not only shoot the flag, but the front of the green, back of trap, etc. They are far slower than I am with my Garmin Approach6 watch. I can't use a laser due to unstable hands.

Perhaps that is what they're referring to?

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#7 sdandrea

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:20 PM

What really slows play is guys using a rangefinder that still can't break 100.....

My wife comes home griping about players in her ladies leagues using a rangefinder from 40 yards out......

Edited by sdandrea, 09 October 2018 - 01:22 PM.

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#8 Z1ggy16

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:26 PM

I don't have time to watch the video right now... I wish this was written instead. It's really important to know what their baseline or control was. Was it people walking distances off? Well of course a laser is faster. Using a yardage book then walking off to whatever sprinkler head or marker is near by could take a minute or more, per shot. But compared to a GPS watch or app, I find lasers to be no faster and sometimes even slow me down because I'm trying to laser the bunker... then the flag.. then oh hey that tree over hanging a bit could come into play... and so on.

Obviously a study done by a company promoting its own product is likely biased. Plus, the only time this is truly fair is playing as a single with the course wide open. Unless you've got a stop watch or something, you can't just turn a timer on when you tee off and end it when you putt your last putt. Too many variables in between.
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#9 GSDriver

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:28 PM

Agreed, it's far faster, especially at courses with prizms on the flagsticks, to laser the pin assuming GPS isn't close enough.  Takes me literally about 5 secs to laser a pin
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#10 philly2kuk

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 01:38 PM

I’m much quicker with my laser than I was pacing off, but then again I only laser the flag or the one bunker on the fairway I’m worried about reaching. I know some people who use a laser and seem to spend forever getting just the flag and I know others that stand there looking at their gps for ages. It’s not the tools that are the issue, it’s the person using it.

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#11 Natural1

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 02:00 PM

10 times faster with a laser. I shoot the green front or front bunker and the flag. Literally takes less than 10 seconds total, probably closer to 5, and unless I'm up first I'm doing this while someone else is hitting. I don't understand the idea of folks taking a long time to shoot anything... are they using very old rangefinders, ones that aren't made for golf, or do they have REALLY shaky hands?

IMO it should almost be mandatory.to have one, or some sort of GPS thingy. Both speed up play immensely. I still have my old yardage books from my home course, but I hope I never need them again.

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#12 nemoblack

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 02:13 PM

View Postsdandrea, on 09 October 2018 - 01:20 PM, said:

What really slows play is guys using a rangefinder that still can't break 100.....

My wife comes home griping about players in her ladies leagues using a rangefinder from 40 yards out......

I find my rangefinder most useful from those 40/50/60-ish shots. There's never any markers at those distances, and I actually practice those sorts of specific ranges - so it matters to me there much more than out at long-iron/hybrid range, for example, where I can easily guesstimate range from on course markers (if present) and that'll be plenty good enough.

If I'm in the 40-60 range - I'm pinhunting.

Edited by nemoblack, 09 October 2018 - 02:14 PM.


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#13 md1m

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 02:15 PM

Don't have time to watch the video either, but can tell you the people I have played with who use lasers are much slower. I get to my ball, glance at my watch (gives me front, middle, and back) pull a club and hit the ball. If I'm playing with a guy with a laser and he's roughly the same distance away, I'm ready to go to the green before he's pulled the laser, taken it out of the case, shot the pin twice, the bunkers, etc.

And they are getting a reading when they are 275 and even 300 out, even if they can only hit it 240 max from the fairway.  I will tell them "you're 285", but they pull out that laser and two minutes later say "I'm getting 284".

So maybe it's faster than using a yardage book, but it's way, way slower than than a gps watch.
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#14 leopoldstotch

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 03:05 PM

I know this is off topic, but i do agree with those who use watches

watches are way faster, but i do like the range finder more.

I definitely think hving a range finder is a great way to shave off some shots and is super easy to use, but like anything else it needs practice. When i let my friends who don't own one use mine, they take forever

I wholeheartedly don't think it's the tool, but like someone said above, it's the person using it. My friends who are slow, are slow at everything in life. period.

Edited by leopoldstotch, 09 October 2018 - 03:06 PM.

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#15 2bGood

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 03:21 PM

Typically I have done all my lasering before it is even my run to hit    

If not as walk and carry my laser is in my hand before I even stop walking and I have my numbers before I set my bag down.

Now way do proper use of lasers slow play.


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#16 FmaxTurboSi

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 03:42 PM

Def helps speed up play.  Everybody knows the yardage on par 3's if your hitting from the same tee.  Takes out the guess work on all other shots.  I laser pins for my playing partners as well.  I'm able to get a yardage while he's grabbing the appropriate club.  Hit, go, repeat.
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#17 ghoul31

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 03:48 PM

i played with 2 guys who used lasers and it really slowed things down

took them 20 seconds to get a reading, so it added a few minutes to each hole
a gps is instant
and these guys were 20 handicaps so they really had no business using them

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#18 pegleg

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:07 PM

The is no reason lasers should not improve pace of play - especially over time. Not only does it give you accurate information - distance to pin, bunker, trees, group ahead, etc - it also allows any golfer to vastly increase their knowledge of their own game. After a few rounds, you have a far better idea of your distances, especially into the green. This should lower both the time of the round and your score. It did for me, and is the single best golf purchase I've ever made.

Slow play is not complicated, but the golf media sure likes to search for weird answers.

1. Golf is hard
2. Most people are bad at it

3. Most play from the wrong tees and courses with too much water, rough, trees, OB. (Courses and rangers should make more effort to guide people to the right course and tees.)
4. Most spend FAR too much time watching each other hit instead of locating their own ball and being ready to play next (top ranked serious cause)

But, if anyone wants to be completely honest
5. Most are not "avid" and "serious", play infrequently, and don't care how long the round is. It's their only time away from the wife and kids, housework and work... so 5-6 hours is JUST FINE. Add beer, food, cigars, etc.
6. Most courses have tee times too close together, poor ranger training, and don't want to risk losing customers by "hassling" them.

The only thing that improves the pace of play better than a rangefinder is a caddie.

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#19 pholway

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:12 PM

View Postsdandrea, on 09 October 2018 - 01:20 PM, said:

What really slows play is guys using a rangefinder that still can't break 100.....

My wife comes home griping about players in her ladies leagues using a rangefinder from 40 yards out......

That’s my favorite. The dude who lasers pitch shots. At some point it becomes about feel.
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#20 augustgolf

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:13 PM

People who are slow, can fruck around with or without laser, GPS, and/or yardage markers on sprinkler heads.

They are just people who are inconsiderate of others , and how their actions affect them.

FWIW - lasers, properly used, should speed things up.

But, I know some golfers who are slow because they are just slow at everything they do....inconsiderate, actually.

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#21 puttingmatt

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:16 PM

Its not the use of a laser in golf that causes slow play, its inept golfers that are not ready to play
when its their turn, like when your waiting for the green to clear, having your club choice made already , not starting to figure it out once the green clears.
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#22 nemoblack

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 04:23 PM

View Postpholway, on 09 October 2018 - 04:12 PM, said:


That’s my favorite. The dude who lasers pitch shots. At some point it becomes about feel.

I agree that at some point it does become about feel - but for me that's considerably closer than 50/60 yards out. Between 40 and 100, what I'll call partial wedge shots (whether or not they're actually "pitches" is up to intepretation) I want to know that distance as precisely as possible. I never held any group up lasering short shots, so lasering has nothing to do with slow play. Not being ready has everything to do with slow play. Using a laser is no different from taking a drink of water, looking at a sprinkler head, toweling off, choosing a club, testing your stance, pondering the hazards, or any other of the myriad of things players do prior to actually swinging their club at the ball. My observation is that slow players don't do any of this efficiently. Efficient players can do it all and still have time to have a nice social conversation while they're waiting for others to hit.

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#23 swgolfer

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 12:12 PM

IMO the Laser in the wrong hands does not speed up play, all the getting it out of the case and shooting it multiple times then put it back in the case is just a recipe for slow play, a GPS on the other hand whether on the wrist or on the cart just requires a quick glance and then club selection. If someone has the tendency to over analyze things the Laser is nothing but another distraction......always love the buddy that shoots the yardage and then wants to know what yardage you got just in case he screwed up! No question that GPS is simpler and quicker, the Laser is more accurate yes but how much does a few yards really matter 99% of the time.

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#24 tylerfriesen

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 10:32 PM

Well assuming the question is using a laser compared to walking off yardages obviously the laser saves a lot of time and if it's using a laser compared to a gps watch the watch will be slightly quicker although less precise.

I've always preferred using a laser and in my 14 years playing competitive golf (albeit terrible quality competitive golf) its got to be 95% of the field using a laser compared to 5% using a gps unit because of the increased accuracy.
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#25 kiwihacker

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 04:14 AM

View Postpholway, on 09 October 2018 - 04:12 PM, said:

View Postsdandrea, on 09 October 2018 - 01:20 PM, said:

What really slows play is guys using a rangefinder that still can't break 100.....

My wife comes home griping about players in her ladies leagues using a rangefinder from 40 yards out......

That’s my favorite. The dude who lasers pitch shots. At some point it becomes about feel.

I play with a Scotsman who is a bit of a traditionalist. If someone starts lasering a pin inside 50 his response is usually "Can't you use your f#*$ing eyes?"

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#26 gloucesteroldspot

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 05:26 AM

I hate lasers, GPS watches and all that nonsense. There, I said it. One of the skills of golf is being able to judge distance. Would you use a tape measure on the green to determine to the inch the length of a putt? Of course not - though maybe there are some who would if they could. So why is it a matter of feel inside an admittedly arbitrary range, and a matter of ballistics beyond that? Golf is in danger of becoming a military exercise, where distances, wind speeds, air temperatures and elevation are all plugged into a programmable machine that spits out a projectile on an exact trajectory, guaranteed to fall precisely on target every time. Except the machine isn't programmable - it's us. Human beings, with a tremendous capacity for developing instinctive skills if we let ourselves, and even greater ability to make a complete mess of the simplest task.

Most iron sets have four degree increments, which equates to about 12 yards in distance. Suppose your six iron goes 170 yards and your seven iron goes 158 (purely random figures based on the average claims of typical golfers). You laser the pin at 164 yards. No wind, no slope, average air temperature and less than 1000 feet elevation. You have to choose between a hard seven and a soft six. That's feel. If you have it, you can pull it off; if not there's no point knowing the yardage to better than six yards either way. If you have it, you can judge distance as well.

Ironically I see more 18+ handicappers wielding lasers than good golfers. I assume they haven't yet learned the skill of judging distance, which is fair enough. They usually cannot hit any club a predictable distance either, so it probably doesn't matter what the distance is. I have often waited for a playing partner to laser the pin, decide it's 178 yards, pull out a hybrid and top the ball into the rough fifty yards down the right side. It's funny, generates lots of abuse and we have a good laugh about it, but does it speed up play? No. He'd have topped it into the rough just as well without bothering to laser the pin first.

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#27 kiwihacker

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 03:01 PM

View Postgloucesteroldspot, on 17 October 2018 - 05:26 AM, said:

I hate lasers, GPS watches and all that nonsense. There, I said it. One of the skills of golf is being able to judge distance. Would you use a tape measure on the green to determine to the inch the length of a putt? Of course not - though maybe there are some who would if they could. So why is it a matter of feel inside an admittedly arbitrary range, and a matter of ballistics beyond that? Golf is in danger of becoming a military exercise, where distances, wind speeds, air temperatures and elevation are all plugged into a programmable machine that spits out a projectile on an exact trajectory, guaranteed to fall precisely on target every time. Except the machine isn't programmable - it's us. Human beings, with a tremendous capacity for developing instinctive skills if we let ourselves, and even greater ability to make a complete mess of the simplest task.

Most iron sets have four degree increments, which equates to about 12 yards in distance. Suppose your six iron goes 170 yards and your seven iron goes 158 (purely random figures based on the average claims of typical golfers). You laser the pin at 164 yards. No wind, no slope, average air temperature and less than 1000 feet elevation. You have to choose between a hard seven and a soft six. That's feel. If you have it, you can pull it off; if not there's no point knowing the yardage to better than six yards either way. If you have it, you can judge distance as well.

Ironically I see more 18+ handicappers wielding lasers than good golfers. I assume they haven't yet learned the skill of judging distance, which is fair enough. They usually cannot hit any club a predictable distance either, so it probably doesn't matter what the distance is. I have often waited for a playing partner to laser the pin, decide it's 178 yards, pull out a hybrid and top the ball into the rough fifty yards down the right side. It's funny, generates lots of abuse and we have a good laugh about it, but does it speed up play? No. He'd have topped it into the rough just as well without bothering to laser the pin first.

Yeah the pros are the worst offenders. Imagine having a caddy that walks the course, notes down all the yardages and gives the player the yardage for every shot. Appalling!  Just look at the target and judge the distance for yourself for crying out loud. The caddy should only be there to carry the clubs. And don't even get me started on the caddy helping to read putts. ;)

Edited by kiwihacker, 17 October 2018 - 03:02 PM.

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#28 cristphoto

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 03:36 PM

If you hit more greens or avoid more hazards by having an accurate yardage pace of play has to improve. I keep my Bushnell in my pocket and take it out to take a reading, then pull a club and go. This act of lasering takes less than 10 seconds but the time saving is much more.

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#29 swgolfer

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 04:19 PM

That is where the issue is, the majority of Golfers don't hit more Greens just by having the yardage dialed in to the inch.......it just causes more over thinking and confusion. For the Low Handicap player yes it is simple like you suggest and likely helps with pace of play, IMO  most the Mid and High Handicap players get more benefit with simple GPS yardage.

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#30 cristphoto

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 05:35 PM

View Postswgolfer, on 17 October 2018 - 04:19 PM, said:

That is where the issue is, the majority of Golfers don't hit more Greens just by having the yardage dialed in to the inch.......it just causes more over thinking and confusion. For the Low Handicap player yes it is simple like you suggest and likely helps with pace of play, IMO  most the Mid and High Handicap players get more benefit with simple GPS yardage.

True. Ive played in scrambles where the D level player would constantly ask what the yardage is. Often we could be just 10-20 paces off the green and they would still ask even though they have trouble hitting their distances consistently.


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