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GPS or LASER range finder?


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#1 samawc

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 11:33 AM

I am finally going to buy a yardage measuring device. Like many people, I can choose between a GPS or a LASER range finder. Can I get some pros and cons for both? In my line of work, I use both technologies for pinpoint accuracy and I prefers the LASER by a slight margin. Thanks! If you know of any posts that have covered this discussion, could you please post the link? One of the things that I would like answered is wether a LASER range finder is affected by foggy conditions and slight rain or not. In theory it should.

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#2 talksalot81

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:19 PM

I have had a laser which I managed to loose. I now fiddle with a gps machine. So really, it depends what you want. To me, a GPS doesnt much help with precise pin positions. You can be accurate to maybe within 5 yards but I don't think you get any better than that. On a long shot, that isn't a big deal but if you are looking at it as a scoring device, getting it 5 yards wrong on a 70 yard shot it a big deal. In this case, the laser wins easily, in my eyes.

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#3 dn0614

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:35 PM

Lasers are more accurate as talkalot said,  but you need a clear view of your target.  

If you have a smart phone,  gps aps are cheap to free.   Most of them have some stat keeping capabilities as well.  

I use both,  but I only look at either a few times a round.

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#4 samawc

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:45 PM

I agree with you both. LASERs can certainly give you better accuracy for pins. My buddy got injured and I have been using his Garmin G6, I like it, but I am not convinced (hence this post). I am used and efficient to get distances with range measuring devices that have the same shape as golf range finders. One problem that I see with golf apps, is that (as far as i know) they are not allowed in tournament play, because virtually all smart phones have access to weather, in the near future, I want to start playing some competitive golf. In regular play I have used google maps to get an idea of a hole.

Thank you much for your input.
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#5 sheldonjhacker

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:50 PM

I use a rangefinder on the range…and a Garmin S-2 watch on the course…it's perfectly accurate.  Also GolfShot is a great smartphone app.


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#6 ckay

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:53 PM

Depends on what you want.  I use GolfLogix for lay out of hole.  I found myself airmailing a lot of my approaches when I started relying on GolfLogix.  

Because of this, I will be using a V3 for 2014 for accurate readings for approaches in the scoring zone.
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#7 taylorx300

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 12:57 PM

Lasers shoot to specific targets = equals big advantage for me.
At the range before a match and need to hit 100 / 150 shots - laser it.
On a dogleg or long hole and need a layup yardage - laser it.
Laser is always accurate. GPS relies on 9 satellite reading to be accurate to 3 yards.
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#8 esketores

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:03 PM

I have both. And if you made me make a choice... The laser would be mine.
One big reason... is to use the full features of most GPS requires me to be wearing my cheaters.
Used a caddie for the first time in my life last week. All the caddies at this facility has lasers. Well at least I did not seen any with GPS.
If I were to get another GPS it would be a watch version. (Front/middle/back) One of the members of the foursome (when playing with caddies) had a watch GPS. Look at your wrist... done. Particularly if you walk the watch version is more user friendly than a hand held device.

Wonder if the PGA will ever allow a local rule which give lasers and GPS the green light? And I find it interesting the USGA did not write a local rule allowing the use of these devices in some of their tournaments.
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#9 RRFireblade

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:14 PM

If you use both then most likely you already know the pros and cons. ;)  Absolute accuracy vs Ease of use X supplimental information in a nut shell.

For other links....how about an entire forum,

http://www.golfwrx.c...ersmobile-apps/

Hundreds if not thousands of comparison threads. Enjoy. ;)
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#10 dagoose383

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:36 PM

Laser all the way. Allows you to pretty much shoot anything to get a distance (trees, rocks etc.). I haven't had a problem in fog as long as the target is somewhat visible. A lot of courses (around here anyway) are starting to add the small reflectors to the tops of the flag sticks which makes shooting the distance a breeze.

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#11 DallasSteve

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:44 PM

GPS and laser on unfamiliar courses; on my regular courses, laser only.

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#12 R Hagan

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:44 PM

I'm a yardage book guy myself but I've used both quite a bit. Laser without question.
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#13 golfdad907

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:47 PM

Both.  GPS is great for numerous targets/hazards all at once and generic yardages to F/M/B....I only use laser on Par 3s and sometimes on approaches depending on course and how familiar I am, as well as Pin Placement.

Have to get a laser that's quick to target, best 'deal' on GPS is Cally MX+ Pro, like 60 bucks on amazon, and works really well.
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#14 TCZ

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:52 PM

Used GPS for years, then finally switched to a laser.  Main reason= TRUST.  GPS devices can be 'off' on certain course which led me to doubt the accuracy.  Can use lasers to target hazards, calculate lay-up yardages, ......  Much more than just a pin seeking device.  Will never go back.
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#15 mr_divots

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:53 PM

Being able to shoot whatever you want with a laser is very helpful. Extends to groups in front of you as well if you want to know how far out they are and if its safe to hit, etc. There is ONE hole, a par 5, that has water in front of the green but nothing to really shoot to determine a good layup yardage along its banks. This is about the only time I think, "hmmmm....gps....." but then I get to the next hole and I'm over it. So aside from occasional layup yardages on some holes, I won't switch from the laser. Some have a "fog mode" which is supposed to ignore the closer reflection (the fog or rain drops) and focus on objects farther away. I try to NOT play in such conditions, so someone else will have to report if that feature actually works!


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#16 samawc

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:06 PM

Wow, all these posts just confirm my LASER bias, awesome! In my line of work we do find that LASERs are a good source of accuracy when the users are proficient using the equipment... and YOU can TRUST it. Seems that I am sold on the LRF, thanks!

With that said, any recommendations on budget older/used Laser Range Finders that are still relevant and reliable?
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#17 BENNYSUPREME

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:19 PM

I have used my Bushnell Laser going on 3 years and love it.  I have the GPS on my phone but didn't like them.

I acutally had a couple of buddies by laser this past week because the GPS wouldn't work.  I guess they couldn't pick up the satellites.
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#18 esketores

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:26 PM

I've an older (4 years?) Nikon/Callaway laser and have never had an issue. I've replaced the battery once.
This particular model has 6x magnification. IMO the higher magnification is the way to go.
And just about every course I play has added the reflectors to the flags. One course had flag sticks with built in reflectors in the shaft.
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#19 mr_divots

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:31 PM

View Postsamawc, on 12 November 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

Wow, all these posts just confirm my LASER bias, awesome! In my line of work we do find that LASERs are a good source of accuracy when the users are proficient using the equipment... and YOU can TRUST it. Seems that I am sold on the LRF, thanks!

With that said, any recommendations on budget older/used Laser Range Finders that are still relevant and reliable?
If I can add anything else- DON'T skimp on a rangefinder. I had a Bushnell that was a hunting model my first one, about $180, and it was an absolute TOY compared to the Pinseeker 1500 I picked up shortly thereafter. Still have that one and works well, and got a backup in the Leupold GX-3i that has been great this season. Overall range and magnification is much greater on the more expensive models and those two features make or break a rangefinder. You can almost cut in half what the real world ranging capabiliteis are that they list. 1000 yards? More like 500 more often than not. So getting one with a good distance rating helps. The magnification and being able to see the targets is big too, of course.

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#20 RRFireblade

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:38 PM

View Postsamawc, on 12 November 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

Wow, all these posts just confirm my LASER bias, awesome! In my line of work we do find that LASERs are a good source of accuracy when the users are proficient using the equipment... and YOU can TRUST it. Seems that I am sold on the LRF, thanks!

With that said, any recommendations on budget older/used Laser Range Finders that are still relevant and reliable?

Honestly, anything that was any good is still just as good. I have 3 different Bushnells but even my original PS 1500 does a perfect job. Some even prefer the slightly larger size of the 'older' models, easier to sight and stabilize at longer ranges for some people.

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#21 samawc

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:39 PM

View Postmr_divots, on 12 November 2013 - 02:31 PM, said:

View Postsamawc, on 12 November 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

Wow, all these posts just confirm my LASER bias, awesome! In my line of work we do find that LASERs are a good source of accuracy when the users are proficient using the equipment... and YOU can TRUST it. Seems that I am sold on the LRF, thanks!

With that said, any recommendations on budget older/used Laser Range Finders that are still relevant and reliable?
If I can add anything else- DON'T skimp on a rangefinder. I had a Bushnell that was a hunting model my first one, about $180, and it was an absolute TOY compared to the Pinseeker 1500 I picked up shortly thereafter. Still have that one and works well, and got a backup in the Leupold GX-3i that has been great this season. Overall range and magnification is much greater on the more expensive models and those two features make or break a rangefinder. You can almost cut in half what the real world ranging capabiliteis are that they list. 1000 yards? More like 500 more often than not. So getting one with a good distance rating helps. The magnification and being able to see the targets is big too, of course.

Thanks man, is it safe to say that a pinseeker 1500 is still a pretty good one?
I have found several of these at a reasonable price compared to the newer ones.

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#22 mr_divots

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:50 PM

View Postsamawc, on 12 November 2013 - 02:39 PM, said:

View Postmr_divots, on 12 November 2013 - 02:31 PM, said:

View Postsamawc, on 12 November 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

Wow, all these posts just confirm my LASER bias, awesome! In my line of work we do find that LASERs are a good source of accuracy when the users are proficient using the equipment... and YOU can TRUST it. Seems that I am sold on the LRF, thanks!

With that said, any recommendations on budget older/used Laser Range Finders that are still relevant and reliable?
If I can add anything else- DON'T skimp on a rangefinder. I had a Bushnell that was a hunting model my first one, about $180, and it was an absolute TOY compared to the Pinseeker 1500 I picked up shortly thereafter. Still have that one and works well, and got a backup in the Leupold GX-3i that has been great this season. Overall range and magnification is much greater on the more expensive models and those two features make or break a rangefinder. You can almost cut in half what the real world ranging capabiliteis are that they list. 1000 yards? More like 500 more often than not. So getting one with a good distance rating helps. The magnification and being able to see the targets is big too, of course.

Thanks man, is it safe to say that a pinseeker 1500 is still a pretty good one?
I have found several of these at a reasonable price compared to the newer ones.
Yeah, I think I've had mine for 9 or so seasons? Leupold is a little faster returning the yardages, but the "Pinseeker" locks onto flags more easily with the Bushnell. It has excellent range, one 9V will usually get you through most of the season. Little bigger, so it is just a tad easier to aim/hold steady than the Leupold. Once I tried another WRX'er's 1500 years ago, I wanted one right away it was so much better than the one I had.

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#23 Shiram

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:01 PM

I've had both.

GPS is great since you can get front, middle, back and choose a club that helps eliminate trouble. If trouble is long... you know to pick something that is shorter than that yardage - etc. I walk and as I approach my ball I check the yardage and get a sense of what club I'll need while still walking. On the flip side, you never do know the yardage to the pin and batteries need charging every 18-72 holes depending on model. My Garmin lasts about 72 holes.

Laser is nice because you can measure to the pin and you can get front of the green if there are bunkers fronting and back... if there is something to aim at. Doesn't help with blind shots AND if the pin doesn't have a prism... you might get a faulty yardage (+/- a few yards). The battery length is measured in seasons vs. holes. An added bonus: they are awesome at measuring how far ahead the group in front of you is so you know if you can hit your tee shot. It is nice for packed courses so you never have to wonder if they are in range.

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#24 Itsjustagame

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:06 PM

Play regularly in a foursome using both. GPS is almost always the same as laser yardage. As often as the GPS is off, I have seen the laser pick up a tree behind the green.
I want front and back/left and right yardages enough to use the GPS most of the time.
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#25 esketores

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:15 PM

My GPS is strictly for having an idea of front and back of green yardages. If only my skills equaled my yardage knowledge. Sigh.

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#26 RRFireblade

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:28 PM

View PostShiram, on 12 November 2013 - 03:01 PM, said:

. An added bonus: they are awesome at measuring how far ahead the group in front of you is so you know if you can hit your tee shot. It is nice for packed courses so you never have to wonder if they are in range.

Good point, this actually comes in handy in a lot of other similar ways. Shooting trees and/or branches, animals or homes ;) ....turns out on a golf course there are alot of non golf stuff that you might want to know how close or far they are.
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#27 PirateJim

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:40 PM

I am quite satisfied with my little Garmin S1 "golf watch."  I don't play courses where there are caddies, much less ones that carry laser range finders.  I do, however, play in Florida where carts are the norm and it often rains enough that we're restricted to cart paths only.  Not being skillful enough to hit close to the path all that often... er, I mean, being that the most advantageous place on the fairway often isn't close to the path, I would end up having to carry the laser to the ball then fiddle with it rather than just glance at my wrist.  Then I'd have to find a pocket big enough, or a dry spot to put it down.  I like the golf watch.  Beats looking for yardage marks on sprinkler heads.
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#28 NRJyzr

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:55 PM

I've had a few too many instances of Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot readings with GPS to ever trust them, so I wholeheartedly vote laser.

Mr Divots was in the same group with me when we compared two carts with GPS, and got different readings from each one.  LOL

Should only take one instance of dunking a ball because GPS told you it was 124 to the pin on a 142 yd shot...
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#29 NFD

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 04:01 PM

I dumped my range finder for a Garmin SG1 a few years ago and will never look back. My Garmin has always been within a couple yards to a laser and the best part is I can never forget it. Too many of my playing partner misplace their range finder on the course. Like most on this forum I don't need exact yardages as I'm not a pro. I just need to be within a couple yards to make a club selection and rest is on me.
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#30 HiSpeed48

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 06:31 PM

I'm not sure how to put it into words but with a laser I feel like it helps me visualize the shot better. The laser forces me to take a moment to look at the layout of the green and shoot the yardages to the front of the green and any bunkers guarding it, and then I visualize where I want the ball to land. I don't really need the laser to do this but if feel like the laser helps.

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