Golf Range finders are the solution to the most critical aspect of golfing i.e. knowing the yardage measurement to the target point. Be it amateurs or experienced golfers, players are increasingly using gps or laser range finder for golf to plan their shots and improve their game. As mentioned ealier there are two types of golf range finders available in the market: Laser range finders and GPS golf range finders. Both are devices to measure distances between the player and target point, however, both differ in the way they are operated.
Laser range finders calculate the distance by measuring the time taken by the invisible beam of laser to travel from the rangefinder to the target and back. GPS golf range finders determine the distance to the target points through satellite signals. Since the operation techniques of the rangefinders are different, the factors to consider while choosing GPS or laser range finders also vary.
Following are the features to be looked upon while choosing a golf Laser range finder:
- Maximum Range and Accuracy – The maximum range coverage of laser range finders usually vary between 800-1600 yards. The maximum range of the range finder largely depends on the reflectivity of the target, which in turn is affected by various factors like colour, surface finish, size, shape etc. of the target. Under optimal condition, laser rangefinders usually claim to have an accuracy of within +/- 1 yard. However, recently manufacturers like Bushnell and Leupold have been able to reduce it to +/- 0.5 yard with their products Tour V6 and Leupold GX- 3i and GX-4i respectively.
- Magnification – There are laser rangefinders in the market with no magnification as well as products with magnification as high as 7x. Magnification make the objects seem to look closer than seen with unaided eyes. Hence, higher the magnification, higher will be the visibility of the target and chances to hit the target.
- Ease of Use – The ease of operation of the device by the user depends on the specifications of the device such as dimensions, weight, form, battery life etc. The dimensions and weight of the device help to decide the comfort in handling and carrying the device. The user’s comfort also depends on his preference for the form of device like some may find vertical devices more comfortable, some may prefer horizontal form for better grip in hands for use. The battery life which determines the operating time of the device is also an important factor to be considered while buying a laser rangefinder.
Features – With range finders being continuously updated with modern technologies, today rangefinders are equipped with various features to make golf play much easier and faster. Scan, Pinseeker and Slope are the three modes available in laser range finders. Rangefinders with the scan mode on scans all the targets in the range of the device attempting to lock the right target to the distance. With its Pinseeker technology, the device enables accurate sensing and pointing of the flagstick ignoring the background clutter like trees that may have stronger signal strength. The Pinseeker technology is also known as PinHunter, First Target Priority and Line of Sight modes. Slope technology aids the measurement of pins at an uphill or downhill. This feature makes it possible to calculate distances more accurately by taking into consideration the elevation changes towards the target on the golf course. However, devices with slope technology are not permitted for use in tournaments. The users can, thus, choose the device with the appropriate technology according to their requirements.
- Cost and Warranty – The price of the laser rangefinders usually range between $200-$700. The cost of the device largely depends on the features of the product. Better the technology used, higher is the price. Most of the range finder manufacturers offer 1-2 years warranty for the product.
Factors to consider before buying a GPS golf device:
- Set Up and Operation of Device: For starting setup, the GPS range finders either require installation on a computer or registration on a website and in some cases both. GPS golf devices are mostly not much sophisticates technologically as laser range finders. Hence, they should have only one or very few buttons to operate the device.
- Course Availability and Updates: GPS golf range finder devices need to be pre-loaded with courses for it to be able to deliver its function of showing distances to targets. If a course is not mapped in the device, it cannot calculate and display yardage measurement of the targets on that course. Most of the golf GPS rangefinder manufacturers offer more than 20,000 preloaded courses on the devices and also provide for further download of updates to the device. The number of courses preloaded in the device varies from brand to brand. Golfers who play on many courses require GPS golf range finder which has more number of preloaded courses with a provision of more downloads.
- Features: There are GPS golf rangefinders providing various kinds of features and functionality. Some GPS range finders can only measure and display distance to the front, middle and back of the green, while some with advanced features like aerial fly-over maps of each hole, scorecards with analysis etc. most of the GPS golf rangefinders run on rechargeable batteries so the operating time of the battery is also to be considered. Users can choose devices according to their expectation and requirement for the play.
- Cost and Warranty: Golf GPS devices usually havea price range from $99 to $500. Many manufacturers also charge additional fees for addition of courses to the device. The warranty given by the manufacturers on these GPS golf devices lies between 3 months to 1 year.
Going for a golf Laser range finder or golf gps range finders completely depends on the user’s preference in terms of ease of use, individual requirements from the device and their passion for Golf. For players who prefer a less sophisticated and smaller device, GPS golf rangefinder would be a better option. Similarly the requirements from the device of players would vary depending upon if they are playing golf as a hobby or profession and whether the player is a new beginner or experienced player. Golfers who play for their hobby or are new beginners would prefer a cheaper device than a pro golfer who may require sophisticated device for perfection of his game. Golf Laser range finders being expensive compared to GPS devices would be generally more preferred by experienced and amateur pro golfers.USGolfPro.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and other international Amazon websites.