Golf Range Finders are becoming an ever-more popular way for recreational golfers to up their game. Any amateur can improve their game by investing in a range finder; the reason being that proper course management is a good way to keep shots off your scorecard. This is a part of golf that some neglect.
A golf GPS system can help make your game better but they are not going to make you the next Tiger Woods overnight. Such equipment has been around for a number of years but continue to advance well beyond the first golf GPS systems that were released.
NB- Back in 2000 Bill Clinton allowed the use of GPS technology to be used from American satellites commercially. He did many of you a big favour without even realizing!
Gold GPS systems use satellites to track your location, when broken down to a simpler level, they are capable of feeding you valuable information on distance to green, yardage and how far away you are from hazards. With the current GPS market exploding somewhat it means there is a considerable amount of new releases every week; which can be a good and bad thing simultaneously. With so many releases of GPS systems on the market it can get confusing as to which ones will suit your needs and budget.
What about the pros?
You are not likely to see players at the US Open using a GPS range finder, they usually have a professional caddie to do this part for them. As amateur or casual fans we don’t always have the luxury of a caddie; nor are they in our budget. Once upon a time the rules did not allow range finders at some competitions but now golf clubs can change this rule to suit their own agenda- including competitions and general playing.
What to look for when buying a Range Finder?
Maximum Range Coverage- A big part of the golfing game is about distance and you don’t want a tracker that doesn’t go beyond the average length of a game. All range finders have a maximum range that they can cover, so check out any specifications on all models before buying.
Product accuracy- No golfer can be successful without being accurate and persistent, so your range finder needs to have the same attributes if it is going to improve your game. Most range finders will claim that they are accurate up to half a yard. User reviews do not correlate with this, so due caution and asking your piers can help. Getting a second opinion never harmed anybody.
Price and discount- Work out your budget but try and be realistic. Normal prices can vary from $200 to $800, there is sometimes a chance to get good deals over the summer months when people are gaming regularly. Only buy from reputable sources.
Size and weight- People seem to overlook size and weight of a product like rangefinders, you want to be able to move freely. Go for something easily portable, light weight and one you can easily navigate in your hands; there is no point in making things difficult when you are trying to get help!
Battery life- Golf games can last all day so you need to make sure the battery will last as long so you don’t get 7 holes in and have to recharge! I can’t think of many chances to plug into a socket on a golf course can you? Check and compare all battery prices, check customer reviews like you would for every other part of the product.
If you have trouble deciding on what Range Finder to go for, we have selected 3 that caught our eye. Read on to see what we thought of our select choices!
Bushnell Tour V3 Review
The BT V3 has great sloping capability at first glance, it comes with JOLT technology that can alert you with a vibration once the PinSeeker locks onto its target. The feature has been known to not activate all the time; yet the feature may still attempt to display distance of a locked target.
The range of the BT V3 goes from 10 to 1000 yards, we thought that was impressive but is actually quite standard on the market. IT also offers accuracy within one yard of your shot. The product is great for people on a budget and can give you fast, accurate readings. You can use it when playing at tournaments and keeping scores of your handicap too.
· Water resistant, so you don’t have to worry if it starts to rain. IT is resistant to moisture and light rain pour.
· Simple to use: it has a one button feature and vibrates when you are locked onto your target.
· Better magnification would not go a miss! You can only magnify by 5X with the Bushnell Tour V3.
· Useful JOLT technology can be unreliable at times. Even if distance reading is accurate…
Is it easy to use?
Unless you have really small hands then this rangefinder is quite easy to use. Weighing less than 8 ounces and measuring 4.3 x 2.8 x 1.6 INCHES, it also comes with a cool carry case. The Bushnell Tour V3 has rubber lining in areas to enhance your grip and avoid dropping it. You can also adjust the eyepiece to suit your needs; simply twist the area to adjust. We suggest you try this first time using both hands.
There is only one button on the rangefinder which turns the device on or off, this button is responsible for activating and adjusting different settings. Note that the cross hair cannot be changed.
Anything else you should know?
Product features- The Bushnell Tour V3 is able to give you readings in yards or meters, so you can even use this in Europe! It comes with a scan mode that enables you to read the distance of numerous targets across the landscape ahead of you. The aforementioned PinSeeker will help you check the range of flags without having to worry about any other targets- so any confusion will be avoided by the rangefinder!
If you do read multiple objects in range; the PinSeeker will give you the data for the closest object. The JOLT feature works alongside the PinSeeker to give you more accuracy, offering bursts of vibrations when device laser has locked onto a target.
The Tour V3 easily picks up targets at less than 200 yards, including locking on and giving a JOLT response. Finding targets beyond this range is more difficult, however, and the device has a harder time distinguishing against complex backgrounds. Even without always locking on in these instances the device is still able to provide accurate distance readings for the desired target.
As far as speed, the Bushnell Tour V3 is one of the fastest rangefinders when it comes to locking on to multiple targets. Even with the time taken for PinSeeker to lock on its target it still offers quick readings along with rapid reading to new targets. Accurate distance readings can be given even without locking on and setting on the distance reading.
If you are on the entry level of golf gamers or on a budget this is a great purchase, this is one of the most affordable rangefinders that we could find. Some of the specifications are not as advanced as found on other rangefinders but makes up for that in accuracy and other titbits.
Concluding thoughts? If you can go without all of the fancy things that some people would never use anyway, then we recommend this for you. Compare it with other devices of similar price and see how they fare before you buy! Our word is not final!
Nikon COOLSHOT 20 Golf Laser Rangefinder
Another one from Nikon, this gadget rangefinder is another sleek design that looks great at first glance. We all know that looks only go so far in the game of golf- like the man with all of the new clubs, attire and everything but can’t drive a ball 30 yards!
Some reviews have claimed the rangefinder has improved their game, the product is nicknamed the Coolshot 20 and is a light weight laser rangefinder. You won’t have to worry about trundling this around or worrying whether it will fit into your back pocket or not. This product claims to give you the EXACT distance to your selected targets on the fairway or green. Don’t worry about the woods being in the background either as it promises to employ a ‘first target priority mode’; ie displays the distance of the closest subject.
It measures at 9.1 x 3.7 x 7.3cm and weighs 399g. So even the smallest of hands won’t have problems navigating their way around this little gem.
How accurate is it?
You should be able to enjoy a full clear vision and precision accuracy up to a maximum of 500 m or 550 yards respectively. The Coolshot 20 has an 8 second continuous measurement which can withstand a small amount of hand movement. We believe that 8 seconds is more than enough to track where you need to be aiming for.
· Offers user and exact yardage reading, this is a great bonus for those serious about their game.
· Easy to carry, should fit in your back pocket.
· Prioritises the closest object so you can focus on the flag without any confusion.
· Ergonomic design for ease of use.
· Looks like it could break easily if you drop it.
· Sometimes cheaper models break easily.
· Unsure on battery life and how ‘wet proof’ it is.
From all of the models we have looked at this one is at the low end of the budget scale; it does not have complex features so would be great for beginners to pick up and use. Maybe even a great present for your dad this coming father’s day.
Nikon have a great reputation for producing quality electronic hardware BUT we still recommend you do your own research, compare the Coolshot 20 rangefinder with others set at a similar price on the market and see what you can find. Bargain hunting is always worth an extra look.
The Nikon 8397 Aculon review
This rangefinder is another compact, affordable edition from Nikon. Offering great portability and precision; you should be able to count on this to give quick readings, finding your target and range in good time. Similar to the other models it also has the ‘Distant Target Priority mode’ so you can target the relevant object and not be left with a range that measures the nearest tree or lamp post!
· Pin locating technology similar to that of more advanced devices.
· Reportedly has great accuracy.
· Some people have reported difficulty trying to get device to lock on to a flagpole over 100 yards away.
The 8397 ACULON can actually display the distance of the furthest away target when it attempts to measure a group of different targets. Many of the other simpler devices cannot do this. This will help when a target could be obscured by plants, shrubs etc that come between you and your target.
The rangefinder has an awesome 6X magnifier with 20mm objective lens which is a lot better than the first model we mentioned in or list! The lens is coated with a multilayer coated optic, providing you with a high transmission of being able to detect all visible light in the distance.
What is the aim of this feature?
To decrease any chance of lost light that can be caused by reflection and will offer you a clear view that appears natural to the naked eye. The screen is a simple format LCD screen that reads in yard increments. The maximum this range finder can go up to is 550 yards. The 8937 ACULON is able to resist a fair amount of excess water too.
Without over selling anything for Nikon, it is hard to fault this rangefinder for the price and how accurate it is. Durable and small- you won’t go wrong with one of these and is probably the best on the list. Happy hunting!