A golf range finder has become increasingly popular in recent years and is now becoming one of the essential tools on the golf course. There are endless different types and brands available on the market. When it comes to choosing the best golf range finder for your need we will help you. We know all there is to know about golf range finders as we have researched all the range finders we have listed on the Golfreviewguide.

In this article we will cover all types of range finders for golf, how they work, the benefits of using a range finder and what we consider to be the best golf range finder on the market today.

If you want to learn more about the best range finder feel free to jumb straight to that section of the post, just click here.

The Range Finder Rule

In the beginning of 2008 the United States Golf Association (USGA) along with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) gave the announcement of the change of the  range finder rule (Rule 14-3b) that would allow for the use of devices that were used to measure distance. Before the change such devices had only been allowed for amateur golfers by local committees on individual local tournaments and on regular golfing days.

The change would therefore make room for the use of range finders within the game during normal play and tournament although range finders are generally not allowed in major tournaments.

Types of Golf Range Finder

Depending on what you want or need a basic golf range finder is essentially available in three types:

When it comes to choosing the best range finder for your golf there a many great products out there that can really help you on the course. The problem is what to choose.

Do you go with GPS or laser? Is a simple scope range finder enough? Do you take the cheapest option? and if so how cheap should you go?  Do you go for the most expensive? is the most expensive range finder necessarily the best?

We need a criteria to narrow things down and what fits one person does not necessarily fit another. So lets break things down and find out what the best golf range finder is on the market today.

In this article we will cover the top golf range finders for a few categories:

What all the range finders have in common on the categories below is that they are accurate and quick. Those are the most important features when it comes to range finders while things like build, overall quality, range, and other extra features might vary (along with the price) from one type to the next.

When it comes to choosing the best range finder for your golf there a many great products out there that can really help you on the course. The problem is what to choose.

Do you go with GPS or laser? Is a simple scope range finder enough? Do you take the cheapest option? and if so how cheap should you go?  Do you go for the most expensive? is the most expensive range finder necessarily the best? To learn more about each of those types and the benefits of a range finder click here, or if you want to know what the best golf range finder is read on.

We need a criteria to narrow things down and what fits one person does not necessarily fit another. So lets break things down and find out what the best golf range finder is on the market today.

The Very Best Range Finder

The very best range finder has to represent perfection when it comes to accuracy, speed, looks, and build.

We are not looking at the price here as the overall quality is what matters to those that want the best and can pay for it.

1# The WINNER Bushnell PRO 1M

Bushnell Pro 1m

Professional” is what the Bushnell PRO 1M stands for and here we have a range finder that stands for exceptional quality, sturdy build, accuracy, and amazing range.

It can measure the distance to most things on the course with great accuracy and can stand most whether conditions offered up on the course. You can choose a slope version or a tournament version.

If you decide to go with the Bushnell PRO 1M you will not be disappointed and the strong build will ensure that you will be able to use the range finders for years to come.

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2# The Elegant Leupold GX-4

Leupold GX-4 Digital Golf Rangefinder

Elegance and quality” is what the Leupold GX-4 stands for and here we have a range finder that is among the most elegant range finders on the market today.

The GX-4 is simply an outstanding range finder that is packed with features that come in handy on the course and is even legal for tournament play.

You always feel good when you take the GX-4 out of the bag as it combines elegant design with professional quality.

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3# The Game Changing Bushnell Hybrid

bushnell-hybrid

The exceptional Hybrid that has changed the game” is what the Bushnell Hybrid stands for and here we have a range finder that is a combination of a GPS and laser range finder.

You can find the exact distance to a bunker, tree, or water with the accurate laser and then switch on the GPS and get information about the green or measure through a curve or over a hill.

The Hybrid is a quality product that is designed with the user in mind and often when someone has a great idea the result of the idea is less than what expected. That is not the case with the Hybrid as Bushnell have done a truly outstanding job at combining the two methods in one comprehensive unit.

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The Best Low Price Range Finder

Often when you see a comparison of the best something they usually have in common to be the most expensive types as well. We want to help you find the best golf range finder on the market that is also affordable.

The Best Low Price Range Finder has therefore have to stand for accuracy, quality, and cost less than $150.

1# The Small and Cheap Bushnell Yardage Pro
Bushnell-Yardage-Pro-Sport-450-Laser-RangefinderAffordable Quality” is what the Bushnell Yardage Pro Sport 450 stands for. Simple to use and does what it is suppose to do, measure the distance to objects on the golf course. For a price below $150 you get good quality at a price that is well below the rest of the more advanced range finders.

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2# The Small and Unique Bushnell Neo Plus

bushnell-neo-plus

Small, affordable, jet unique ” is what the Bushnell Neo stands for. A GPS range finder that is very easy to use and offers great options, is accurate, and is the smallest golf range finder on the market today.

If you want something that is fast to use and will fit in a pocket the Bushnell Neo is a great option.

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3# Beginners Scope Range Finder

Bushnell-5X20-scope-rangefinder-150x150

The Cheapest of them all” and a truly simple to use range finder is the Bushnell 5X20 Golf Scope. For a price around $17 this scope will offer you simplicity and easy to use.

If you are not sure if a range finder is what you need you can try this first as it is the cheapest range finder you can get that can be used to measure the distance.

Less accurate than a laser range finder and has a small learning curve but is a great option if you are not sure, or if you are looking for a small gift for a golfer.

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The best GPS Range Finder

GPS range finders are less accurate than laser range finders but tend to be more flexible and offer things that laser range finders can not offer. You can access information about the course you are playing and keep a record of your strokes in one place.

When we look for the best GPS range finder we want a device that is accurate, easy to use, and offers flexibility.

1# The Flexible Golf Buddy GPS
Get Ahead of Your Game With the Golf Buddy Word GPS Rangefinder

Flexible” is the word I would use to describe the Golf buddy. You can choose from three  different types of the Golf Buddy depending on your preference.

The three types all have in common great accuracy and flexibility. They are also easy to use which is very important on the golf course.

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2# The Reliable Bushnell XGC

Bushnell XGC+

Reliable and easy to use” is what the Bushnell XGC stands for and offers qualities that Bushnell are known for, good build, accuracy and easy to use.

If you want a GPS range finder that you can trust, that is affordable, and and gives you accurate easy to read information then the Bushnell XGC is the right choice for you.

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GPS Golf Range Finder

A GPS golf rangefinder measures the distance from where you stand on a golf course to a object on the same course, such as the pin or hazards, using pre-loaded data. This allows the user to find out the distance from the ball to those objects which improves club selection and navigation through the course. The general idea is – as with other golf range finders – is to reduce the score by taking the guesswork out of the game and in some instances to speed up play.

GPS units are not new to golf and have been available for years. They have however been very expensive and not very user friendly and have not been legal by the governing bodies within the game. In recent years they have however become legal and commercialized; become much cheaper, smaller, more accurate, with better ergonomics, and overall easier to use on a golf course. This has allowed the average golfer to choose from a verity of different types and brands of GPS units that have different features that range from affordable to very expensive.

GPS Golf Range Finder on the Course

When you line up on the tee knowing exactly how far you need to hit the ball to hit the green or avoid a hazard you can choose the right club for the shot and this reduces your overall score, and handicap in the long run. This will also allow you to learn things about your game and how you hit  the ball with each of your clubs improving your overall game in the process.

GPS range finders need you to pre-load it with a map of the course you are playing in order for it work properly while your position on the course is determined by a satellite signal.

The usability and quality of the GPS unit is determined by three main factors:

  • Availability of a map
  • Quality of the map
  • Quality if the GPS unit

Availability of a map

GPS Golf course maps are now both easily accessible and can be created by anyone willing to walk the course with a GPS unit to make the measures necessary. The larger producers of GPS units have usually made a large number of courses available with the GPS when purchased. Additionally, many companies offer GPS golf course maps on subscriptions, most often on a yearly basis for a small fee. So when buying a GPS unit you will have to make sure that the course you are used to play is available so you can utilize the device to its maximum potential.

Quality of the GPS Map

Keep in mind that some GPS maps are limited in what information they offer to the user. The more limited do only show the distance to the green which offers a measure to the front, middle, and back of a green which can be very useful but is rather limited as it gives no extra information about the course. The more advanced maps include information about hazards or other objects on the course that can help the golfer decide on club and path to the green. Most GPS unit have general information about the course, such as size and course par.

Quality of the GPS unit

As mentioned above, GPS units are now produced in many different types with a wide verity of features and usability. The most basic units will only show the distance to the green. These tend to be very cheap and can usually fit in a pocket due to their small size. Some are simple in design with few features while other are more complicated and include a tough screen and the ability to store scores for you and the players you play with. Some models include the maps while other need you to pay for them, either through subscription or a one time fee.

The smallest GPS unit on the market today would be the Bushnell Neo while the largest would be the Bushnell Hybrid which is also a laser range finder.

The Verdict

A combination of an available map, a quality map, and a quality GPS unit will allow you to get a measure of most objects on the golf course as well as measuring your driving distance. This is something that can add quality and fun to your game that is bound to reduce the overall score and handicap.

Golf Laser Range Finder

A laser golf rangefinder measures the distance to a given object within the range of the range finder, such as the pin or hazards, using a laser that is bounced of a object which enables the range finder to calculate, with great accuracy (usually within a yard), the distance to the object.

The Golfreviewguide Laser Range Finder Review Overview

What Benefits Are there for Using a Laser Range Finder?

The benefits of this for the golfer is very valuable as its allows him/her to choose the right golf club for each shot as the guess work has been taken out of the game. The bunker in front of the green can now be avoided, either by placing the ball in save distance in front of it or by shooting over it.

When you know how far you need to hit the ball, or how far you can´t hit the ball; you can choose the right club for the shot. The result is that you increase the overall quality of your game and reduces your score and handicap. You will also be able to learn about your game by gradually learning how far you can hit the ball with each of your clubs. That is a great benefit that most golfer want to add to their game.

As with GPS golf range finders laser range finders are not new to the game but have in recent years become very popular among amateur golfers due golf range finders in general being commercialized and being allowed by the governing bodies within the game. The production of laser range finders has therefore evolved greatly and golf laser range finders are now available with a wide range of features that enhance the user experience and usability as well now being very affordable. They have also become smaller and more accurate.

How a Golf Laser Range Finder Works

A laser range finder works just like a scope with one eyepiece and optics that you look through. It is either held vertically or horizontally depending on the type. In the center of the optics you will see a cross-hair, circle, or a retacle (depending on the type) that you place the object you wish to know the distance to in the center of. You will then either get the reading within a few seconds, either automatically or by pressing a button . Some range finders will give you a reading continuously of all objects placed in the center while others require you to press a button.

Most range finders can get a measure as close to a objects as 5 yards which highly unlikely that you will ever use. How far away from a object you can measure from will depend on the range finder and how much it cost. The better ones can measure objects that are 1000 yards or more away and get an accurate reading of the flag from 500 yards. This is of course not something you will use on a golf course as there is little point in getting a reading on something that is 1000 yards away but it shows how powerful the device is. What you will be looking for if you want a good laser  range finder is one that enables you to get a reading around and within the 350 yard mark. That will give you what you need in terms of reading objects within the range of how far you will be hitting the ball, and usually well above that.

Keep in mind that you will need a clear view of the object you want to measure. A laser range finder can not measure over a hill or through objects. If there is a slope most range finders will not give an accurate reading unless they come equipped with some sort of slope compensation. Slope edition range finder are however not allowed in tournament play.

Golf Laser Range Finder Features

The features available with a laser range finder are great these days. The most basic version will only allow you to get a reading through optimal conditions without any extra features. Those will also cost allot less and can be bought around the $ 100 mark.

With extra cost, going into the $ 180 dollar mark, the laser range finder will become better built with better ergonomics; the grip, look and feel will become better.

Then features that allow for capturing of the pin will be added when you go over the $ 200 mark.

Some other features available include;

  • the ability to measure with accuracy through bad weather such as rain and snow;
  • giving measures in continuous mode;
  • measuring accurately when there is a slope;
  • knowing the difference between foreground or background and the actual target you are trying to measure.

The last point is among the most popular features in laser range finders today. This can be the flag with trees in the background or a bush in the foreground. The range finder will then know that you are trying to look through those things and want a reading of flag but not the bush or tree. This is a feature that Bushnell calls “PinSeeker” while Nikon Callway calls this “First target mode”.

Golf Scope Range Finder

Golf scope range finder is the cheapest and the least accurate golf range finder on the market compared to the GPS and laser range finders. They are however despite that great for those that are new to the whole concept of golf range finders and want to try out the cheaper alternative to the $100-500 laser and GPS range finders.

The key to using a golf scope is knowing how to. When people try it out for the first time they struggle to understand how to use it. There is no display to tell you how far and optimal conditions are hard to find, i.e. a straight line and a clear view of the target/flag. The key to using the golf scope is therefore in understanding the function behind it. When you look through the optics you will see a vertical line with a couple of small horizontal lines and yardage/meters numbers running from low to high. The line is calibrated towards a 6 yard high flag pole. So when you are 100 yards away from the the flag with a direct line of view at the flag you look through the optics and place the bottom of the flag at the bottom of the vertical line and the top of the pole will give you the reading of the distance to the flag.

There are a few things here to keep in mind. If you are new to a golf scope there is a learning curve involved with learning how to get a measure when the conditions are not optimal; if you can not see the whole flag or if you are measuring something else than a flag. What you need to keep in mind here is that the scope is calibrated towards the 6 yard mark (read the manual to be exact) so if you are measuring something that is 3 feet tall you will get a wrong measure by half so you will need to cut the measure by half to get the correct reading.

What is a golf scope good for?

Keep in mind that this is a cheap device that is rather limited when compared to both GPS and laser range finders that are both very accurate and flexible. The benefits are however those that you will get a golf range finder that enables you to measure distance for a low price. It will not require batteries and it can take it if you drop in the water or mud as there is no digital element that will stop working just because of rain or mud.

The golf scope is also very good for those that just want to try how it feels to have a range finder with them on the course or as an extra range finder in case of something happening to the main range finder during an important shot.

Golf Range Finder Features

Golf Range Finders have different features between types and producers that can often be described in technical terms that can confuse those that are new to using a range finder. Those features can often add something new to the range finder that improves it´s usability and quality on the course.

We will add to this list with time. You can send in a request through the contact form on the site and we will consider including the term here.


 

Scan (Laser Range Finders)

The scan mode is something that is included on most laser range finders in the intermediate price range. It allows the user to view the course through the optics while getting continuous information updated on the display of the distances of the objects you point towards. This allows you to take a quick look and get a measured of the bunker on your right, the trees on your left, and how far it is to the pin or green.

Rain (Laser Range Finders)

The laser range finders uses a laser which in bounces of the measured object which it uses to calculate the distance. When there is rain or snow the accuracy of the measures reduces as the laser has to travel through the rain/snow which results in less accuracy. The rain feature will compensate for the loss of accuracy and gives the user an accurate measurement.  This is a nice feature that works very well but is not included in all laser range finders.

Zip

When measuring through foreground like brushes and trees or branches the laser range finder can often catch those objects instead of the object you intended to measure. The zip mode allows you to skip past those objects and get an accurate reading of the object you intended.

Reflector

If the measured object has some kind of reflective prism this mode will allow the user to get a measure of that object from a longer distance than otherwise.

Meters/Yards

Most range finders allow the user to choose if the distances is displayed in yards or meters.