Pros advice

2017 Distance Rangefinders

Distance measuring devices are fast becoming one of the most sought-after golf products. Whether it’s the laser-based rangefinders that you ‘point and shoot’, or geo-positional devices that display instant yardages via satellite technology, many golfers are using them to enhance their game. They are even used sporadically on tour by players and caddies during practice rounds.

Deciding on which type of distance rangefinder is suitable for your own needs can be daunting. Ultimately, it comes down to individual priorities, such as type of data, features, convenience of use, and ease of use. Once you know these things, the choice becomes a little easier.

Using Distance Measuring Devices

All golfers should know how far they can hit the golf ball. Having a good knowledge of how much power is placed behind your swing will make using rangefinders more rewarding, and will improve the chances of landing softly on the greens. As the R&A correctly points out, many golfers believe they hit the golf ball a lot further than they do, and this will be reflected in the distance measurements, so be sure to know your stats before using a rangefinder on the greens and getting your yardages wrong.

Getting to grips with range and tilt mechanics

Probably the most important aspect of using a distance measuring device is determining the range. For example, if the flag is 300 yards away, then it will be a hard target to lock onto without a steady hand. Where the rangefinder is small and lightweight, it can prove difficult to hold in place for prolonged periods. Experienced golfers often try targeting a large object close to the flag, such as nearby tree, rather than the flag itself, when steadiness is an issue.

Compensating for changes in elevation

Laser rangefinders hold the advantage of offering yardages to the flag position, which many golfers will prefer over the more general ‘middle of the green’ figures offered by GPS.

Slope Edition models, such as the Bushnell Tour V3 Slope Edition Rangefinder and Bushnell Tour V4 Rangefinder Slope Edition, offer more accurate calculations for approach shots involving elevation changes, which can affect the distance significantly.

Once you’ve recorded the standard yardage, the device then calculates the ‘play-as’ distance by taking the slope angle into account, which is clearly displayed on the viewfinder.

While other laser rangefinders will measure the distance on the same level as the flag, Slope Edition models recommend using a golf club that is going to travel the extra yards to compensate for the additional distance indicated by the elevation.

Slope Editions are not formally allowed under the Rules of Golf but are fantastic for casual play, and will gradually teach you to compensate for elevation changes when using a conforming version in competition.


Popular rangefinders include the Bushnell Tour V4 Ryder Cup Rangefinder, Callaway Golf Laser 300 Laser Rangefinder, Bushnell Tour V4 Rangefinder, Bushnell Tour V4 Rangefinder Slope Edition, Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT Laser Rangefinder, Bushnell Medalist With Pinseeker Rangefinder and Bushnell Tour X Rangefinder.

View the full range of golf rangefinders now.

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