Choosing the right laser rangefinder for golf should be easy, right? There is a little more to your choice if you want to get the best accuracy, lower your score, and stay legal for tournaments and handicap play. Here are a few guidelines to consider while you shop for your rangefinder.
Choose A Golf Laser Rangefinder
It is tempting to go with the cheapest laser rangefinder you run across and call it good. Don’t do it. If you choose a rangefinder designed for hunting or construction, you will probably be disappointed. They work a little different and are not fine-tuned for your sport. Golf rangefinders normally use a pin seeking function while hunting rangefinders use a distant target priority mode. This subtle difference could make your distance measurement inaccurate on a golf course.
Stick to brands who produce high-quality rangefinders for golf like Bushnell, Callaway, Nikon, CaddyTec, etc. These companies took the time to research the needs of golfers and tuned their devices to be more accurate, plus help you avoid getting penalties.
Slope Adjustment Or Not
This is an area of great debate. Having a rangefinder with slope adjustment gives you a slight advantage on the course, especially courses in hilly and mountainous areas. The rangefinder calculates how much extra distance, or less distance, you need to hit the ball based on the rise and fall of the ground. It does this by measuring the real distance and then estimating the slope based on the angle you are holding the rangefinder. It sounds good so far, right?
The problem with slope adjustment is found in the rules of golf. Tournaments and handicap play both forbid the use of rangefinders with slope adjustment. They insist you choose your clubs based on your ability to discern the slope yourself. Most golf rangefinders do not include slope adjustment for this reason. If you choose one with slope adjustment, make sure it can be turned off. If you turn off the slope adjustment feature, you can still use it for tournament play.
Reflector Based Or Not
Some of the most accurate rangefinders available require participation from your golf courses. Have you noticed reflective prisms on the hole pins at your favorite courses? Some rangefinders require those reflective prisms for accuracy. An example would be the products from Laser Link. They work great on courses outfitted with prisms. Reflective guides are becoming more commonplace, but double check with your courses before buying one that requires the prisms.
This is one of the times where bigger is not better. You want a rangefinder that is small enough to be put in your pocket or to wear on a lanyard. It needs to be quickly accessible and fast to store. You don’t want to be digging in your golf bag for your rangefinder before every shot. Smaller units are just as accurate.
Price – It Doesn’t Need To Be Expensive
Rangefinders range in price from just under $100 to over $300. You can find a wide variety of quality laser rangefinders priced in the $100 to $200 range. This midrange price will let you buy a Bushnell, Callaway, or another quality brand.
Stick with a rangefinder designed specifically for golf. Make sure you can turn off the slope adjustment and stick to smaller units. Following these few guidelines will make sure you have an accurate rangefinder that you will enjoy using.