Are Golf Rangefinders Really Worth The Money – Should I Buy One?
Technology and sport have become intrinsically interwoven in recent times and in no sport is this more evident than golf. All levels of golfer are using watches, apps, launch monitors and rangefinders to make their way to the green in fewer strokes.
Today we are going to look at Rangefinders and whether they are really worth buying and we believe that they are definitely something that can improve your game if you are playing regularly and practicing.
Whether a rangefinder is suitable for you is a matter of personal preference and in this article we will take a look at the benefits and limitations of these devices and its competitors in the tracking market.
What is a Rangefinder Anyway?
Golf Rangefinders basically allow you to measure the distance to the green, hazards, layup positions or even the distance the golfers in front of you so you know when to let rip from the tee box.
I know when I started playing golf, I played all my shots by eye and I never really knew how far I hit each club. I still got good at the game with this approach but when I switched to using a rangefinder, I saw a huge improvement in my game very quickly.
Suddenly, I became strategic with my shots and club selections, laying up into the perfect areas or going for the green when it was on. Most rangefinders come in all different budgets and you can get a pretty decent one for under $100 and you can get a really good one for about $200.
Many superior rangefinder will have pin lock that will tell you exactly how far away the pin is on the green and exactly what club you will need to use.
Two Types Of Rangefinders
There are two types of rangefinders worth talking about currently on the market, Laser and GPS. They both offer a different alternative and cater to different types of golfers.
Laser rangefinders work by shooting a beam of light at a target and shooting back the distance of the object it is hitting based on the time it took the beam to come back. Laser rangefinders are no strings attached distance measurement and they can come with slope taken into consideration or without slope.
Rangefinder are easy to use and require no technical skills but they do also come with potential downsides.
Golf GPS Watches/Devices/Rangefinders
GPS rangefinder usually come in the form of a watch or a handheld device and they can host a wide array of features including distance to the front, middle and back of the green as well as the distance to any hazards along the way.
GPS watches can also tracker as fitness watches, can track your shots automatically to measure your performance on an App and are generally a lot more feature heavy than their laser counterparts.
GPS watches and devices also go from inexpensive to top of the range with the features varying greatly as the technology improves and more features are added.
Golf GPS watches work by preloading the course onto the watch. When you arrive at the course, you load up the course on the watch. The watch gets the position of the watch (you) at all times and tells you the difference between you at the preloaded positions on the course.
Who are the Laser Rangefinders for
Laser Rangefinders are for people who know how far they hit their clubs and are only interested in getting their distances right on all or just key shots.
They may not be tech savvy enough to use the features of a GPS watch and the simple nature and accuracy of a laser rangefinder suits them much more.
Laser Rangefinders are also for more advanced players who want to use them in conjunction with a GPS watch to make sure they are getting accurate distances all the time.
Laser Rangefinders are more suited for mid to low handicappers who don’t need to extra data on their game to improve as they already know their hitting distances with each club.
Who Are Golf GPS Watches For?
A golf GPS watch or device is for anyone who wants to improve their game. From budget to advanced, there are plenty of options and features to suit all tastes.
I think that GPS watches are probably a better option for high handicap players as they provide more information and allow the user to improve by studying their data after the game on an app and seeing what went right and what went wrong.
As you learn the correct distances for each club, you will start to make better shot choices and improve your score totals.
Are Laser Rangefinders Worth The Money?
Laser Rangefinders are definitely worth the money if you are looking to improve you game. There are budget options for under $100 that will give you a reliable and accurate reading of distance and if you play regularly, you will get value for money from the rangefinder.
If you move up the pay scale you can expect better features, more accuracy and better all round products but if you want an extra edge on the course, you should definitely consider a laser rangefinder
Are Golf GPS watches worth the money?
Yes, an accurate Golf GPS watch need cost a little more than $100 dollars and it should be accurate, offering additional fitness and golf features as you move up in budget.
When I started using a GPS watch, I could see how I was choosing the wrong club consistently and this was leading to me hitting the ball wrong and making all kinds of mistakes.
By knowing a could let rip and the distance I could expect with each club, I was able to be more aggressive when going for the green and I dropped a lot of shots off my score almost over night.
If you are sitting on the fence making go with a budget watch this year and you can always upgrade when you are ready.
Pros And Cons Of Laser Rangefinders
Fast and Easy to use
Budget Options are great value for money
Accurate to within a couple of yards
Best way to improve your game
Gives the distance to any trees and hazards in your way
Don’t work when you can’t see the green
Don’t work in poor lighting
Need to hold it steady on the target for an accurate reading
Don’t show you an overview of each hole
Golf GPS watches Pros and Cons
Tons of features available
Accurate in all weather conditions
Tells you the distance to front middle and back of green
Often hooks up with Apps to give you more info
Tend to be slower than Rangefinders
Some budget watches may not be as accurate
Can be difficult to use technically
Battery life can be poor
More expensive watches tend to cost more.
Best Budget Rangefinders
There are plenty of budget rangefinders that will do the job for you without a hefty price tag.
Tec Tec Tec are a leading name in budget Laser Rangefinders. The VPro 500 is a beast for $130 and comes with 1000’s of stellar reviews on Amazon.
It measures up to 450 yards and it has advanced pin lock technology
Best Laser Rangefinder Under $100
The Boblov Golf Laser Rangefinder is accurate up to 650 yards and it comes with pin lock vibration and USB charging. It has also been reviewed very positively and it is a bargain for the price although you will need to pay more for the slop feature which is pretty crucial
Best Rangefinder Overall
The Callaway 300 pro is a beast in a crowded rangefinder market. It offer 6x magnification, pin lock, slope functionality and it shoots up to 1000 yards allowing users to track multiple targets at once
Best Budget GPS watch
Garmin is a top name in the GPS market and golf is no exception. They have been dominating the golf gps watch market for many years.
The Garmin s20 is the leading entry level option for almost every golf enthusiast. It is the first rangefinder I used and I still think it is a top piece of equipment. Coming in at only $120 it beats of the competition including the new and impressive TecTecTec Ult-G Golf watch.
All Garmin Golf watches hook up to the Garmin golf app and this provides autoshot which automatically picks up all of your swings allowing you to view your performance on the app when you get home. This is better than anything else on the market at this price point.
Best Golf GPS Watch
The Garmin s60 is a top of the range watch brimming with features including a nice sized colour screen touch display showing you distance to any target on the course and allows you to select the position of the pin on the green for maximum accuracy
The only downside to the s60 is it price tag which stands at about $300 but still well worth it if you have the budget.
Best Budget Watch That’s Not Garmin
The Tec Tec Tec Ult G is a quality budget watch that does what it says on the tin with speed and accuracy. It doesn’t come with the glossy additional features of Garmin but it is perfect for someone who just wants the distances from the watch or doesn’t need all the additional features.
We have established in this article that if you want to improve your game then a golf GPS or range finding device is a very good place to start. Seeming as you can get a quality rangefinder for under $100, it is definitely worth the money.
Our recommendation for high handicappers is to start with the Garmin s20 Golf GPS watch and get used to that. For more experienced players who may have a higher budget, The Garmin s60 is very hard to beat in the Garmin golf watch space!
Get The Best Price On The Garmin s20 here:
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!