Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt
Search in comments
Filter by Custom Post Type
Tested Products 8
Hours Spent 45
Evaluated Studies 13
Considered Reviews 560

Best Golf Rangefinder 2019 • 8 Golf Rangefinders Reviews

Thinking of upping your game with a golf rangefinder? If you currently don’t have one, the time is now if you take your golf game seriously. Truthfully, golf rangefinders prove to be every bit as valuable as every single club in your bag, but you will need to learn how to use it to become proficient by reading through this comparative report.

Golf Rangefinder Leaderboard 2019

Last update:

Show similar comparisons

What Is a Golf Rangefinder

Many golfers they need to do a golf rangefinder course to get the hang of it, but that’s simply not the case. Golfers use rangefinders to have a better idea about the distances of the target or flag. Hunters use rangefinders as well. Both devices simply measure the distance from the observer to the target position.

If you think that golf rangefinders are only for professional golfers, anyone who has one will tell you that you’re wrong. Love to play golf? Got the budget? Take your game seriously even if you’re not in tournaments? Then you will enjoy using a rangefinder to improve your game and get on-target with your drives.

Golfers use rangefinders for a variety of reasons, but most importantly:

  • A better understanding of how far you should hit with each club.
  • Getting on the green every time instead of landing in the bunker.
  • More confidence in the club to choose for the distance that you need to cover.
  • See your scores improve as you get more proficient with clubs and long-distance drives.

While you might hit any shots at first with a rangefinder, using one to its full capability over time will eventually improve your game more than any tutoring, courses, lessons, and time on the green with a club pro.

The main purpose is to take off shots during each round, which is why you have clubs in the first place. Basically, if you want to hit further and more accurately, a golf rangefinder is the quickest way to teach yourself how to do it. It’s also better than a caddy in that you can get more from it using slope technology as well.

You can remove the guesswork in whether a green goes uphill or downhill just by using a good laser rangefinder. Not sure if a golf rangefinder will improve your game? Here are five ways it will definitely change the way you play for the better.

Distance Control

learning yardages and clubs is so much easier with a golf rangefinderIf you don’t know what club you’re going to use, what does it matter if it’s 140 yards to the flag? How does it help to know if there’s a water short or long shot if you can’t figure out what to hit it within the first place? The best golfers know the distance within inches that they’ll get with each club in their bag. Control is the most important part of golf if you want to shave down strokes from the drive.

There is only one way to figure out that type of control, and that is with practice. However, learning yardages and clubs is so much easier with a golf rangefinder. You can use the rangefinder at the driving range to learn what each club in your bag is capable of as well. However, some rangefinders also have additional features that will let you predict exactly where your ball will land with each club.

Becoming more precise is just one more way that you can improve your game.

Managing the Course

Exact yardage to the pin is what serious golfers know will take them to the top of their game. That is achievable using a rangefinder as well. You can also use it as a course management device. If you think about the number of shots that you’ll take during a round where you’ll more information to decide on the club, then you can take a real load off by having a rangefinder by your side. Once you learn the distances and clubs, you probably won’t need the rangefinder anymore for each course that you perfect.

This is also where rangefinders can excel beyond the capacity of a caddy, as you can get over cross-bunkers on a par-4 or hit it short of a water hazard using a rangefinder to give you the distance. The rangefinder tells you how far it is to clear water as well as how far it is to the bunker on the other side. You can use rangefinders to create all different types of scenarios. However, the information that you get is the true prize.

Driving With Confidence

When was your best round of golf? I bet you were probably feeling pretty confident about your swing and the club that you picked. Most golfers build confidence over practice and plenty of games. It’s also important to be confident with any short that you pick. You can get the exact yardage that you need to get close to the pin with each club, or you can know how to get over the hunker on the right side of a par-4. This builds your confidence in understanding the shots, distance, and clubs, and once you start making every shot, you can feel assured that you know the course as best as you possibly can.

Conversely, doubts can drag a golfer down. Not sure about the club you selected? You may hit it with too much force and sail past your mark. The best way to remove that doubt is by using a rangefinder to help you find the distance and partner it with the right club.

Knowing Your Angles

you can not get to the exact yardage without a golf rangefinderDo you like to look at an angel and guesstimate? Even if you have the best eyes on the planet, you can’t get to the exact yardage without a rangefinder. For example, think about a 170-yard post and a flag system for the back, front, and middle pin locations. You can come up with a number by eyeballing, but is it accurate? Your yardage and angles can change instantly just by hitting the ball in a certain downhill too. Longer shots can be pinpointed and directed exactly the way you want to. Angles are often problematic on fairways. What if you’re down on one side of the fairway but upon the other? The rangefinder provides values on every shot, but it can help you make shots when you are wide left or wide right on a particular tee.

Pace of Play

You have been there before. The group in front of you is walking around looking for a sprinkler to see what they’re going to use to hit the shot. Without a rangefinder, this might have been you, as well. Slow play is probably the worst thing when you’re in a group or trying to practice and just want to get on the green. Pace typically comes down to the player’s confidence and how fast you’re able to pick out the club that you want. You can remove all the guesstimation and sprinkler search with a good rangefinder.

Determining how you will use a rangefinder will be the first step in ensuring that you choose the best model for your golf game. In some cases, you may even use a hunting rangefinder to help you just with distance. There are a variety of rangefinders out there, and not all of them are as expensive or complicated as they are made out to be. In the past few years, many of these rangefinders have come down in price.

How Do Golf Rangefinders Work

There are a few rangefinders out there that have different functions. Some are specifically for golf, while others can be adapted from hunting rangefinders. The most basic difference is between GPS and laser rangefinders. Both of them use different ways to calculate distance and other points that are beneficial when understanding how to take the perfect shot.

Using Laser Rangefinders

With these types of rangefinders, the object has to be in view in order to determine the correct distance. You can aim the rangefinder at any object to see the distance through the viewport. Once the target object is within your sight, just pull the laser trigger to send the beam to the target.

The laser rangefinder then shows the read-out of distance on the display. If you didn’t lock on the right target, then you may have an error instead. This is one of the reasons why many people do not use a laser rangefinder, although they can be quite expensive and have a few different features that are different than GPS rangefinders.

Using a GPS Rangefinder

when you're on the green, turn on the gps rangefinder you are going to playWith golf GPS rangefinders, it’s very simple to find every distance. You can load the course you are going to play right into the rangefinder before you even get to the green. However, some of these rangefinders also come with a monthly subscription cost. This adjusts courses and has the most accurate data available, so you get the perfect distance readout every time.

When you’re on the green, turn on the GPS rangefinder you are going to play. It will automatically find the satellite feed. You can select the hole on the rangefinder where you are going to tee off and also choose the target.

In most rangefinding units that use GPS, the distance to the pin will be the automatically chosen option. However, there are also intermediary distances that are included in the map of the course, so make sure that you are looking at the right distance.

Advantages and Applications

On the golf course, finding the correct distance from yourself to the pin is the most important in making a shot as close to a hole in one as possible. While only the best golfers in the world can make those kinds of shots, using a rangefinder gives you a pretty accurate measure an angle of how you should hit a ball to get it as close to the target as possible.

For those who have difficulty picking a club or want to be more accurate in what they choose, rangefinders provide confidence that the club you pick will deliver on hit.

Golfers use rangefinders that have the maximum readable distance capable. With GPS rangefinders, you can truly rule a course in no time just by understanding the different shots and yards of each hole. It’s also beneficial when glare, wind, heat waves, and other issues that make it difficult to see how far the flag is from yourself. Even in perfect conditions, you may not be able to guess the most accurate about of yardage. The rangefinder removes this point of contention, giving golfers a supreme advantage.

Essentially, the rangefinder becomes an expert, data-fueled caddy that can instantly give you a readout with just a point and trigger.

What Types of Golf Rangefinders Are There

While there are laser and GPS rangefinders, there are also hunting and first priority rangefinders. All of these can help you in some way on the golf course, but which one provides the most advantage? When a rangefinder targets the first object in the line of sight, it chooses to prioritize this target. This can make your rangefinder more accurate. However, there are also second priority rangefinders that are more useful for hunting. This is because they can read trees beyond the flag that are 120 yards away, while the flag is 30 yards closer. This is useful for hunting since you are most often behind a screen or blind. Can you use both of these for golf? Certainly. However, you may like the precision and ease of use of a first priority rangefinder better.

Here is the breakdown below with pros and cons for each.

Golf Rangefinders

golf rangefinders combine everything that you want in a rangefinder to find the distance, angle, and moreOften expensive but incredibly stylish, golf rangefinders combine everything that you want in a rangefinder to find the distance, angle, and more. They have courses already charted that you can load in, and you may need a subscription to access some of the features.

You can also purchase golf rangefinders as watches or handhelds. Golf rangefinders can come as laser or GPS types. You can use these types to access course information that’s pre-loaded in, or you can download courses from the Internet to your rangefinder as well.


  • Highly accurate
  • Detailed course information loaded into the rangefinder
  • Use as a watch or handheld device
  • Easy to carry around
  • Good battery life


  • GPS rangefinders need a subscription to access courses

Laser Rangefinder

The laser is highly accurate for target-spotting, however, and you can easily magnify targets. This helps if you want to understand slope in additionThese rangefinders bounce a laser off of an object that you aim at. Once you pull the trigger, the laser records the distance and provides a readout. Laser rangefinders can be accurate, but most of them are not as accurate GPS rangefinders because of new technology. Laser rangefinders often take a little bit more skill to use and don’t automatically provide readouts like GPS rangefinders.

The laser is highly accurate for target-spotting, however, and you can easily magnify targets. This helps if you want to understand slope in addition to yardage.


  • Highly accurate
  • Better for determining the slope
  • Lengthy battery life
  • High magnification level
  • Extra features like flag detection


  • Not accurate for when you are behind trees or have an obstruction in your view

GPS Rangefinder

GPS rangefinders offer the most precise yardage for each flag on any green location that is registered. This is because you can load in course information before you ever get on the green. This means that users do not have to focus on the target to produce the layout of the course. It can easily be selected with courses loaded into the unit.

You will have to sign up for a monthly subscription to get this information. The monthly subscription provides you with access to all of the courses and distances as well as information about each par.

GPS rangefinders are great for beginners because you can simply use it to point and go.


  • Easy to ease
  • Highly accurate
  • More precise yardage information according to course


  • Expensive
  • Requires monthly subscription fee

First Priority Rangefinder

all golfing rangefinders are typically in first priority mode because you don’t have any other targetsThese laser rangefinders are extremely useful to spot targets and provide quick readings. All golfing rangefinders are typically in first priority mode because you don’t have any other targets. It is helpful when there is nothing blocking you from seeing the flag. It will not pick up any other targets. Some laser rangefinders will have a temporary switch from second priority to first priority with a “bullseye” mode.


  • Locks on a target
  • Provides quick readout


  • Not good for uses behind trees or when the view is obstructed

Second Priority Rangefinder

These are better suited for hunting, but they can be used for golfing. It is typically used when there is a blind, and you need to track the distance to multiple objects. The problem with second priority rangefinders is that it can find multiple targets and provide readouts for something that you don’t want. There is a higher learning curve for these rangefinders because of that.


  • Useful if you are behind a blind
  • Can switch to first priority mode in some cases


  • May not provide accurate distance

GPS Rangefinder Watches

purchase a watch like the Bushnell Neo Plus Golf GPS Rangefinder Watch that has pre-loaded 25,000 coursesMany golfers use GPS rangefinder watches. These are made by many of the large manufacturers such as Garmin and Bushnell. These handy tools use triangulation and satellites to measure distances. Your watch receives a GPS signal and in the time that the signal is sent to the GPS watch, the measurement between sending and receiving that signal shows how far away the satellite is.

The process duplicates with a satellite that sits a further distance from the watch receiver, which allows the watch to pin down the exact location and track the receiver through activity. As GPS technology integrated into the watch, it measures different points that are used to accurately show metrics like pace, speed, and distance. This gives golfers real-time information about their performance.

With a rangefinder watch, the courses are loaded into the system. In some cases, you can purchase a watch like the Bushnell Neo Plus Golf GPS Rangefinder Watch that has pre-loaded 25,000 courses. This means you don’t have to pay any subscription fees or download anything onto the watch.

Rangefinder watches are great options for those who want to easily see the distance on the greens without having to use a laser rangefinder, which can sometimes be bulky to carry or not sufficient for fast gameplay.


  • Easy-to-use
  • Comes pre-loaded with courses (in certain models)
  • Less expensive than most laser rangefinders


  • Limited in functionality when compared to laser rangefinders
  • Shorter battery life needs charging

Golf Performance Tracking Devices

golf performance tracking devices are made to teach you exactly what club to useSome devices are made to teach you exactly what club to use on what green and in what weather conditions. This is a great tool for training, but most of these tracking devices are not allowed in professional play. They simply contain too much information. However, these work perfectly for someone who wants to be more confident in the clubs they pick and measuring distance with slope accurately.

The Arccos Golf 360 Golf Performance tracking system is one of the more popular tracking devices. It features ultralight sensors that can detect each club in your bag. It automatically records and analyzes the shots that you hit, combining with GPS, Tour Analytics, and Live Shot Tracking. It provides the exact measurement of the distance to any point on the course as well, giving the golfer quite an edge in the game.

The greatest part about these devices is that you can pinpoint the weaknesses holding back your game so that you can learn to hit the right distance and at what angle each time. These devices use modern technology and software from Microsoft to be able to provide analytics to golfers who want to improve their game.


  • Improves your game swiftly
  • Teaches you about clubs and distances on any course
  • Provides data on other performance aspects
  • Records data that you can look at later to see what needs improving
  • Uses sensors to detect clubs that you should use


  • Only good for training purposes
  • Illegal for professional/tournament use

Any golf rangefinder that you pick will help you with distance. However, if you want to learn more about clubs, scope, angle, weather, and other factors, then you can choose more advanced rangefinders to help you train your eye and senses faster. Some of these devices are not meant for professional use, as they can’t be used in any tournament.

In most cases, any rangefinder device that has anything else besides distance measuring capabilities cannot be used in a competition according to USGA rules. You can read through details on each type of rangefinder to determine whether it’s something you’ll use for casual gameplay or competitive matches.

How Golf Rangefinders Are Tested

The best way to try a golf rangefinder is to test it on the golf course. However, you should also look at videos, reviews, and talk to associates at golf shops before purchasing one on your own.

You can take it with you on the green and point at different distances to get a readout, while also using different settings to test angle and slope. There are a few different things to test with every rangefinder. These include the following:


The design truly depends on the type of rangefinder that you purchase. Most laser rangefinders have the typical build of what comes to mind when thinking about a rangefinder. It looks like a handheld camera or a modern pair of binoculars. These devices are the most powerful because of their lenses, GPS technology, and displays.

you can play different holes and check the rangefinder to see distanceThe casing is typically metal or plastic while the lenses are made of high-performance glass. Microsoft software is one piece that is used to analyze and report on performance data as well.

Most rangefinders are handheld devices that are lightweight with a lense and a trigger. However, there are also golf watches with a rangefinder built-in. With a golf watch, the rangefinder data is typically pre-loaded or downloaded into the watch. You can play different holes and check the rangefinder to see distance.

There are also smaller tracking devices that can fit in the palm of your hand. These work like GPS watches and provide course information, but they don’t use laser technology.

PinSeeker Features

This feature is typically unique to Bushnell rangefinders. You will see it described as Pinseeker with JOLT Technology in the details section. This feature allows you to acquire targets easily and automatically by honing in on the pin. It will provide a short burst of vibration as it locates the pin and works for any golf flag.

Basically, this makes it easier to pinpoint the yardage as it won’t pick up any other object other than the flag. In certain cases, some object may have more reflective than the flag and cause a distortion, which provides the inaccurate distance. However, that is why Pinseeker is so valuable because it automatically blocks out other reflections and just hones in on the pin.

It also provides a faster readout of the distance and is more accurate than other rangefinders. The laser travels very fast towards targets, and you can also magnify the course multiple times to ensure that you can see great depth and detail. It’s the best of the binocular and laser beam technology.

Extreme Speed Precision AKA EPS 2

pointing your golf rangefinder at the targetWant to have speedy and precise readouts? You can get there with the ESP2. These devices are incredibly fast for golfers and can measure the distance to 1/10th of a yard.

ESP takes devices to a new height as the user can see an increase in the speed by yard up to 5 times faster. The speed is doubled than before as well. This allows golfers to see the edge of their shorts and get the most precise results.

This technology is found with Bushnell devices most of all, but you can look for precision technology and magnification on any rangefinder to compare. You should be able to get readouts within seconds of pointing your rangefinder at the target.

Viewport and Reticle

Every rangefinder has a viewport and reticle that allows you to aim and “shoot” in the desired direction. Most rangefinders have illuminated reticles or crosshairs that pinpoint the exact area where you want to capture the target. However, in some cases, they may be black, which is more difficult to see.

You should always test and look at reviews before picking any rangefinder as you want to avoid reticles that are hard to see. It will make gameplay difficult and slow.

Displays and Readouts

Every rangefinder has a type of display, typically LED, that tells you what you are looking at and provides a readout of the distance. If your rangefinder is capable of more analytics, then the device may also provide a readout of slope, weather conditions, angle, and club desired. Displays should be easy-to-read and informative. If you own a rangefinder that can store and track data, then you also get the benefit of performance analysis.

In most cases, simple rangefinders are built just for measuring distance. This makes them legal to use by USGA standards. The distance that displays on the LED screen once the target has been locked on and measured.

Easy Operation

the simple trigger on the golf rangefinders often has multiple functionsYou do not want to hold up play because you don’t know how to use a rangefinder. Golf rangefinders are typically easy-to-use because they mainly have one function: show the distance to the pin. With handheld laser rangefinders, you simply point and pull the trigger in order to get the distance readout.

GPS rangefinders can be a little bit trickier. This is because in most cases you have to pre-load or download the course information to the rangefinder. While this is great for showing accurate distances to the pin at each par, it’s not exactly good if you don’t have the course information already loaded in.

There are also hybrid GPS and laser rangefinders that do a multitude of functions, allowing golfers to really up their game while training different courses. These are great for practice use only. With a hybrid, you can see course information as well as point the rangefinder to get the distance. IT also measures wind, slope, and angle, and you can get a readout of what club to use in most cases.

The simple trigger on these rangefinders often has multiple functions, so you have to learn the different ways to press or hold the button to see different features.

GPS rangefinder watches are pretty easy to use as well. You simply turn on golf rangefinder mode to locate the pins and start seeing distances for each hole.

Accurate Readouts

The worst thing about any rangefinder is finding out that you hit the ball too wide or in a completely bad direction or with the wrong club because of an inaccurate readout.

Most rangefinders should be accurate within a yard of the pin. When you test a golf rangefinder, you want to point in the direction of a pin and get the yardage several times. If it doesn’t show the same readout every time or they are wildly inaccurate, then you won’t be able to get good use out of the rangefinder. This is also a reason why some golfers prefer GPS rangefinders because it doesn’t matter where you point, it will still provide you with the most accurate pin location.

However, in some cases, you want to get the distance for things that aren’t pre-loaded like in GPS, and that’s why a laser rangefinder is better. However, laser rangefinders do take more scale. You have to make sure that you are pointing in the right direction and getting the correct pin, as other objects can reflect and capture a readout if you are not careful.

Most rangefinders take at least a day of using on a course to get used to. They are fun to work with and feel light in the hand. You should check the display multiple times as you play to see what the readouts are and ensure that you are picking the right club.

Club Selection

Most rangefinders are not going to provide the exact club in your bag, but there are some that do provide this feature. These are for practice only and supply you with a good amount of data on the clubs that you are using. In some cases, the device may use tracking sensors to record data on each club and give you precise selection feedback.

You can test it with each of your clubs to get a higher performance rating. In some cases, golfers think that this makes you too comfortable in allowing a device to become your caddy, and it takes away from the game. However, if you want to train your senses and club knowledge, this is the fastest way to learn about each club in your bag.

Slope and Angle Technology

The technology in rangefinders today is unlike anything that it has been in the past. With slope and angle technology, you can get an accurate idea of how the course spreads. Does it go downhill on the left? Is it an uphill shot to the pin on par-4? This is best used for planning course strategy. Laser rangefinders are the most accurate when tested for slope technology.

The difference between slope technology and standard rangefinders is that with slope features, you can measure distance and elevation. However, it is not legal for tournament play.

Slope technology helps improve your golf game quite a bit by understanding the course and how the green breaks at each pin. Mostly caddies will use the slope finder to help during casual play and practice.

Combining Apps for Wind, Weather, and Terrain

Tracking devices and advanced rangefinders often have the ability to add in difference maps for distance, weather, slope, wind, and terrain. These are excellent features for practice play, but it really gives you too much information to ever be useful in competitive play. While these apps allow you to hone your skills, the advantages are a bit unfair to other players. However, these are fun to play with and learn about each course. You can develop your senses even further to understand how the green breaks or how to drive in certain wind conditions.

The rangefinder that will fit your needs will have most of these features but could also be costly. Some of the older rangefinders still work well and can be purchased used in order to avoid the high costs.

What Should I Pay Attention to When Buying Golf Rangefinders

Some rangefinders are simply better than others because of their design, features, and technology. However, the cost may be too high, even if it is the perfect design. You have to pick a rangefinder that will help with what you need the most. If you are looking simply for something to help with your distance and clubs, then a simple laser rangefinder can help you do that best. If you want something that helps you learn the course and gives you specific targets, then you may be after a GPS rangefinder.

Here are the specific factors to look for when picking a golf rangefinder.


Most golf rangefinders will range between $150 and $200. However, some of the pricier ones may go up to $300 or more. While there are very cheap “golf buddy” rangefinders, you should read reviews before purchasing to determine if this is the best option for what you want on the greens. Most of these rangefinders can also be compared to places like Amazon.

Brand Name

So much of golf is about designer technology. From Taylormade to Nikon to Bushnell, there are a lot of brands on the market that offer high-quality ranges. However, you should be wary of paying too much for brand name and old technology. Many of the older brands are still selling rangefinders at high prices from two to three years ago. You can find newer, modern models that are watches or very smell handheld pieces that you can easily slip in your pocket, and they don’t cost that much.


Most golf rangefinders are 2.6 by 2 by 1.3 inches and weigh about 12 ounces. These are handheld devices that are meant to zoom and pinpoint your target with super-fast lenses. However, there are also rangefinder watches and smaller pieces that are single copies or very slender like a phone. There are also stylish designs that feature different colors and lens technology. You should purchase a design that either run of batteries or charges, can be slipped into the pocket, has first target priority and Pinseeker technology.


you will have to grade performance on testing the golf rangefinder in person or by reading different reviews

The display should be easy to read with illuminated reticle lines for aiming. With a single press of a button, you should be able to get a clear read.


Every rangefinder will have certain features such as zoom and first priority targeting. However, the more expensive rangefinders will also have Pinseeker technology with JOLT, fast focus systems, water resistant features, battery charging design, magnification, and sharp accuracy.


You will have to grade performance on testing the golf rangefinder in person or by reading different reviews. Ideally, the rangefinder can operate with just a press of a button and locate your target quickly, whether with zoom or GPS.

Customer Rating

Many of the rangefinders online show customer reviews and ratings. You can read through the top-rated rangefinders to see which one will provide the best experience for your golf game.

Laser vs. GPS

Laser rangefinders are more precise, but they may not help you learn a course as good as a GPS rangefinder. However, there is an additional cost to using GPS due to the monthly subscription. Some golfers swear that it is handy to have a GPS, but the first priority laser handhelds have a lot more features and can really pinpoint the target.

USGA Approved

The USGA rates all rangefinders and won’t approve any that are illegal or have ways to “cheat” the system. You shouldn’t purchase any rangefinders that are not USGA approved however, it’s not a big deal for casual golfers who are not looking to go into a tournament.

In addition, you may want to look at what extra features come with your rangefinder. In some cases, it may come with a case or let you change from yards to meters.

What Are the Leading Manufacturers of Golf Rangefinders

Many of the brands who sell golf rangefinders are historical for golfers. Bushnell dates back to the 1950s and created the very first laser rangefinder for golfers. There are specific designs to manufacturers so if you prefer a single scope, watch smaller, or larger handheld, then you can pick the one that makes sense for your preference.

These seven manufacturers offer some of the highest-rated golf rangefinders available:

  • 1. Nikon
  • 2. Bushnell
  • 3. Callaway
  • 4. Garmin
  • 5. TecTecTec
  • 6. Leupold
  • 7. GolfBuddy
Nikon is well known for its high-quality products, especially for rangefinders and scopes. With dozens of rangefinders that go from $150 to over $440, the Black RangeX 4K laser rangefinder, which is mainly used for hunting and has a distance of 4,000 yards. The Coolshot Pro is their top golf rangefinder. It offers a stabilized laser rangefinder that claims to find the exact yardages for every club in your bag.
Since 1948, Bushnell has been making performance optics. It was the first producer of laser rangefinders for golf as well in the 1950s. Bushnell has all kinds of rangefinder products that do just about everything you could want and more. If you are looking for top-of-the-line, this is the brand to go with. From laser rangefinders to GPS watches, Bushnell creates scopes with double or triple lenses in some cases. The brand is most well-known for its hybrid golf rangefinder that is both laser and GPS. It has a fully integrated display that allows you to switch back and forth. The hybrid is the first of its kind to do both, providing the ultimate control over your golf game. It also has a range of 400 yards, five times magnification, PinkSeeker with JOLT technology, accurate to 1-yard guarantee, and fast focus system. It is also pre-loaded with 36,000 courses in over 30 countries.
Callaway is another known golf brand that offers a stylish set of rangefinders that are highly reviewed. The Callaway 300 laser rangefinder is their highlighted product that uses Pin Acquisition Technology (PAT), allowing you to easily pick out the flag from other objects and get the most accurate reading. It has a range of up to 300 yards as well.
Garmin offers a range of products from GPS golf watches to laser rangefinders and touchscreen devices. Garmin is one of the top rangefinders, and if you are looking for a good golf watch that can also discreetly help with your range, this would be the brand to go with.
A top brand in the gold world, TecTecTec is all about superior rangefinders with greater yard accuracy and six-times magnification. The TecTecTec PRO500 is its signature rangefinder and most reviewed. It is a little bit heavier and has two lenses. It doesn’t have slope technology, making it legal to use in most tournaments, and it has a 450-yard range.
Nothing is more high-class than the Leupold GX-4LA2 Rangefinder. It is the higher-end alternative to Bushnell rangefinders and also has the ability to switch between the legal distance-only rangefinder and scope technology using lenses. Compact and stylish, it’s a great brand to go with for yardage and target acquisition.
On the low-cost side but with lots of tech, GolfBuddy makes everything from the traditional laser rangefinder to GPS watches and smaller rangefinders that fit in the palm of your hand. These typically run under $100 to just under $200. You can start out with a GolfBuddy if you are looking to train your eye and want to get in for a low-cost alternative.

The top brands will often have lots of features that allow you to go beyond normal yardage. They may also have scope technology. You should pick the brands that are legal to use if you plan on doing any tournaments. This means that they can only measure distance, not scope or weather.

Where to Buy Golf Rangefinders Online or In-Store

In addition, there’s more of a selection online to choose from. You Buying a golf rangefinder in-store has some appeal because you can test it and play around with the settings. There may even be someone there to help you purchase a rangefinder so that you get one you know you can operate.

However, the best way to purchase a rangefinder and not pay an arm and a leg is to go online. Even if you test the model at the store, you should still purchase the rangefinder online. That is actually the best way to get recommendations and test the merchandise. Then you can look up the model online and purchase for a cheaper rate. There are a number of websites that offer brand name rangefinders for much less than you will find in a golf store.

In addition, there’s more of a selection online to choose from. You can see all of the different brand names, designs, options, and compare to get the best features. You can also look at video reviews and how-to guides to see what experienced golfers are using. However, you should pick a rangefinder that is user-friendly for beginners.

The History of Golf Rangefinders

Bushnell created the first golf rangefinder in 1955Golfing rangefinders actually come from surveying and hunting rangefinders but ranging technology has been around for many decades. The first basic rangefinder was invented by Barr and Stroud in the 1880s. There were only two types of optical rangefinders, but this includes stereoscopic rangefinders and coincidence rangefinders, which were mostly used for surveying and surveillance.

These older rangefinders had multiple lenses and prisms, which were located on both ends of the device and had an eyepiece that was located in the middle of the device. The observer could use the position of parallax to view different objects and get an accurate measurement of distance. The user could then calculate the angles created by the line of sight at both ends of the device. Most of these rangefinder devices were used in the early 20th century in World War II.

After this time, experts worked together to create a laser rangefinder after the coincidence rangefinder had too many limitations. However, they weren’t able to create the first laser rangefinder until 1965. It eventually replaced all previous rangefinders. The laser rangefinder worked much like radar technology. As radar is able to calculate distances to objects, the early laser rangefinders emitted laser beams instead of electromagnetic waves to calculate distance just like radar technology did with electromagnetic waves.

Golf rangefinders developer from this technology but were questioned for legality until very recently. Many thoughts that it was cheating to have a rangefinder. However, Bushnell created the first golf rangefinder in 1955 and continues to be the largest brand name in golfing rangefinders. At first, advanced rangefinders were not allowed based on rule 14-3. However, this ruling changed in 2006, and the USGA now allows golfers to use devices that only provide range. While this rule originally started in the USA, it eventually was adopted around the world.

Nowadays there are a number of different designs and uses for rangefinders. It can be used for hunting, military, and golfing, but it’s also shaped differently than previous versions, including watches and small handheld devices. These devices have advantages over the other, but most golfers will pick up different rangefinders or watches out of convenience or style.

Laser Rangefinders vs. GPS Rangefinders

GPS has become more popular recently as apps and data have become more available for mobile technology. Many rangefinders allow you to pre-load all course information so that you get the most accurate data to hit closer to the pin. However, what if you are trying to measure slope or different targets? This is where a laser rangefinder is superior and used by professionals to gain accuracy of any distance in any location on the green.

Traditional Rangefinder vs. GPS Golf Watch

Golf watches that use GPS technology typically only show you what’s been pre-loaded from downloaded course information. It’s difficult to use the watch in certain scenarios, but it offers the most speed when you are just looking to measure a difficult distance and what club you want to pick.

Traditional Rangefinders vs. Tracking Systems

There are devices that do a lot more than measure distance or provide a slope. These devices do both of these things, and it can also accurately predict what club to use for each pin. Some tracking systems provide everything in one, which is perfect for a golfer who is looking to train different senses. The only issue would be that some golfers may rely on these devices and not really do well even in casual play without them. That doesn’t help you much to gain clout on the golf course.

Facts and Data About Golf Rangefinders

Do you know where golf rangefinders originated? What do famous golfers say about golf rangefinders? How accurate are they? These facts and more can help you learn more about golf rangefinders before you invest in one.


  • Lasers require some light to return to the device for it to function properly. The amount of light that you need is determined by the sensitivity of the device.
  • Devices with more sensitive lasers are very experienced because they have higher sample rates.
  • If you are measuring diffuse targets, then targets with higher reflective surfaces will have a better sensor performance. Light-colored surfaces such as paper, wood, or white paint are difficult to work with from a distance.
  • The depth of field and maximum range may be limited to only 20% of what is ordinary for light-colored surfaces. Acuity also states that the performance of the sensors reacts to 85% of diffuse reflective surfaces.
  • The Professional Golfers’ Association of America doesn’t allow golfers to use rangefinders during doesn’t allow golfers to use rangefinders during competition on any of the pro tourscompetition on any of the pro tours.
  • However, players and caddies can use rangefinders on the PGA tour when they are practicing.
  • Since 2012, the PGA Tour’s handbook does not mention the use of rangefinders in the handbook and tournament regulations guide. However, rule 14-3b of the United States Golf Association bans the use of devices that can gauge or measure the distance or other conditions such as weather.
  • NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice had a brief stint in golf. However, he was disqualified when his caddy used a golf rangefinder in the 2010 BMW Charity Pro-Am tour event. Under the rules, a golfer is responsible for his caddy’s actions no matter what.
  • Some rangefinders are acceptable if they only measure distance, but only if accepted by local clubs. It is not allowed on the PGA tour at all.
  • PGA conducted a Facebook survey with pro golfers to see what they used. Most professional golfers went with GPS handheld devices or GPS watches that included rangefinders.
  • However, the majority was very thin. A large number of celebrity golfers use laser rangefinders because it provides exact yardage to everything.
  • Bushnell created the first golfing rangefinder in 1955.
Many celebrity golfers continue to the GPS watch, but the watches are still not allowed in most professional tournaments. Typically, these watches will be checked before a professional tournament starts to eliminate cheating.

Steps to Using Golf Rangefinders

Golf rangefinders have undoubtedly taken the golf game to a new level where people can find a variety of options to increase their skills and grow as a player. There are different ways to use the laser rangefinder and GPS golf rangefinder as well.

Using a Laser Rangefinder

The laser rangefinder is recommended if you want to measure the yardage to any pin or if you have obstructions that you want to shoot around.

  1. Point the laser rangefinder at the target object. You should make sure that it is clearly within your view. You have to be able to have the line of sight in order to use the laser rangefinder.
  2. You can use the reticle sight or viewport to arm the camera towards the pin.
  3. Point the rangefinder at the object you want to measure. Pull the trigger to send the laser to the object.
  4. Look at the display screen to see the readout of the distance. However, if the device isn’t accurate, it will likely relay a display error and need you to retake the photo.

Laser rangefinders offer the most precise yardage for most golfers. However, it’s not always the best if you want to learn the courses.


Using a GPS Rangefinder

Professional golfers will tell you that GPS rangefinders are all you need on the golf course, and they also have more features than the laser rangefinder. They are also a bit more intuitive. Here are the major steps to using the GPS rangefinder.

  1. The first step is to download the golf course information to the device. You should do this at home through your computer, but there are modern GPS rangefinders that allow you to do this through your phone. This is where you may have to pay a monthly subscription to access the course information.
  2. Turn on the GPS rangefinder once at the course to initiate the necessary GPS satellite feed.
  3. Select each hole before you play it next and then point the GPS rangefinder to the target hole. Most of the time the GPS will automatically read out the distance based on the course information.
  4. Check the readout to see if your device got the distance and weather correctly.

One thing to keep in mind is that rangefinders may also have other features that you can access through different buttons. You may be able to zoom in with the slider, depending on the unit as well. Owners should get familiar with the user manual in order to prevent any issues.

5 Tips to Care for Your Golf Rangefinder

Rangefinders aren’t that difficult to take care of, but you want to make sure that your lenses are clean to avoid problems with dust and dirty clouding up the lense and accuracy of the laser. In addition, you may have to maintain your rangefinder online so that it can access your credit card.
  1. Understanding the Lens of Your Golf Rangefinder
    The lens is the main way that a rangefinder is able to find and magnify a target. Without the lens, you can’t ever tell the object or the distance. Because of this, the lens has to be maintained and cleaned, especially if there is dusty conditions or if there is a scratch on the lens. You also want to pick a rangefinder that has a very high-quality lens.
  2. Keep in Case 
    You should keep your rangefinder in a case when not in use to protect the lens. If you drop the rangefinder, then you may have to repair or replace the lens. It’s also important that rangefinders stay in their cases to avoid direct light. The lens is extremely sensitive to ultra-violet rays.
  3. Cleaning the Lensyou should keep your golf rangefinder in a case when not in use to protect the lens
    If you want the most clarity, then regular cleaning is a must. Only velvet cleaning clothes with pure alcohol are recommended to clean these lenses, as they are incredibly sensitive. Otherwise, you may scratch the lens.
  4. Getting Rid of Dust
    Sand and dust can find their way into the lens and rangefinder since you are using it outside most of the time. You can clean it with the same velvet cloth and pure alcohol. However, be sure to be gentle and not rub in the sand that may scratch the lens.
  5. Avoid Getting Water or Moisture in the Lens
    While many of the rangefinders are water resistant, that doesn’t mean you can get moisture in the lens at all. If that occurs, you will have to take apart the rangefinder and remove the lens in order to clean it. The best way to prevent this is to keep it inside of the case until you need to use it. If it is especially humid, you can use a special velvet cloth to clean it. If moisture or condensation collects inside the lens, it is likely that you’ll have to wait for it to dry out or take it apart.

Rangefinders are covered under warranty for any defects or problems that arise from the device in the first 12 months typically. However, your warranty may cover more damage and for longer periods of time. With a longer warranty, you may have to pay more upfront to keep your device covered.

Accessories for Golf Rangefinder

Want to make sure that you have every strap, tether, watch, and trigger to go with your rangefinder? These accessories will make your life a little less difficult and protect your rangefinder as you walk the greens or store it for the next round. A number of designer brands make these accessories include Leupold, Swarovski, and Bushnell.

Rangefinder Tethers
The tethers attach to the golf cart or your bag so that you have easy access to your rangefinder whenever you need. Nikon makes a retractable rangefinder tether that is sturdy and attaches via a metal clip. You can also use tethers to attach smaller ranges to your keychain.

Rangefinder Cases
Most brands include a case to go with your rangefinder due to its special casing and lenses. However, there are other more refined cases that are made of leather or even more protective cases, such as the Leica Disto Hard Carrying Case. Since UV rays and hard impacts can damage rangefinder lenses pretty easily, cases are important to keeping your rangefinder safe and dust-free. If you plan to be out in the field frequently, then it’s important to have a case that you can carry the rangefinder in to avoid any dirt or moisture getting into the lenses.

Laser Glasses
Laser glasses are helpful for seeing range and targets with your rangefinder. They are especially useful on bright sunny days when there is a ton of glare. You can typically buy these for under $50.

Straps and Holsters
If you want to carry the rangefinder on your waist or arm, you can turn a rangefinder into an arm strap.

Target Plates
If you want a precise measurement, you can use target plates to measure distances and angles that are especially difficult to master. It can be fixed to corners and edges as well.

Some of these accessories are overkill and won’t really improve your game much. However, the tethers and holsters are pretty fun to use and keep your rangefinder protected as you move around the green.

10 FAQs About Golf Rangefinder

These are some common questions asked by casual and experienced golfers in reference to how to use rangefinders.

Can you use golf rangefinders in tournaments?

Can you use golf rangefinders in tournaments?

In some cases, competitions will allow you to use certain rangefinders. However, there is currently a rangefinder ban on the PGA tour specifically.

Are golf rangefinders legal?

Are golf rangefinders legal?

The USGA also made a decision that allowed rangefinders that did not have any capabilities beyond measuring distance, meaning that it cannot measure wind speed, humidity, reading a green, or choosing a club. You can read the rules entirely in the USGA handbook under Rule 14-3 “Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment.” The PGA tour once banned Jerry Rice for his caddy’s use of a rangefinder. While the PGA tour tried out a test with distance measuring distances, it still does not allow these devices on the tour.

Are laser rangefinders better than GPS rangefinders?

Are laser rangefinders better than GPS rangefinders?

Laser rangefinders are a bit different than GPS rangefinders and have better distance measuring capabilities than in certain GPS models. This is because lasers allow golfers to measure much longer distances. Laser rangefinders are also more precise. In some cases, they can get down to one yard. GPS rangefinders are known for being a little bit more expensive long-term because you have to subscribe to get course information. However, some devices are pre-loaded with courses, such as the new hybrid from Bushnell. This rangefinder can also switch between GPS and laser rangefinders.

Do professional golfers still use rangefinders?

Do professional golfers still use rangefinders?

Yes, most professional golfers have multiple rangefinders and golf scopes. They may have a GPS watch that lets them see different distances on the fly, and then there are also handheld laser rangefinders that they can use to measure longer distances or more difficult shots.

How many strokes can golf rangefinders take off?

How many strokes can golf rangefinders take off?

Most golfers say that they can shave off at least 3 strokes from their game by using a rangefinder. This is because you can accurately predict the distance from your point to the target.

What parts make up a golf rangefinder?

What parts make up a golf rangefinder?

Rangefinders have lenses, a casing, trigger button, laser emitter, and eyecup. The lens is the most important part as it helps direct the laser and magnify your targets. The trigger button helps to magnify, turn on, and turn off the rangefinder. The laser emitter sends out a laser to find a target and track the distance before sending back to the golfer.

What comes with a golf rangefinder?

What comes with a golf rangefinder?

Typically, rangefinder’s come with a case and a strap in some cases. It depends on the brand and budget. There may also be an eyecup or protective lid that can protect the lens in case of moisture or scratches.

What should I do if I see an error on my rangefinder?

What should I do if I see an error on my rangefinder?

There are some errors that are more commonplace than others. For example, if the laser is unable to see the target due to lack of light, then it may present an error code. There may also be problems if the target is too far away, which is why you should always look at the distance in yardage that your device can go at maximum. In most cases, that’s about 300 yards.

What batteries go in a golf rangefinder?

What batteries go in a golf rangefinder?

From batteries to lithium-ion battery charging, some rangefinders have long-lasting capabilities that allow you to continuously use it for days on end. However, most will take double AA or triple AAA batteries.

If golf rangefinder stops measuring longer distances, what can I do?

If golf rangefinder stops measuring longer distances, what can I do?

In some cases, it could simply be a problem of light outside, or it could be that your rangefinder has gone dead.

Alternatives to Golf Rangefinders

golf Trackers devices are typically handheld and look like a smartphoneWhen you think of a traditional golf rangefinder, it’s likely that the laser rangefinder handheld comes to mind. These devices are a combination of binoculars, cameras, and laser technology that allow you to easily point and shoot at the pin.

However, there are plenty of devices out there that allow you to pinpoint GPS, track weather, and go beyond just distance measuring. Some of these devices are also better for choosing a club if that’s what you need more help with.

These devices are typically great to go along with a good rangefinder that you can use for any course or competitive play, especially if you are training and want to get more accurate with your senses.

Golf Trackers

These devices are typically handheld and look like a smartphone. They have detailed LED displays and can triangulate all kinds of shots on the greens. They also can provide more accurate readouts for club selection, wind, terrain, and slope. Golf trackers are probably the closest thing to a rangefinder and may even be described as one, but they look completely different than a handheld laser rangefinder that has multiple lenses and magnification levels.

Some examples of these devices can be found from GolfBuddy, Voice Caddie, Arccos Golf Performance Tracking System, and PIQ Mobitee Wearable Golf Sports Tracker.

Swing Analyzer

Technology has been advanced quite a bit in helping with your club selection and swing. If you find that distance is easy to master but you still have trouble with the right clubs, then this might be the more accurate tool to have on your belt. It provides swing and stroke sensors that help you capture metrics as you swing. Some rangefinders actually have swing analysis built-in, but you can save some money by buying it separately.

Some of the top names in swing analysis include Blast Motion Swing and Stroke Analyzer, Swingbyte 2 Golf Training Device, Zepp Golf 3D Swing Analyzer, and Garmin TruSwing Golf Club Sensor.

Game Analysis Tracking Systems

If you want more help with your stroke analysis while also getting precise distance on greens, landing zones, and hazards, then this is the right system for you. It basically combines everything you need but from your club. It also allows you to compete live with friends and other players online. You can record strokes and games every time you play. There are only a few devices that currently provide this type of gameplay to players. One is called the Game Golf Live Tracking System. While the other is the GolfPad TAGS Real-Time Golf Tracking and Game Analysis system.

GolfPad works a little bit different because it uses Android phone apps to help you track and analyze your game. You can easily make game decisions based on your performance. It lets you see how far you hit with each club and get recommendations for the next club to use at each pin.

Smart Watch Apps

If you have a smart watch, you can install some applications that have pre-loaded course information and swing analysis help. However, you should check reviews for any application that you download on your watch, as they are typically not that accurate or don’t have updated courses for every course that you might play. Mainly these can be used for course strategy.

Golf Simulators

There are a few pieces of tech out there that allow you to simulate the golf experience wherever you are and track club swings based on data inputs. These are great for office use and teach you about different ways to hit shots on the course when you’re not on the greens. It’s a good gift for a golfer who loves the greens but spends a lot of time in meetings.

What’s Next: Using Golf Rangefinders

some golfers don’t like to use golf rangefinders because there is a bit of a learning curveIn conclusion, golf rangefinders provide an awesome way to train your senses, gain confidence on the greens, and up your game with different clubs. You can feel better about taking different shots or learn courses easily, allowing you to put together course strategies that are more serious.

While some golfers don’t like to use rangefinders because there is a bit of a learning curve, you can typically pick one up and learn to use it within one session of gameplay. It’s all about accuracy, so you should test your golf rangefinder as much as possible during your first-time use.

More accurate gameplay gives you more time to explore swing and stroke perfection as well. If you can not worry about measuring distance, the only thing you can do is swinging and getting better at the wheel.

Citations rangefinder laser-rangefinder-buyers guide

1 Stern2 Sterne3 Sterne4 Sterne5 Sterne (984 Ratings. Average: 4.70 von 5)