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Rangefinders For Golf: Are They Worth It?

OK, folks, I’m going to get right to the point:

Anytime the word “golf” is attached to something, expect to pay more.

Seriously.  Take rangefinders, for example.

We all know what rangefinders do; you point it at something, push a button, and it spits a yardage at you.  From there, you’ll have a pretty good idea what club to pull to get the ball to the green.

Now I’m gonna ask, is there a Cabella’s, BassPro, or something like that near you?  A Wal-Mart or Meijer’s (equivalent to Wal-Mart, for those not from the northern parts of the US)?

Let me back up a second.  Check these prices out, from Dick’s sporting goods (not an affiliate link, FYI):

rangefinders

$500 for this?!  FML…

OK, it’s not doom-and-gloom.  Here’s a few more… acceptable(?) options:

rangefinders

A little better…

Welp, $200 is better than $500.  But can’t we do better?

In terms of golf-specific rangefinders, maybe.  TecTecTec has their VPRO500 for $149.99 on Amazon (this one and the next two are affiliate links #sorrynotsorry).  It has what they call “Pinsensor”, and it comes with a free battery!  Nikon, a trusted name in all things optics, has their Aculon AL11 rangefinder for a little more, at $169.95 if you buy it at Amazon.  Bushnell has a more wallet-friendly model, the Simmons Volt 600, for $149.99 (again, available at Amazon).

Not bad, as far as golf-specific models go.  But again, can we do better?

If you have a Cabella’s (another non-affiliate link) near you, there’s three really good, affordable, options:

rangefinders

$150 < $500

All three of these rangefinders are just as capable of telling you how far you are from the green, but without the word “golf” attached to it, it won’t cost you as much.

Of course, if you don’t have a Cabella’s, or just don’t like going outside with all those humans, you can shop the Green Lantern Golf Store for a few different models of rangefinders!

Sure, some of the fancy golf ones may do slope for you.

“Wait- what’s ‘slope’?”, you ask?

Slope, when it comes to rangefinders- or yardages in general on the course for that matter- is what happens to a given distance during an elevation change.

In Layman’s Terms, going uphill adds yards, going downhill takes away yards.

A good Rule of Thumb I learned years back is it’s a 1:1 ratio.  What that means is, if you’re 150 yards from the center of the green, and said green’s elevated 10 yards, that’s actually a 160-yard shot.

Instead of a 6 iron, you might want to consider the five.

Conversely, if you’re 150 yards from the hole and it’s 10 yards down, that’s actually a yardage of 140, so you might want to consider the 7 iron.

Your yardages may vary, obviously, so learn what your carry distances are!

Unfortunately, if you’re playing in a sanctioned event- or are playing with a Rules Nazi- having the rangefinder read slope for you is illegal to use in tournament play.

Just remember that golf isn’t a game of perfect; it’s about managing the bad shots/outcomes.  You don’t need a golf-specific rangfinder to give you perfect yardages.  Get what you can afford and go out and play.

About the Author

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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