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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

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SkyCaddie SG5

OVERALL RATING: 85. GRADE: B. SkyCaddie bills itself as “the #1 rangefinder in golf,” and its polished interface and functionality made this claim credible in the past. We’re not so sure it’s as clear cut from here on out. The SG5 features an unmatched number of user settings to controls views on the device, which is a big plus. We’ve revisited this review in connection with the latest software update for the SG5, which now allows the user to record scores and statistics, view overhead hole graphics and see major green contours and false fronts. But the new features are a bit cumbersome and difficult to use, leaving us feeling that they were stitched into the SG5’s user interface in a patchwork manner. Granted, SkyCaddie provides the caveat that these new features are a “beta” release, but given that SkyCaddie has already released the new SkyCaddie SGX, the notion that they will spend much time in properly integrating these features into the SG5 may be an unrealistic expectation.

Our original impression was that while the SG5 does a nice job of delivering basic yardages, it didn’t have enough pizzazz to ascend into our upper echelon of golf GPS devices. After testing the latest software update, we still aren’t comfortable giving the SG5 a bump up in score/grade, so we kept it where it was – the new features just don’t have the fit and finish that we expect from SkyCaddie. Note that with the introduction of the SkyCaddie SGX, the retail price of the SG5 has been reduced to under $300, and it is no longer the highest priced device in our analysis of the three-year total cost of ownership (which includes required annual subscription fees or per course download fees). But it’s still squarely in the middle of the pack in terms of pricing, which makes it hard to promote as a value purchase.

SCORE
85
GRADE
B
Setup/Syncing
88
Course Availability
98
Ease of Use
82
Course Details
92
Features
90
Accuracy
94
Cost/Value
85

Pros:

  • Bright and easy to read color screen
  • Easy navigation
  • High level of user customization

Cons:

  • Highest annual fee
  • Heaviest and one of the most bulky units tested
  • Can’t add targets to existing courses

Retail price: $399.95


88 / B+

SETUP
The Good: Detailed step-by-step instructions via their new course management software make setup a snap. SkyCaddie has been doing this longer than most of its competitors, and it shows in their customer support materials. We also appreciated having a light that indicates when the unit has finished charging.
The Bad: Not much – the entire process is well laid out and is simple for even the non-computer savvy. While it would have been nice not to have the additional step of moving courses to a “Favorites” folder, this is necessitated by the maximum of 15 courses (10 SkyCaddie-mapped courses and 5 user-mapped courses) that can be stored on the device. The process of moving to the latest software from an older SG5 produced serious complications both in syncing and using the device on the course, and required multiple support calls to fix (although a nice feature is that if you use the online support and install the support software, the technician then has the ability to control your computer remotely to help diagnose the problem).

Details:

  • Required steps. Setting up the SkyCaddie SG5 is similar to most other devices we tested, and involves:
    • registering on their web site to create an account;
    • choosing and purchasing a membership plan (ranging in price from $29.95 to $59.95);
    • installing course management software (CaddieSync) on your computer;
    • using CaddieSync to search for and select the courses you want to load to the SkyCaddie and adding them to your “favorites” (CaddieSync will indicate what features are available for each course – for example, the new HoleVue and Intellisync Pro maps are only available for a subset of the courses within SkyCaddie’s database); and
    • connecting the SkyCaddie to the computer via a USB cable and “syncing” the courses to the device.
  • Time required for setup. The entire set-up process took about 15 minutes in total. This included 5 minutes to download the course management software, install and then restart to finish the installation. It took us another 4 minutes to create an account online and launch the software. Selecting a membership plan, and thereafter searching for and transferring 10 courses to the SG5 took another 6 minutes. SkyCaddie will not warn you if you select more than 10 courses, so if you do so you may accidentally be left without the course you need.

What’s in the Box: The SkyCaddie SG5 comes with:

  • USB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Belt clip
  • SkyCaddie SG5 User Guide
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Quick Setup Overview
  • Installation CD (note that Mac users will need to download the software via the SkyCaddie website as the included CD is not Mac-compatible)

Required Downloads: Mac users must download:

  • CaddieSync for Mac course management software

The SkyCaddie SG5 requires users to sync their device to view old scorecards and statistics. This transfers your scores to your ClubSG account (free with annual membership plans), and you can then view your scorecards and statistics online.


98 / A+

COURSE AVAILABILITY
Critical Golf Test: We originally thought that the SkyCaddie SG5 had 100% coverage in our course coverage test, but re-visiting the database showed that a couple of the courses were only user-mapped, which we don’t count. Still, 98% ain’t bad, and it goes without saying that SkyCaddie’s coverage is exceptional across all regions of the United States and all course types. Well done, SkyCaddie!
Be forewarned if you are looking at the SG5 because of the availability of the new HoleVue and Intelligreen Pro features. Skycaddie only scored 42% in our analysis of courses covered with both of those maps. We expect SkyCaddie to make a strong push to increase this coverage, as those features are critical as they try to differentiate the SkyCaddie SGX from its competitors.
Manufacturer’s Claims: SkyCaddie claims to have nearly 30,000 courses available in its course database, placing it amongst the top of devices tested.


82 / B-

EASE OF USE

The Good: The device has an intuitive interface for the vast majority of functionality. The SkyCaddie SG5 is also smart enough to stop showing you the distance to a target once you have proceeded past that target.

The Bad: The SkyCaddie SG5 is the heaviest device in our test, and feels rather bulky in the pocket during play. Finding the screen to enter scores and statistics can be a mystery if you are not using the setting to auto-prompt you for this information, or if you pass by the scoring screen and move to the next hole before entering information.

Details:

  • Buttons. The device features a scroll pad (which you would expect to be able to depress, but rather only lets you navigate menus up and down and position the crosshair when in green view – actually selecting any option must be done with the buttons), two soft keys, and buttons for power, mark shot, information, menu, and hole selection.
  • Screen. Although the SkyCaddie SG5 screen is only average sized, it is bright and clear and makes good use of the accompanying graphics. There was an unusual amount of scratching and scuffing to the screen through normal use, much more so than other golf GPS devices. While this had nothing more than a cosmetic impact, it was still odd to see on a high-end unit.
  • Form Factor. As mentioned above, the device comes in at 5.5 ounces, making it the heaviest device in our comparison. SkyCaddie aficionados can take heart that the SG5 is actually lighter than its older sister device, the SkyCaddie SG3, but new users may still find the SG5 a larger device than they desire.
  • Starting a Round. The SkyCaddie lists all the courses loaded onto your device in order of distance to your location so you can quickly select your course. After selecting the course, the user must also select the hole on which to start the round.

92 / A-

COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING

The Good: Solid detail is provided on most courses, including distances to the end of the fairway on doglegs (a level of detail that few devices provide). The SkyCaddie SG5 has up to an amazing 40 points mapped per hole (although we rarely saw more than 12 points actually mapped). An excellent graphic of the green rotates based on the user’s position and provides precise data on the distances to the edges of the green closest and farthest from the user (which is far more useful to those of us who occasionally spray the ball off the fairway than just data to the points of the green closest and farthest from the tee box). The SG5 is now able to provide full hole graphic images (HoleVue) and detailed green views, including major contours and false fronts (Intelligreen Pro), although these are only available on a subset of the courses in SkyCaddie’s database.

The Bad: The features added in the latest software update (HoleVue and Intelligreen Pro) seem to have been stitched into the SG5’s user interface with some duct tape and twisty ties. When using HoleVue (full graphic images of the shape of the hole), you must endure what seems like an interminable wait each time you switch to this view, or zoom in or out, as the SG5 actually draws or redraws the entire image before your eyes (first cart paths, then tree shadows, trees, fairway, bunkers and at last the green). Note that HoleVue on the SG5 only provides an overhead image to give you a sense of the shape of the hole and the general position of hazards – you cannot click on the image to get a distance to a specific point or the distance from that point to the hole.

Similary, when using Intelligreen Pro to move the location of the flagstick, the SG5 keeps trying to redraw the entire green, and as a result, the image will flash so quickly that it is essentially blank, obscuring the lines that indicate contours or tier. So if you are trying to determine a distance to a particular point on the green, you will need to remember the approximate location, adjust the crosshair, wait for it to redraw the contours, and then adjust again.

Hole View

Click for device images

Details:

  • Views. There are a number of different views available on the SG5 – four different target views (standard, graphical, expanded and big number), a simplified view with only the distance to the center of the green only, a green-only view, and for select courses, new “safe route” (QuickVue) and full hole (HoleVue) views, and an enhanced green view showing green contours (Intelligreen Pro). Users can cycle quickly among the target views, and the Skycaddie SG5 even goes further to allow users to customize the rotation and remove views they don’t use.
    • Standard target view – This view always shows the distance to the center of the green and also shows distances to the next three targets that the user will approach. The targets are identified solely through text (i.e. BkrLtCy would appear indicating the distance to carry the left bunker). Users can choose to have the SG5 automatically move through the targets as they or passed, or to manually scroll through the list.
    • Graphical target view – Similar to the standard target view, the graphical target view always shows the distance to the center of the green plus the three targets that will be next encountered, but adds small graphic representations of the green and target. These graphics look a bit hokey, but help clarify exactly what the indicated target actually is (i.e. in the example given above for BkrLtCy, there will be a small graphic of a bunker, with a line across the top indicating that it is the carry distance).
    • Expanded target view – Displays more detail on any target selected from the standard or graphical target views, showing in larger print the distance to that target with the accompanying graphic, and additional provides the distance from that target to the center of the green. This is great information for players who want to plan one shot ahead.
    • Big number target view – Displays in a very large font the distance to a target selected from the standard or graphical target views, with a graphic of the target and the target descriptor (ie BunkerLt). Users can cycle through different targets while remaining on this view.
    • Safe route view (not yet available on all courses) – A feature we tried but don’t imagine using on a regular basis, this view (QuickVue) displays a 3D-like view of the hole to indicate the safest route of play. With fairway and obstacles all fairly blocky, we found it easier to spend our time in one of the other views.
    • Hole view (not yet available on all courses) – With the latest software update, SkyCaddie has added an impressively detailed graphic hole view (HoleVue), down to the position of cart paths (add about 100 yards to your drive by aiming at these). HoleVue offer up to three levels of zoom. These images do not have an indicator for player position, target distances, nor do they rotate based on player position. The only distance displayed is to the center of the green.
    • Green view – SkyCaddie’s “Intelligreen” shows a map of the green, along with the distance to the near, center and far points of the green (and dots on the green map to indicate the location of those near, center and far points). Our reviewers loved that the green shape and distances are relative to where the user is on the course, which provides the most relevant data. Using the movable crosshairs, users can also select any point on the green to find the distance to that point. With the latest software update (Intelligreen Pro), SkyCaddie is adding major contours, tiers, false fronts and mounts to the green view. Absolutely fantastic detail. Keep in mind this level of detail is still in development, and may not be available on the courses you play.
  • Hole Information. The hole number, par and hole handicap are shown when entering the hole and also are readily accessible by pressing the dedicated “info” button.
  • Custom Mapping. As mentioned above, the SkyCaddie SG5 has an unusual approach to custom mapping – limiting users to mapping an entire course and saving it, but not allowing users to edit the existing maps created by SkyCaddie. Unlike some other golf GPS devices, when mapping an entire course with the SG5, the only points that can be saved are for the front, middle and back of the green (there is no ability to map hazards and other targets).

Suggestion Box: We were disappointed to see that the course detail for one resort course that hosts a PGA tournament omits key targets, and had older markings for a bunker configuration that had been renovated over two years ago. We have also seen, though rarely, “layup” points marked with no reference as to the layup distance (or why the location was chosen).


90 / A-

FEATURES

The Good: The SkyCaddie SG5 provides most of the general features you would expect to have in a golf GPS device, and has an unmatched number of user-adjustable settings. Now with the ability to track scores and statistics, the SG5 has the majority of features users need.

The Bad: The look and feel of the scorecard isn’t as polished as on the latest devices, but it gets the job done.

Details:

  • Shot Tracking. The device has a nice shot tracking interface for measuring the distance of a user’s shots.
  • Scores and Statistics. With the new software release SkyCaddie moves from the world of pencil and paper scoring to a digital scorecard. This only tracks the basics, including score, putts and fairways hit or missed left/right (all only for one player) – the SG5 does not track greens in regulation, sand saves, penalty shots, et al. Users can select if they want to be prompted at the end of each hole to enter this information. When viewing the scorecard, you can cycle between scorecard views containing score, over/under, and score relative to your handicap for each hole, along with running totals for the first and second nine.
  • CaddieSync and ClubSG (Still under development). Up to 10 rounds can be saved on the SG5, and only the scorecard for the round underway can be viewed. Upon syncing, the scorecard(s) get erased from the device, and are saved to CaddieSync and for web-based viewing on SkyCaddie’s “ClubSG” site. ClubSG is still working out a number of kinks, and we found ourselves with error messages and unable to view scorecards, although we could still see hole scores and +/- relative to par.
  • Auto-Advance. The device will automatically advance to the next hole, or users can elect to manually advance between holes.
  • Preferences. SkyCaddie provides a wealth of settings that can be adjusted on the SG5, including whether to show detailed green targets, whether the front or the center of the green is the green reference distance, the distance at which the device will automatically switch to the green view, the distance at which the device will no longer show a target, power save functions (auto power off and backlight), and even the color theme.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


94 / A

ACCURACY

Device Accuracy: We experienced no distance accuracy issues in our tests, with all distances within the acceptable range of plus or minus 4 yards.

Mapping Accuracy: We tested the SkyCaddie SG5 on a variety of courses and had no problems with the accuracy of the course mapping either. Distances readings are available at any distance from a target or the green (some devices stop showing readings within a certain number of yards of a target or the green), thus we were able to develop confidence in the SkyCaddie SG5’s displayed distances even at short range.


85 / B

COST/VALUE
Retail Price: With the introduction of the SkyCaddie SGX, the SG5 now retails for a mere $299.95, making it the lowest priced full-featured device tested. For those who already own an SG5, the software updates are available for $20.
Fees for Access to Course Database: SkyCaddie owners must choose one of three membership plans to access the course database, which are priced at $29.95/year for unlimited courses in one state (each additional state costing $10/year), $49.95/year for unlimited courses in the United States, and $59.95/year for unlimited courses worldwide.

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: Our test of the three-year total cost of ownership, which makes assumptions on the number of new courses a user will want to access each year, found the SkyCaddie SG5 to be about average at $419.80.

Value: The SkyCaddie SG5 is a very good device with solid accuracy and user settings, and a new lower price. But gadget freaks will find newer and shinier devices elsewhere, and the SG5 isn’t really priced low enough to qualify as a value purchase.


Bushnell Tour V2

OVERALL RATING: 85. GRADE: B. The Bushnell Tour V2 comes from the best-known family of golf laser rangefinders in the U.S. It features vertically mounted optics and thus is typically held with one hand (as opposed to horizontally mounted optics that are more like binoculars). The Tour V2 isn’t the lightest or smallest of the vertical laser rangefinders, but it offers solid performance in a compact package. A nice shape and tacky grips make the Tour V2 comfortable to hold, and since it’s waterproof, you can use it in the rain all you like (we will be inside at the bar).

The Tour V2 graded out in the middle of the pack in our comparison of basic laser rangefinders (those that do not provide slope-adjusted distances). This doesn’t mean that it isn’t a quality device – buyers of the Bushnell Tour V2 won’t be disappointed with what they get – but the competition seems to have snuck up and introduced even better devices on the market.

SCORE
85
GRADE
B
Ease of Use
95
Features
80
Obtaining Readings
86
Cost/Value
88

Pros

  • Competitive price point
  • Comfortable form and feel

Cons

  • Limited feature set
  • Middle-of-the-road performance

Retail price: $349.99
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Bushnell Tour v3
Amazon.com: Check price now

Editor’s note: We did not test the Bushnell Tour V2 Slope Edition, which adds slope-adjusted distances. The Tour V2 Slope Edition is the same size and weight as the Tour V2, and has a feature set roughly equivalent to the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition that we tested.


95 / A

EASE OF USE

Though the Bushnell Tour V2 is about average in size and weight among vertical rangefinders, the differences between these devices are pretty insignificant (mere fractions of an inch in size and fractions of an ounce in weight). Our reviewers liked the form and feel of the Tour V2 in the hand, from the shape to the tacky grips on the top and bottom of the device. The Tour V2 can be held with either one or two hands – we found ourselves generally holding with one hand and steadying with the other. Reviewers liked the carry pouch, which holds the device snugly and securely even when the lid is not shut. The lid can be pressed shut with a magnetic latch, which allows quick access (and is what we most often used), or it can be zipped shut for greater security.

The strength of the Tour V2 is its clear and easy-to-read information display. The distance read-out appears in the center of the viewfinder directly below the aiming circle, and both the “mode” and “yards/meters” indicators are positioned in the lower portion of the viewfinder. Our reviewers applauded the design subtlety of positioning the black LCD distance read-out in the bottom portion of the viewfinder, where it is easy to read against the lighter colored background of the putting green, fairway or rough (the “second cut”, if you’re playing at Augusta). Contrast that with other laser rangefinders, which position the black LCD distance read-out in the top portion of the viewfinder against the typically dark background of trees or the like, and are consequently more difficult to read.

The Tour V2 features 5x magnification, and an adjustable eyepiece (+/- 2 diopter adjustment) for focusing the viewfinder. In our opinion 5x magnification gets the job done – any less magnification and obtaining target readings from over 200 yards becomes pretty difficult.

Targeting the flagstick or other objects with the aiming circle was simple – crosshairs appear around the circle when the laser is fired. There is no option to change the crosshair type.

As with virtually all laser rangefinders, there are only two buttons on the device, and this is nearly as simple as it gets. The power/laser button, located on the top of the Tour V2, is used to turn the device on/off, as well as to fire the laser to acquire target distances. The mode button, on the left side of the device, will toggle between “automatic scan” and “PinSeeker” modes (see below for discussion of these modes) if the button is pressed quickly, or swap between yards and meters as the standard unit of measurement if the button is held for several seconds. When powered off, the device will retain the previously selected mode.

There is no battery meter (Bushnell states that a fully charged 3 volt battery is estimated to last for 5,000 distance readings), but a low battery indicator light will appear in the viewfinder when the battery should be replaced (which Bushnell recommends once every 12 months). To prevent draining the battery if the button is accidentally held down for long periods, the laser can only be fired for a maximum of 10 seconds before it needs to be re-fired. Measurements are displayed for 30 seconds after readings are taken.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder ease of use.


80 / B-

FEATURES

The Bushnell Tour V2 features two modes – automatic scan and PinSeeker. Changing modes is as simple as briefly pressing the mode button.

Automatic scan mode

Automatic scan mode allows the user to pan across the course and receive updated distances to different targets so long as the user keeps the power/laser button depressed. In automatic scan mode, the user may have more difficulty obtaining readings to targets with other objects close behind (such as a flagstick with trees behind it). Experienced users, however, still preferred to keep the Tour V2 in automatic scan mode virtually the entire time during play, and would aim at either the flag or, if possible, the base of the flagstick in the situation described above. It is easier, not surprisingly, to pick out a flag that is extended in the breeze than the flagstick itself.

PinSeeker mode

PinSeeker mode is meant to make life easy for the user in those situations where the target has other objects close behind it, like a flagstick with trees behind it (note that despite its name, PinSeeker mode can actually be used to determine distances to targets other than a flagstick). PinSeeker mode is designed to identify when there are multiple objects being picked up within the crosshairs and to ignore the background targets even though they may be larger and have stronger signal strength. The Tour V2 displays a small icon of a flagstick in the lower left of the display when the user engages PinSeeker mode. Once the device has located the closest of the targets in the area of the aiming circle, it will display a circle around the flagstick icon and show the distance to the closest object. In most cases, this means that the Tour V2 has properly “locked on” to the pin and is properly ignoring the trees behind it.

While it sounds like the perfect solution to targeting flagsticks, PinSeeker mode isn’t flawless. It is possible for the Tour V2 to completely “miss” the desired target and lock on to an object in the background while still displaying a circle surrounding the flagstick icon, particularly at long distances. Likewise, it may display the correct yardage while not displaying the circle. If there is any doubt, users will likely want to fire multiple times if there is any question of the correct yardage.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder features.


86 / B

OBTAINING DISTANCE READINGS

Bushnell claims that under optimal conditions, the Tour V2 is accurate at up to 300/700/1,000 yards for flagsticks, trees and reflective objects, respectively.

Ease of Locking on a Target:

  • At 150 yards and less, the Tour V2 obtained distances quickly, as did all of its competitors
  • Beginning at about 200 yards, we would experience instances in which the Tour V2 would lock in on trees in the background instead of the flagstick – this is rare at 200 yards, but increases at greater distances
  • At 225 yards, it becomes difficult to use PinSeeker mode, and there starts to be just a slight delay as the device locks in on the correct distance
  • At 250 yards, we found it difficult to obtain readings to a flagstick with the Tour V2, and this is where other devices such as the Leupold GX-I started to pull ahead.
  • At distances beyond 275 yards, we found it difficult if not impossible to obtain flagstick readings under challenging conditions (dark flags with trees immediately behind the green)

Speed Test:

The Bushnell Tour V2 was not particularly quick in our speed test for taking distance readings from multiple targets.

  • Panning Mode: When we tested the Tour V2 in Automatic Scan mode against other devices in their “panning” modes, the Tour V2 finished in the group at the back of the pack.
  • Pin-Locating Mode: When we tested the Tour V2 in PinSeeker mode against other devices in their “pin-locating” modes (and particularly against the Callaway LR1200 and Leupold GX-I), the Tour V2 again lagged the field.
  • Using Both Modes: When we tested utilizing both modes together (which included pushing the buttons to cycle between modes), the Tour V2 performed at about the median among the devices tested with multiple modes.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison for Ease of Obtaining Distance Readings.


88 / B+

COST/VALUE

The Bushnell Tour V2 comes at a reasonable $349.99, which makes it one of the least expensive laser rangefinders in its class (i.e. those that do not provide slope-adjusted distances).

While the Tour V2 is the least expensive of the Bushnell devices in our test, and has an excellent 2-year warranty, its middle-of-the-road performance drove down our value rating. It’s like dinner at the Cheesecake Factory – the food is pretty good, but not truly exceptional. The portions are ginormous. But in the end, you still paid a lot for a single meal, which always leaves you with the sneaking suspicion that you probably could have gotten a much better value elsewhere.

Those appreciating the compact size and reasonable price of the Bushnell Tour V2 will likely stack it up against the Leupold GX-I. The difference-maker may be how much you value the Bushnell brand name.


Opti-Logic InSight GL

And now for something completely different…Least known of the laser companies and lacking the distribution of the heavy hitters, Opti-Logic offers the Opti-Logic Insight GL laser rangefinder, built in the good ol’ U-S-of-A.

SCORE
82
GRADE
B-
Ease of Use
81
Features
93
Obtaining Readings
72
Cost/Value
91

The Opti-Logic Insight GL is a horizontally-oriented rangefinder (similar to traditional binoculars), featuring a standard mode and a “pin-locating” mode.

While the Opti-Logic Insight GL is easy to hold and pinpointing targets is intuitive using the distinctive “red dot”, we found that the device’s interface and ability to target objects at a distance couldn’t keep up with the competition. That being said, as the least expensive laser rangefinder tested and with respectable, if not outstanding, performance, the Opti-Logic GL offers a reasonable value for those who are looking to save some dollars and don’t require readings to the flagstick from the longest distances.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Easy to aim

Cons:

  • No magnification in viewfinder
  • Slow to register distance readings

Retail: $329.95
Amazon.com: Check price now


81 / B-

EASE OF USE

The Opti-Logic InSight GL is lighter than the other horizontally-oriented laser rangefinder in our test, the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition, and a bit smaller as well. The shell is smooth plastic, and while the device doesn’t sport a rubber or tacky gripping surface, it is easy to hold. The Opti-Logic comes with a basic carry pouch, which has a latch to secure its lid and a clip to attach to a user’s bag or cart. It’s nothing flashy, but it does the job.

The viewfinder is located on the left side of the device. Unlike other laser rangefinders, the Opti-Logic features a red aiming dot in the viewfinder that allows you to easily pinpoint targets (think of all the action movies you’ve seen in which a sniper puts a red dot on the target’s forehead, and you’ll get the idea). The laser is not fired until after the device’s single button is released (which we found somewhat counterintuitive). The distance read-out is displayed in red in the lower right corner of the viewfinder, and is clear and easy to read against any background, an advantage when targeting against dark backgrounds such as groves of trees.

The Opti-Logic also has an external display, just to the right of the viewfinder. The display is primarily used to show the user the selected mode and settings, though it will provide distance readings as well. We’re not sure why a user would want to fire the laser, then pull the device away from their eyes to look down for the distance, but you can do so if you’d like.

In keeping with doing things differently, the Opti-Logic has only one button. This button, located on the top on the rangefinder, is used to turn the device on/off, fire the laser, and switch between modes.

The Opti-Logic Insight GL is factory pre-programmed to use either yards or meters, so the measured units are not adjustable (reinforcing the good old American disdain for the metric system!). Additionally, unlike on all other devices, there is no adjustment to focus the display.

The largest drawback of the Opti-Logic Insight GL is the lack of any magnification within the viewfinder. While the red dot technology helps pick out targets at most ranges, when longer distances (generally 225 yards or more) are combined with darker targets (say, a blue flag against a grove of trees), it can be exceedingly difficult for the user to determine whether the red dot has been placed correctly. You may be close, but the lack of certainty can be disconcerting, and chances are that you will be left wishing you had a device with magnification.

The Opti-Logic Insight GL takes one 9-volt battery, good for an estimated 1,000 readings. When the battery needs replacing, a low battery symbol appears.

Suggestion Box: Magnification! As much as possible, please! All other rangefinders in our test provide a minimum of 5x magnification, and adding that to the Opti-Logic would be a huge help in targeting flagsticks and other objects. As it is, this is the largest negative of the device, and one that for most users will be the deal-breaker. Oh, and the battery cover is just not that easy to get open… there’s a little bit of a leap of faith that pushing hard on the plastic tab won’t break it. Minor, but when you compare devices side by side, every little bit matters.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder ease of use.


93 / A-

FEATURES

The Opti-Logic InSight GL features two modes: Line-of-Sight and PinPoint. Each mode also offers four different setting options: standard, reflective (for use on a course with flag mounted reflectors), standard with chirp (the device will make an audible “chirp” sound after the distance is acquired), and reflective with chirp.

Line-of-Sight mode

The mode most often used during play by our reviewers, Line-of-Sight mode is simple point-and-shoot for the distance. The user pushes the button, places the red dot seen in the viewfinder on the target, and then releases the button (which fires the laser) and waits for the dot to disappear and a distance to be provided (which is displayed on both the internal viewfinder and the external display). If the “chirp” setting is enabled, the device will make an audible “chirp” when it provides the distance. While the Opti-Logic Insight GL does not provide the “panning” mode offered by all other laser rangefinders tested, the distance readings are provided quickly enough that this turned out to not be as great an issue as we originally feared. For our reviewers who generally did not care for the “panning” mode on other devices, this was a complete non-issue.

PinPoint Technology mode

PinPoint Technology is Opti-Logic’s version of a “pin-locating” mode, and enables the device to focus on the highlighted target and ignore the background, such as trees or other objects (similar to Bushnell’s “PinSeeker” mode). There is no indication in the viewfinder that the device is in PinPoint mode – the only way to tell is to look for the “MODE 2” indicator shown on the external display. The user operates the device in exactly the same manner as in the standard line-of-sight mode, by simply pushing the button, placing the red dot on the target, and then releasing the button.

Given that there is only one button on the device, a bit more time is required to cycle through the different modes. To change modes, the user holds down the button for approximately four seconds, releasing the button immediately after the display “- – -” disappears (you will hear two chirps if you are already in a chirp mode). The user then presses the button again to cycle though different modes – i.e. Mode 1 standard, Mode 1 reflective only, Mode 1 reflective + chirp, Mode 1 chirp only, Mode 2 standard, etc. Once a new mode is selected, the user needs to wait just a second for the device to save the setting before beginning use. To be quite honest, our lazier reviewers were loathe to change the mode at all.

As for the multiple setting options, our belief is that most users will leave the chirping off (or endure the wrath of their playing partners if they try to get distance readings during someone’s backswing), and likely will not select the reflective option either (although this really depends on whether the courses you play have reflective flagsticks or not).

Suggestion box: A dedicated mode button, and perhaps an additional settings button for reflective targets and audible alerts, would make cycling through the different modes much smoother (though likely at a higher cost). It would also be nice if the user could save their preferred setting (i.e. no reflective targets, with chirp).


72 / C-

OBTAINING DISTANCE READINGS

Opti-Logic claims that the Opti-Logic Insight GL is able to obtain distances at up to 1,200 yards. But if you can see a target at 1,200 yards with no magnification, you are probably too busy working as a sniper or Air Force pilot to be playing golf.

Ease of Locking on a Target:

  • At 150 yards and less, it was easy to lock in on a flagstick with the Opti-Logic Insight GL, just as it was with all of its competitors.
  • Beginning at about 200 yards, it becomes more difficult to lock in on a flagstick. While still doing a reasonable job, the Opti-Logic Insight GL starts to trail the competition as distances increase past 250 yards. Here the lack of magnification really hurts the device.
  • At 300 yards and above, the Opti-Logic really has a tough time locking on a flagstick (and depending on the conditions, such as a blue flag against a dark background, you may have a tough time even seeing the flagstick through the viewfinder). Most devices struggle at this distance, though the InSight GL had a slightly more difficult time than the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition, Leupold, and Callaway devices.

Speed Test:

The Opti-Logic Insight GL lagged most of the competition in our speed test for obtaining distance readings.

  • Panning Mode: When we compared the Opti-Logic in its Line-of-Sight mode (since it does not have a “panning” mode) against other devices in their “panning” modes, it finished in the middle of the pack.
  • Pin-Locating Mode: When we compared the Opti-Logic in its PinPoint mode against other devices in their “pin-locating” modes, it finished last.
  • Using Both Modes: The Opti-Logic also finished at the back of the back in the speed test when devices were allowed to use both modes together – caused primarily by the time-consuming method of changing modes.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison for Ease of Obtaining Distance Readings.


91 / A-

COST/VALUE

The Opti-Logic InSight GL retails for $329.95, making it the least expensive in our cost comparison of laser rangefinders.

The main issue that most users will have is the lack of any magnification to help them target objects. It’s like the relationship with your high-school girlfriend when you go off to college. Things are great when you’re close to one another, but put a little distance into play, and it starts to require a lot of effort, so at some point you pretty much just give up.

Secondarily the less user-friendly interface can be off-putting (at this point, any analogy to your high-school girlfriend may or may not apply – truthfully, we don’t want to know). We prefer devices that perform better on long distance targets, but for consumers looking for a straightforward device to be used on flagstick readings at under 200 yards, the Opti-Logic Insight GL provides a possible low cost option.


Bushnell 1600 Slope

OVERALL RATING: 93. GRADE: A. The Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition is the newest member of the “#1 Rangefinder in Golf” family. While it is the largest and heaviest device tested, and intended for use with two hands, its 7x magnification and large field of view make it a breeze to aim at individual targets or rapidly scan across multiple objects. The device quickly picks up flagstick distances at most approach distances, and has the ability to pick up yardages beyond the other laser rangefinders we tested. The actual and slope-adjusted distances are clearly displayed, and while the slope-adjusted distance is only available in PinSeeker mode, it is still a useful (and addictive) feature. Alas, the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition is not USGA-compliant.

SCORE
93
GRADE
A
Ease of Use
95
Features
96
Obtaining Readings
94
Cost/Value
93

The Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition is an exceptionally well-made product with the best viewing of all devices, and despite its price tag, this device tops our ratings of laser rangefinders that provide slope-adjusted distances.

Pros:

  • 7X magnification is the highest available among devices we tested
  • Best device at locking on to targets at long distances

Cons:

  • Big and heavy
  • Premium price point

Retail price: $499.99
Amazon.com price: Check price now
Replaced by the Bushnell Pro 1M Slope in 2012

Editor’s note: Consumers looking for a device they can use in tournaments or in rounds that are posted for USGA handicap purposes may want to consider the Bushnell 1600 Tournament Edition, which does not include slope-adjusted distances. We did not have the opportunity to test the Bushnell 1600 Tournament Edition, although its operation and performance should be identical to the 1600 Slope Edition, with the obvious exception of slope-adjusted distances.


95 / A

EASE OF USE

Our reviewers liked the look and feel of the horizontally-oriented Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition in the hands. What they didn’t like was the carry pouch (which weighs a whopping 7.2 ounces). Shaped like a fanny pack, with straps that wrap it around the circumference of a golf bag, the carry pouch seems like overkill. A simple clip to attach the device to a bag or cart would have been sufficient and more flexible to use.

The information displayed by the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition is exceptionally clear and easy to read. The 7x magnification is tied for the highest among all rangefinders tested, and makes it easy to find targets even over 300 yards. The optics are bright and clear under all conditions. Bushnell displays the distance, mode, yards/meters, slope angle and slope-adjusted distance in the lower portion of the viewfinder below the aiming circle. This makes the information easy to read against the contrasting light colored background of the green, fairway or rough. Since the distance display is positioned where the user is already looking, the user’s eyes don’t need to dart back and forth between the aiming circle and some other portion of the viewfinder. While there is no option to change the style of the aiming circle, our reviewers liked the circle and found it easy to target the flagstick or other objects.

The adjustable eyepiece (+/- 2 diopter) of the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition enables the user to adjust the focus of the LCD display much more smoothly than in the other devices we tested. It also is the only golf laser rangefinder that has a twist-up eyepiece, which is designed to exclude extraneous light while targeting objects. For those without glasses, it is best used in the fully “up” position, and for those with glasses, the eyepiece should be left down to be able to see a full field of view. It’s a great option to have, and another example of why we liked this device so much.

There are only two buttons, which keeps the device about as easy to use as possible. The power/laser button, located on the top of the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition, is used to turn the device on/off, as well as to fire the laser to acquire distances. The mode button, on the front left side of the device, allows the user to change between yards and meters (if the button is held for several seconds), or cycle between different modes (if the button is pressed quickly).

The Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition uses a single 9-volt battery. Bushnell recommends replacing the battery at least once every 12 months.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder ease of use.


96 / A

FEATURES

The Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition features three modes: automatic scan, PinSeeker only, and PinSeeker with slope and compensated distance information. The mode selection button cycles the user from automatic scan mode, then to PinSeeker with Slope mode, then to PinSeeker only mode. When powered off, the device will retain the previously selected mode.

Automatic Scan Mode

Automatic scan mode allows the user to pan across the course and receive updated distances to different targets so long as the user keeps the power/laser button depressed. While obtaining readings to targets with other objects close behind (such as a flagstick with trees behind it) is easier with “PinSeeker” mode, experienced users kept the 1600 Slope Edition in automatic scan mode virtually the entire time during play because of the ability to quickly generate multiple readings. With some practice, users were able to generate accurate readings in automatic scan mode by aiming at either the flag or the base of the flagstick (it is easier, not surprisingly, to pick out a flag that is extended in the breeze than the flagstick itself).

Reviewers liked the automatic scan ability as well as the smooth updating of the distance displayed on the LCD during scanning (on many competitive devices, such as the Leupold devices, the distance “blinks” as it is updated). The 7x magnification and large field of view (we can’t mention these enough) really set the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition apart from other devices in ease of use and targeting.

PinSeeker-Only Mode

PinSeeker mode is meant to make life easy for the user in those situations where the target has other objects close behind it, like a flagstick with trees behind it (note that despite its name, PinSeeker mode can actually be used to determine distances to targets other than a flagstick). PinSeeker mode is designed to identify when there are multiple objects being picked up within the crosshairs and to ignore the background targets even though they may be larger and have stronger signal strength. The 1600 Slope Edition displays a small icon of a flagstick in the lower left of the display when the user engages PinSeeker mode. Once the device has located the closest of the targets in the area of the aiming circle, it will display a circle around the flagstick icon and show the distance to the closest object. In most cases, this means that the 1600 Slope Edition has properly “locked on” to the pin and is properly ignoring the trees behind it.

While it sounds like the perfect solution to targeting flagsticks, PinSeeker mode isn’t flawless. It is possible for the 1600 Slope Edition to “miss” the desired target and lock on to an object in the background while still displaying a circle surrounding the flagstick icon, particularly at long distances. Likewise, it may display the correct yardage while not displaying the circle. If there is any doubt on the distance, users will likely want to fire the laser multiple times.

Whether it was the increased magnification and horizontal form factor (which promotes using two hands to steady the device) or the optics and software running the device, the 1600 Slope Edition was noticeably more reliable than the Tour V2 in PinSeeker mode, particularly at distances in excess of 200 yards.

PinSeeker With Slope Mode

PinSeeker with Slope mode adds slope-adjusted distances to the PinSeeker mode described above. Not only will the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition show the standard line of sight distance, but the device will also show the average slope angle from the user to target (in degrees) and an adjusted distance that compensates for the slope between the user and the target – longer for uphill shots, shorter for downhill shots. The slope angle and compensated distance are displayed when the power/laser button is released, or if the power/laser button is held for approximately five to seven seconds. Slope information is only available in PinSeeker mode, and not in automatic scan mode, so it is not possible to scan multiple targets and receive constantly updated slope and compensated distance readings as it is with the Leupold GX-II.

The maximum amount of time the laser can be fired is 30 seconds in automatic scan mode, and 10 seconds in PinSeeker mode (if a target is acquired, the laser may automatically stop firing in PinSeeker mode after only a few seconds). To conserve batteries, the LCD will only display the last distance measurement for 30 seconds after the laser is done firing.

Note that putting the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition into PinSeeker only mode does not make it USGA-compliant (any device with the capability is by definition non-compliant, whether the player uses the functionality or not). Users likely would select this mode only if they didn’t want to be distracted by the additional information provided in Slope mode, or to simply put themselves on a level playing field with their playing partners.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder features.


96 / A

OBTAINING DISTANCE READINGS

Bushnell claims that under optimal conditions, the 1600 Slope Edition is accurate at up to 400/1,000/1,600 yards for flagsticks, trees and reflective objects, respectively. While we find these numbers to be more marketing and less real-world numbers, the Bushnell was the best overall device in picking out flagsticks and other targets at a distance.

Ease of Locking on a Target:

  • At 150 yards, the 1600 Slope Edition was quick to lock on to the flag, as were all of its competitors
  • From 200 to 300 yards, the 1600 Slope Edition was the standout in acquiring the pin among devices tested
  • Beyond 300 yards it began to be more difficult to obtain flagstick readings, though the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition was still at the top of the heap across different testing conditions. As mentioned above, at these longer distances the device may indicate that it has “locked on” to a target in PinSeeker mode even when it has picked up the wrong target. Users trying to pick up flagstick distances at these yardages would be well-served to fire the Bushnell 1600 multiple times until they are comfortable with the reading.

Speed Test:

The Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition was one of the fastest devices in our speed test for obtaining distance readings.

  • Panning Mode: When we tested utilizing only a “panning” mode, the 1600 Slope Edition (with its Automatic Scan Mode) was the second fastest device.
  • Pin-locating Mode: When tested against other devices with “pin-locating” mode, the 1600 Slope Edition was the fastest device, and second fastest when tested across all devices.
  • Using Both Modes: When we tested utilizing both modes together (which included pushing the buttons to cycle between modes) against devices that have more than one mode, the 1600 Slope Edition finished at the head of the class. When tested against devices with only one mode, the 1600 Slope Edition finished in the middle of the pack.

PinSeeker with Slope

Our reviewers tested PinSeeker with Slope on courses that generally ranged up to +/- 4 degrees, and the adjustment for this slope accurately helped reviewers judge the compensated distance to play. While not USGA-compliant, it’s a useful tool to learn how to properly adjust for uphill or downhill approach shots.

In our Critical Golf laser rangefinder speed test we have included a comparison to the prior-generation Bushnell 1500 Tournament Edition as a reference, which has the same modes as the Bushnell 1600 Tournament Edition (not tested).


93 / A-

COST/VALUE

The Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition tips the scales at $499.99, which makes it one of the higher priced laser rangefinders tested. It doesn’t have all the functions found on some rangefinders (such as the Leupold GX-II), but even at this price, its 7x magnification, ability to find flagsticks, large field of view, and crisp clear display make the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition a reasonable value.


Opti-Logic InSight GT

Like its sister device, the Opti-Logic Insight GL, the Opti-Logic Insight GT is a horizontally-oriented rangefinder (held like traditional binoculars), featuring a standard mode and a “pin-locating” mode. The Insight GT adds slope-adjusted distances to the basic functionality available in the Insight GL.

While the Opti-Logic Insight GT is easy to hold, and pinpointing targets is intuitive using the distinctive “red dot”, we found that the device’s interface and ability to target objects at a distance couldn’t keep up with the competition. The device provides about average performance, and the lack of magnification in the viewfinder is a bummer, so it’s tough to really crow about the device.

Nonetheless, for users looking to learn how to compensate for the slope when approaching an uphill or downhill green, the Opti-Logic Insight GT provides a (relatively) low-cost option.

SCORE
82
GRADE
B-
Ease of Use
81
Features
94
Obtaining Readings
72
Cost/Value
91

Pros:

  • Inexpensive price

Cons:

  • Lack of any magnification in the viewfinder

Retail price: $359.95
Amazon.com price: Check price now


81 / B-

EASE OF USE

The Opti-Logic InSight GT is lighter than the competing horizontally-oriented laser rangefinder in our test, the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition, and a bit smaller as well. The shell is smooth plastic, and while the device doesn’t sport a rubber or tacky gripping surface, it is easy to hold. The Insight GT is bright yellow – perhaps screaming to the world “I’m not USGA-compliant! Do not use me in a tournament!”. The Opti-Logic comes with a basic carry pouch, which has a latch to secure its lid and a clip to attach to a user’s bag or cart. It’s nothing flashy, but it does the job.

The viewfinder is located on the left side of the device. Unlike other laser rangefinders, the Opti-Logic features a red aiming dot in the viewfinder that allows you to easily pinpoint targets (think of all the action movies you’ve seen in which a sniper puts a red dot on the target’s forehead, and you’ll get the idea). The laser is not fired until after the device’s single button is released (which we found somewhat counterintuitive). The distance read-out is displayed in red in the lower right corner of the viewfinder, and is clear and easy to read against any background, an advantage when targeting against dark backgrounds such as groves of trees.

The Opti-Logic also has an external display, just to the right of the viewfinder. The display is primarily used to show the user the selected mode and settings, though it will provide distance readings as well. We’re not sure why a user would want to fire the laser, then pull the device away from their eyes to look down for the distance, but you can do so if you’d like.

In keeping with doing things differently, the Opti-Logic has only one button. This button, located on the top on the rangefinder, is used to turn the device on/off, fire the laser, and switch between modes.

The Opti-Logic Insight GT is factory pre-programmed to use either yards or meters, so the measured units are not adjustable (reinforcing the good old American disdain for the metric system!). Additionally, unlike on all other devices, there is no adjustment to focus the display.

The largest drawback of the Opti-Logic Insight GT is the lack of any magnification within the viewfinder. While the red dot technology helps pick out targets at most ranges, when longer distances (generally 225 yards or more) are combined with darker targets (say, a blue flag against a grove of trees), it can be exceedingly difficult for the user to determine whether the red dot has been placed correctly. You may be close, but the lack of certainty can be disconcerting, and chances are that you will be left wishing you had a device with magnification.

The Opti-Logic Insight GT takes one 9-volt battery, good for an estimated 1,000 readings. When the battery needs replacing, a low battery symbol appears.

Suggestion Box: Magnification! As much as possible, please! All other rangefinders in our test provide a minimum of 5x magnification, and adding that to the Opti-Logic would be a huge help in targeting flagsticks and other objects. As it is, this is the largest negative of the device, and one that for most users will be the deal-breaker. Oh, and the battery cover is just not that easy to get open… there’s a little bit of a leap of faith that pushing hard on the plastic tab won’t break it. Minor, but when you compare devices side by side, every little bit matters.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder ease of use.


94 / A

FEATURES

The Opti-Logic InSight GT features three modes: Line-of-Sight, PinPoint and Slope-Compensated Horizontal Distance mode. Each mode also offers four different setting options: standard, reflective (for use on a course with flag mounted reflectors), standard with chirp (the device will make an audible “chirp” sound after the distance is acquired), and reflective with chirp.

Line-of-Sight mode

The mode most often used during play by our reviewers, Line-of-Sight mode is simple point-and-shoot for the distance. The user pushes the button, places the red dot seen in the viewfinder on the target, and then releases the button (which fires the laser) and waits for the dot to disappear and a distance to be provided (which is displayed on both the internal viewfinder and the external display). If the “chirp” setting is enabled, the device will make an audible “chirp” when it provides the distance. While the Opti-Logic Insight GL does not provide the “panning” mode offered by all other laser rangefinders tested, the distance readings are provided quickly enough that this turned out to not be as great an issue as we originally feared. For our reviewers who generally did not care for the “panning” mode on other devices, this was a complete non-issue.

PinPoint Technology Mode

PinPoint Technology is Opti-Logic’s version of a “pin-locating” mode, and enables the device to focus on the highlighted target and ignore the background, such as trees or other objects (similar to Bushnell’s “PinSeeker” mode). There is no indication in the viewfinder that the device is in PinPoint mode – the only way to tell is to look for the “MODE 2” indicator shown on the external display. The user operates the device in exactly the same manner as in the standard line-of-sight mode, by simply pushing the button, placing the red dot on the target, and then releasing the button.

Slope-Compensated Horizontal Distance Mode

The big difference between the Opti-Logic Insight GT and the base GL is that the GT adds Slope-Compensated Horizontal Distance Mode, which provides distances adjusted for the slope (uphill or downhill) between the user and target. The internal and external display will show the compensated distance reading, but do not provide either the non-adjusted distance or the angle of slope, as other devices do. This functionality is not USGA-compliant, and scores obtained while using the device cannot be utilized for maintaining a USGA handicap. This applies regardless of whether the user ever engages Slope-Compensated Horizontal Distance Mode or not – the mere availability of the feature disqualifies the use of the device for USGA purposes. We do note that utilizing a device with slope-adjusted distances can be a real learning experience even for experienced golfers – most golfers underestimate the additional distance added by even a minimally uphill approach shot.

Given that there is only one button on the device, a bit more time is required to cycle through the different modes. To change modes, the user holds down the button for approximately four seconds, releasing the button immediately after the display “- – -” disappears (you will hear two chirps if you are already in a chirp mode). The user then presses the button again to cycle though different modes – i.e. Mode 1 standard, Mode 1 reflective only, Mode 1 reflective + chirp, Mode 1 chirp only, Mode 2 standard, etc. Once a new mode is selected, the user needs to wait just a second for the device to save the setting before beginning use. To be quite honest, our lazier reviewers were loathe to change the mode at all.

As for the multiple setting options, our belief is that most users will leave the chirping off (or endure the wrath of their playing partners if they try to get distance readings during someone’s backswing), and likely will not select the reflective option either (although this really depends on whether the courses you play have reflective flagsticks or not).

Suggestion box: A dedicated mode button, and perhaps an additional settings button for reflective targets and audible alerts, would make cycling through the different modes much smoother (though likely at a higher cost). It would also be nice if the user could save their preferred setting (i.e. no reflective targets, with chirp).

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder features.


72 / C-

OBTAINING DISTANCE READINGS

Opti-Logic claims that the Opti-Logic Insight GT is able to obtain distances at up to 1,200 yards. But if you can see a target at 1,200 yards with no magnification, you are probably too busy working as a sniper or Air Force pilot to be playing golf.

Ease of Locking on a Target:

  • At 150 yards and less, it was easy to lock in on a flagstick with the Opti-Logic Insight GT, just as it was with all of its competitors.
  • Beginning at about 200 yards, it becomes more difficult to lock in on a flagstick. While still doing a reasonable job, the Opti-Logic Insight GT starts to trail the competition as distances increase past 250 yards. Here the lack of magnification really hurts the device.
  • At 300 yards and above, the Opti-Logic really has a tough time locking on a flagstick (and depending on the conditions, such as a blue flag against a dark background, you may have a tough time even seeing the flagstick through the viewfinder). Most devices struggle at this distance, though the InSight GT had a slightly more difficult time than the Bushnell 1600 Slope Edition, Leupold, and Callaway devices.

Speed Test:

The Opti-Logic Insight GT lagged most of the competition in our speed test for obtaining distance readings.

  • Panning Mode: When we compared the Opti-Logic in its Line-of-Sight mode (since it does not have a “panning” mode) against other devices in their “panning” modes, it finished in the middle of the pack.
  • Pin-Locating Mode: When we compared the Opti-Logic in its PinPoint mode against other devices in their “pin-locating” modes, it finished last.
  • Using Both Modes: The Opti-Logic Insight GT also finished last in the speed test when devices were allowed to use both modes together – caused primarily by the time-consuming method of changing modes. It took slightly longer than its sister device, the Opti-Logic Insight GL, as it requires the user to take one additional step in cycling through Slope-Compensated mode.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison for Ease of Obtaining Distance Readings.


91 / A-

COST/VALUE

The Opti-Logic Insight GT comes at a retail price of $359.95, which makes it about $140 cheaper than any other slope-adjusting laser rangefinder in our cost comparison, and $15 cheaper than any other rangefinder in general (other than the Opti-Logic GL). The device has its flaws, particularly the lack of any magnification to help them target objects, but at that price point, it’s packing a fair amount of value.


Titleist Premium

As befits its name, the Titleist Premium Stand Bag is one of the best bags we tested. It executes perfectly in delivering provides most of the traditional features a user would expect in a top-tier stand bag and integrating those features in an intuitive manner. Loads of storage room make this an excellent choice for pack rats. Note, however, that it tips the scales as one of the heaviest of the bags tested, so there may be better choices for those looking to pare down the weight they carry.

SCORE
92
GRADE
A-
Club Storage
93
Legs
95
Straps
91
Pockets/Storage
94
Rain Hood
83
Carrying Impressions
88
Style
93
Innovation
86
Cost/Value
92

Retail price: $195
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Titleist Lightweight

Editor’s note: this review is for the 2011 version of the Titleist Premium. Manufacturers generally make minor changes to bag models each 1-2 years. We have provided links to check prices for the latest version of the bag.


93 / A-

CLUB STORAGE

A 7-way top splits the Titleist Premium Stand Bag’s club area into 7 sectors. There are three full-length dividers that run the length of the bag, so the club storage space is divided into four major sectors, with the 7-way top further splitting up three of these sectors (Titleist designates the remaining undivided sector as a “putter well”). Some of our reviewers are lukewarm on the utility of more than 5 sectors, but those who have a strong preference against mixing and mingling their clubs might like this set-up. The radius of the bag allows for lots of room to store your clubs.


95 / A

LEGS

The Titleist Premium Stand Bag has the excellent Titleist/Sun Mountain legs with wide rubber feet. Stability was outstanding, and the legs extend easily upon setting down the bag. There is an element of independent suspension in the legs, in that they don’t both automatically pop out the same amount, which is helpful when dealing with uneven lies. As an added bonus, the Titleist Premium Stand Bag is the only bag tested that has sheaths into which the legs can be zipped to protect them from being bent or tangled when traveling or using a cart.


91 / A-

STRAPS

The backpack-style straps on the Titleist Premium Stand Bag feature 4 adjustment points. The design keeps the bag snug against the user’s back, and the Titleist Premium Stand Bag gets extra points for the velour-lined padding that makes the straps extremely comfortable.


94 / A

POCKETS/STORAGE

If you like pockets, the Titleist Premium Stand Bag is the bag for you! 10 pockets provide a veritable cornucopia of storage options.

  • 1 large garment pocket runs along the right side of the bag, with 1 small pocket and 1 medium-sized pocket along the outside of the garment pocket. The medium-sized pocket also features two very small zippered pockets inside of it.
  • A velour-lined valuables pocket (non-waterproof) is on the right side of the bag.
  • 1 small and 1 medium-sized pocket sit on the spine of the bag.
  • On the left side of the bag is a medium-sized ball pocket and along the outside of this pocket is a zippered lined “cooler” pocket for a beverage.
  • Not included in the pocket count is an additional pen/pencil sleeve.

The Titleist Premium Stand Bag has a fancy velour strap for securing an umbrella, and a round ring for attaching a towel.


83 / B-

RAIN HOOD

As with the other Titleist and Sun Mountain bags, the rain hood leaves a lot to be desired. Securing the hood is a somewhat convoluted process of threading two Velcro straps through anchors on the front of the bag (instead of around the legs, which was our first guess), then snapping two buttons around the straps, and finally threading a final Velcro strap around the handle. There has to be a simpler way of just covering up a set of clubs from unexpected sprinkles.


88 / B+

CARRYING IMPRESSIONS

Despite its weight, our reviewers enjoyed walking the course with the Titleist Premium Stand Bag. One reviewer took it for a 27-hole test drive, and was no worse for wear.

  • Weight. At 6.2 pounds (including the rain hood), the Titleist Premium Stand Bag was among the heftier bags in our comparison test.
  • Balance. Whether it’s the way the backpack straps keep the bag securely against the user’s back or the general weight distribution across the bag, we found that the bag rested evenly across our shoulders.
  • Padding. A large pad cushions the area where the bag meets the user’s lower back.
  • Handles/Straps: As mentioned in the other Titleist/Sun Mountain reviews, a fantastic feature of these bags is the handle that is integrated into the rim of the bag. The user simply grasps this handle with the right hand to place the bag securely on the ground (and activate the legs) and slide the strap off of the right shoulder in one simple motion. This became such a natural motion for us that we would search in vain for the same handle when testing other bags.

93 / A-

STYLE

The Titleist Premium Stand Bag is a handsome fellow, and comes with nice luxury touches, like the use of brushed metal for the towel ring and the rings for attaching the straps, and velour on the straps.
The bag comes in 6 colors:

  • Black
  • Navy
  • Red, with black trim
  • Fir Green, with black trim
  • Spice (which is a dusky orangeish-red), with black trim
  • Denim (blue), with silver trim

86 / B

INNOVATION

Like the other Titleist/Sun Mountain bags, the Titleist Premium Stand Bag gets points for the integrated handle at the top of the bag. In addition, as mentioned above, the Titleist Premium Stand Bag includes two zippered “sheaths” that can bind the stand legs to the bag. Our reviewers, who tend to walk the course, weren’t sure they would be bothered to completely secure the legs in this manner for the occasional round with a cart, but frequent cart-users might find it handy.


92 / A-

COST/VALUE

Priced at $195, the Titleist Premium Stand Bag is at the median among the bags tested. It’s not often you find premium performance at a moderate price, but the Titleist Premium Stand Bag delivers!