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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Laser Rangefinder Features

Laser rangefinders all offer the ability to provide line-of-sight distance to targets, but vary in how the user interacts with the device to get the distance reading and the different ways to take readings (such as scanning a course or focusing on a flagstick). Laser rangefinders that provide slope information vary widely in terms of features, ranging from the bare minimum of providing adjusted distances based on the degree of incline/decline to more advanced units that provide advice on what club to hit based on not just the incline/decline, but factoring in the altitude and air temperature.

To provide a quick overview, Table 1 highlights features of the various laser rangefinders.

  • Mode: How many different “modes” are there that a player may use when trying to obtain readings? Most laser rangefinders offer two modes – the first allows the user to pinpoint the distance to any target while continuously scanning across different targets on the course, and the second is often a more specialized mode that helps the user find the closest target (usually a flagstick) within a line of sight and essentially ignore the objects behind it. Some devices offer additional information such as the average slope from the user to the target, along with the distance the user should actually “play”, that is, playing a shot longer than the line-of-sight distance for an uphill shot, and playing the short shorter for downhill shots. We preferred to avoid switching between modes when possible, doing so only in cases where there is difficulty obtaining a reading to a flagstick, which can start to occur at distances above 200 yards or when there are other objects close behind the flagstick.
  • How obtain distance reading: Depending on the device, you either press and hold a button to obtain a reading, or press a button, point the rangefinder at the target, then release.
  • Waterproof?: If you like to tough it out in the rain, or throw your bag in the lake after a disastrous round, you may want to look at a rangefinder that is waterproof. All of the devices tested were at least water-resistant.

Table 1. Laser Rangefinder Features

Laser Rangefinder Mode(s) How to
Obtain Reading
Waterproof?
Bushnell Pro 1M 1
PinSeeker
Press and hold
or
press and release
Proof
Bushnell Pro 1M Slope 1
PinSeeker
Press and hold
or
press and release
Proof
Bushnell Hybrid Laser GPS 2
Standard with Automatic Scan
PinSeeker
Press and hold
or
press and release
Resistant
Bushnell Tour v3 1
PinSeeker
Press and hold
or
press and release
Resistant
Bushnell Tour v3 Slope 1
PinSeeker
Press and hold
or
press and release
Resistant
Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT 1
PinSeeker
Press and hold
or
press and release
Proof
Callaway iQ 1
First Target Priority
Press and hold
or
press and release
Proof
Callaway RAZR 1
First Target Priority
Press and release Proof
Laser Link QuickShot 1
Line-of-Sight
Press and release Resistant
Laser Link Red Hot 1
Line-of-Sight
Press and release Resistant
Laser Link Switch 2
To reflective prisms only
Line-of-Sight
Press and release Resistant
Laser Link White Magic 1
Line-of-Sight
Press and release Resistant
Leica Pinmaster 2 1
Line-of-Sight
Press and release Proof
Leupold PinCaddie 1
Pinhunter
Press and hold
or
press and release
Weatherproof
Leupold GX-1i 1
Pinhunter
Press and hold
or
press and release
Weatherproof
Leupold GX-2i 1
Pinhunter
Press and hold
or
press and release
Weatherproof
Leupold GX-3i 1
Pinhunter
Press and hold
or
press and release
Weatherproof
Leupold GX-4i 1
Pinhunter
Press and hold
or
press and release
Weatherproof
Opti-Logic InSight GL 2
Line-of-Sight
PinPoint
Press and release Resistant
Opti-Logic InSight GT 3
Line-of-Sight
PinPoint
Slope-Compensated
Press and release Resistant