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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Bushnell 1600

Bushnell 1600

Score

92

Grade

A-

OVERALL RATING: 92. GRADE: A-. The Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament Edition is the top-end tournament legal device from the “#1 Rangefinder in Golf” family. While it is the largest and heaviest laser rangefinder tested (even more so given its bulky carry case), 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 can easily picks up the flagstick at any approach distance, with distances clearly displayed, and PinSeeker mode is easily accessible.

SCORE
92
GRADE
A-
Ease of Use
95
Features
90
Obtaining Readings
94
Cost/Value
89

The Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament Edition is an exceptionally well-made product with the best viewing of all devices, and despite its size, is a great choice among tournament-legal laser rangefinders.

Pros:

  • 7x magnification is the highest available among devices we tested
  • Best overall device at locking on to targets at distances beyond 200 yards

Cons:

  • Big and heavy
  • Massive carrying case/fanny pack

Retail price: $399.99
Availability: No longer available. Replaced by the Bushnell Pro 1M


95 / A

EASE OF USE

Our reviewers liked the look and feel of the horizontally-oriented (like a pair of binoculars) Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament Edition. What they didn’t like was the carry pouch (which weighs a whopping 7.2 ounces, on top of the 14.8 ounces for the device itself). 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 Pro 1600 Tournament Edition is exceptionally clear and easy to read. The 7x magnification is tied for the highest among rangefinders, and makes it relatively easy to pinpoint targets even at over 300 yards. The optics are bright and clear under all conditions. Bushnell displays the distance, mode and yards/meters in the lower portion of the viewfinder below the aiming circle, making the information stand out against the light colored background of a green, fairway or rough. Since the distance is displayed in close proximity to the aiming circle, 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 diopters) of the Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament 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.


90 / A

FEATURES

The Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament Edition features two modes: automatic scan and PinSeeker. The mode selection button cycles the user between the two modes. 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 them (such as a flagstick with trees behind it) is easier with “PinSeeker” mode, experienced users kept the Pro 1600 Tournament 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 (it is easier, not surprisingly, to pick out a flag that is extended in the breeze than the flagstick itself) or the base of the flagstick.

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) set the Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament 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 be used to determine distances to targets other than a flagstick). PinSeeker mode identifies when there are multiple objects being picked up within the crosshairs and ignores the background targets even though they may be larger and thus more reflective. The Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament Edition was noticeably more reliable in PinSeeker more than its little brother the Bushnell Tour V2, particularly at distances in excess of 200 yards.

The maximum amount of time the laser can be fired is approximately 35 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, even if the circle is not displayed around the flagstick icon). To conserve batteries, the LCD will only display the last distance measurement for 30 seconds after the laser is done firing.

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


94 / A

OBTAINING DISTANCE READINGS

Bushnell claims that under optimal conditions, the Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament Edition was quick to lock on to the flag, as were all of its competitors
  • From 200 to 300 yards, the Pro 1600 Tournament Edition was the standout among the devices we tested in acquiring the pin
  • Beyond 300 yards it began to be more difficult to obtain flagstick readings, though the Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament 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 laser multiple times until they are comfortable with the reading.

Speed Test:

The Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament Edition (with its Automatic Scan Mode) was the second fastest device.
  • Pin-locating Mode: When tested against other devices with “pin-locating” mode, the Pro 1600 Tournament 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 Pro 1600 Tournament Edition finished at the head of the class. When tested against devices with only one mode, the Pro 1600 Tournament Edition finished in the middle of the pack.

89 / B+

COST/VALUE

The Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament Edition retails for $399.99, which makes it slightly more expensive than the average price for laser rangefinders tested. But even at this price, its 7x magnification, ability to find flagsticks and other targets, large field of view, rapid distance updates and crisp clear display make the Bushnell Pro 1600 Tournament Edition a reasonable value. Add in the 2-year warranty (the longest offered by any laser rangefinder manufacturer), and you have a product that should definitely be on your short list.