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.
- Competitive price point
- Comfortable form and feel
- Limited feature set
- Middle-of-the-road performance
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.
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.
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 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.
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)
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.
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.