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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Bushnell Tour Z6

You might assume that the Bushnell Tour Z6 is essentially the same as the prior generation Tour V2, but if you did, you’d be selling the new device significantly short. The Tour Z6 introduces higher magnification (6x), Bushnell’s new Vivid Display Technology (which is also found on the Bushnell Pro 1M and Bushnell Pro 1M Slope), faster readings from 5-125 yards with ½ yard accuracy and distances displayed down to 1/10th of a yard, and a waterproof shell. All of this, plus a better-looking design, for a mere $50 over the original price of the Tour V2. Not too shabby…

The Bushnell Tour Z6 measures distances from 5 to 1,300 yards (900 yards to trees and 450+ yards to flagsticks), and has a wider field of view than the Tour V2 and a number of competing devices – a nice benefit that Bushnell doesn’t really tout in its marketing materials.

The one shortcoming that will stand out to advanced laser rangefinder users is that the Tour Z6 does not have an “automatic scan” mode, a feature that enabled users to hold down the power/firing button, pan across multiple points and instantly receive distances to whatever is targeted (Bushnell seems to have decided to do away with “automatic scan” in 2012’s product offerings). With the Tour Z6’s always-on “PinSeeker” mode, users can only receive updated readings for an extremely brief period of time, and even then only when continuing to pan to sequentially closer targets.

SCORE
90
GRADE
A-
Ease of Use
90
Features
90
Obtaining Readings
88
Cost/Value
90

Pros:

  • New display with red aiming circle and yardage display
  • Wide field of view
  • Can display to 1/10th of a yard at under 125 yards
  • 2 year warranty

Cons:

  • Firing button requires a very firm press to activate
  • Limited ability to pan across targets and receive updated distances

Retail price: $399
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT
Amazon.com: Check price now
Golfsmith: Check price now


90 / A-

EASE OF USE

The Tour Z6 is certainly a sharp-looking device. It is vertically oriented, with the main portion of the body encased in textured black rubber (for easy gripping) and smooth white aluminum trim extending at the front and back. The Tour Z6 weighs 7.9 ounces on its own and 11.6 ounces with the included carry pouch. A swiveling plastic clip on the back of the carry pouch clips the pouch to a bag, and the pouch features both a zipper (to completely stow away the rangefinder) and a magnetic latch (providing less security, but quicker access during play).

Bushnell Tour Z6
Click to enlarge

The display of the Bushnell Tour Z6 is clear and easy to read, with a slight tint to help reduce glare. The 6x magnification is the standard for rangefinders, but the field of view is the widest among rangefinders in our test. Players need to firmly press the power/firing button to turn the device on, then press the button again to start receiving distance readings. When we say “firmly” press the button, we really mean FIRMLY – the firing button of the Tour Z6 requires more effort to press and continue to keep depressed than any other device we’ve tested – who wants to join us in our class action against Bushnell for carpal tunnel syndrome? We kid, we kid…unless there’s actually a lawyer willing to take on the case.

The Tour Z6 displays the distance below the aiming circle (cross-hairs are displayed around the aiming circle when the laser is being fired), with the battery level indicated to its left. To the right of the distance is a flagstick icon that is part of the PinSeeker indicator – when the device has locked on to a target, a circle will surround the flagstick.

PinSeeker is always on in the latest generation of Bushnell rangefinders. What this means is that there is no longer the “automatic scanning” mode found in prior generation Bushnell devices, which allowed users to hold down the power/firing button, pan across multiple points and instantly receive distances to whatever is targeted. Once the Tour Z6 locks on a target, users can’t pan to a point farther from them and receive an updated distance. This makes it a bit of a pain when you’re trying to determine distances to carry multiple bunkers for a tee shot, or determining bunker faces and flagstick distances when attacking the green. In these cases you need to target a point, wait until a distance is returned, then re-fire, as opposed to simply holding down the fire button and panning across.

The Tour Z6 has an adjustable eyepiece (+/- 2 diopter) that is easy to turn (so easy, in fact, we accidentally twisted the eyepiece on several occasions when either putting the laser back into or removing it from its case).

There are only two buttons on the Tour Z6. The red power/laser button, located on the top of the Bushnell Tour Z6, is used to turn the device on and to fire the laser. The mode button, on the left side of the device (blending so much into the design you may not realize it is a button), allows the user to access the setup menu, from which preferences for brightness (we prefer the top two brightness levels) and unit of distance (yards and meters) can be adjusted. Users can’t change the style of the aiming circle/crosshairs.

The Bushnell Tour Z6 uses a single CR2 3-volt battery that inserts through a twist cap below the viewfinder. Bushnell recommends replacing the battery once every six months.

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


90 / A-

FEATURES

The Tour Z6 includes Bushnell’s new Vivid Display Technology, which provides display information in red, making it easier to read against dark backgrounds. There are 4 different level of brightness of the display, though we found ourselves only using the two brightest levels regardless of lighting conditions.

As mentioned above, the Bushnell Tour Z6 features just one mode: PinSeeker. Despite its name, PinSeeker mode will lock on to any target, not just flagsticks. PinSeeker mode is designed to identify the closest object within the crosshairs and ignore background targets, such as trees, that may be larger and have stronger signal strength. PinSeeker is pretty tried and true technology for Bushnell, and was excellent at locking in on the appropriate target.

The user can continuously fire the laser for between 4 and 8 seconds, and when the user releases the power/fire button, the distance will continue to be displayed for 8 seconds.

The distance smoothly updates on the display, without any of the annoying blinking found on some competing devices. Bushnell states that at closer than 125 yards, the Tour Z6 has the capability to show distances down to 0.1 yards. We weren’t able to discern a distinct pattern on when the device would get down to that level of granularity. Our experience showed that regardless of whether PinSeeker was activated or not, there were times when the device would display down to 0.1 yards, and times when it wouldn’t. Go figure.

If foul weather can’t keep you from the course, rest assured – the Bushnell Z6 is waterproof and has a rain-guard coating on the lens to help shed the drops.

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


88 / B+

OBTAINING DISTANCE READINGS

Bushnell claims a range of 5 to 1,000 yards to most objects under optimal conditions, with the ability to lock onto flags at up to 450 yards.

Bushnell Tour Z6
Click to enlarge

Ease of Locking on a Target:

As with many rangefinders, the Tour Z6 had difficultly picking out pins on the first try in our test. The first distance returned was usually a more reflective object behind the flagstick, such as a wall of trees, but then PinSeeker will kick in (the Tour Z6 continues to update distances while the firing button is held down) and lock in the distance to the flagstick. We found that the best practice is to aim at the flag instead of the stick. Aiming at the base of the flagstick is another way to avoid trees in the background, but PinSeeker may start returning closer objects (such as the ground) rather than the stick itself.

When we aimed at flags, we were able to obtain accurate readings at nearer distances, with the percentage of accurate readings dropping to 60% as we reached 200 yards and farther.

Speed Test:
PinSeeker-Only Mode
As mentioned, the Tour Z6 only has a PinSeeker mode available. In this mode the Tour Z6 fared well against all other devices, in their panning or PinSeeker mode, in our laser rangefinder speed test.

Check out our laser rangefinder speed test to see how the full details on the Bushnell Tour Z6 stacks up against the competition.


90 / A-

COST/VALUE

The Bushnell Tour Z6 is priced at a $399, average among retail prices for laser rangefinders without slope adjusted distance capability. In this range it does have direct (and stiff) competition from the Leupold devices (less so the Laser Link Red Hot) at the same price point. It has the feature set required to go head-to-head with these devices, and we suspect your decision will likely come down to whether you prefer the Bushnell display, always-on PinSeeker mode, and design.