Best Golf Rangefinders

After testing dozens and sifting through thousands of reviews of the best golf rangefinders on the market, here are my picks –

Bushnell Pro X2 – The best rangefinder on the market
Bushnell Tour V4 – The best value rangefinder on the market

TecTecTec VPRO500  – The best cheap rangefinder

What makes a great rangefinder?

If you’re in the market for a rangefinder, you want an accurate way to determine distances on the golf course.

If you golf like we golf, you may be looking for the distance to the fairway… from the woods.  If you’re a better golfer than we are, you might be looking for the distance to the pin, in yards. There are a variety of ways to determine these distances.

Besides distance to the pin, golfers also want to know:

  • Distance to a bunker
  • Distance to a water hazard
  • Distance to the front of the green

A rangefinder is one of the easier ways to improve your golf game. Why? Well knowing accurate distances goes a long way in helping with club selection. Sure, it might not help your swing, but knowing the right club to use out on the course provides an advantage.

If you are one of those golfers that practices, you can use a rangefinder to dial in your yardages while practicing at the driving range.

Bushnell Pro X2

If you want the best golf rangefinder on the market, you need to check out the Bushnell Pro X2 Jolt Slope Rangefinder.  Yes, it is expensive  – it retails for $500 – but it has the features to back up the price.

You will need a really nasty hook to take full advantage of the X2’s insane range. The only golf application I can think would require this type of range is seeing how far away the beverage cart is.

It can lock on to the flag from up to 450 yards away, which is handy for when you are thinking about driving the green.

The viewfinder offers 6x magnification, the product is fully waterproof, and there is a limited 2-year warranty.

The Pro X2 will give you a measurement with a precision of up to half a yard.

Feeling the Jolt

If you have used a laser rangefinder you know one of the main drawbacks is the uncertainty about what you are actually measuring. Are you measuring the distance to the flag or something behind the green instead.

To eliminate that uncertainty, Bushnell uses “Jolt Technology”. When the rangefinder does lock on the flag, you will feel a slight vibration in the unit to tell you that you are getting the correct measurement.

Instead of measuring two or three times to confirm your number, you can just measure once, feel the Jolt, and move on with your shot.

Get a Good Look

The Bushnell Pro X2 has “Vivid Display Technology”. This means an MBA found a fancy way to say the viewfinder has improved brightness and resolution.

Slope Calculations

In addition to measuring basic distance, this model can adjust your yardage automatically to factor in the effect of any changes in slope.

So, if the shot you are measuring is going to be played uphill or downhill, the Bushnell Pro X2 will make the necessary adjustments to the number and provide you with a distance needed to hit the target successfully.

Waterproof Design

The Bushnell Pro X2 is designed to be fully waterproof.

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  • Price, no matter how you look at it this is a lot to drop on a golf toy

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The Best Rangefinder for the Value – BUSHNELL TOUR V4

It’s was tough to put two Bushnell devices at the top of this list, but they are the top dog in the rangefinder business.

The Bushnell Tour V4 is among their best models, with a price tag that usually comes in right around $300.

One of the great features of this model, and many others in the Bushnell line – is the ‘Pinseeker’ technology. When the laser catches onto the flag, this system will quickly vibrate the unit, telling you that you have found the target successfully. Also, you can use this unit to measure up to 1,000 yards, and the viewfinder features 5x magnification. Simply put, this is among the top rangefinders on the market today.

Features:

  • JOLT technology (jolts when you lock onto a pin)
  • Can switch in and out of slope mode
  • Dimensions: 3.11 x 1.57 x 4 in

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  • Water resistant, NOT waterproof. But really when will you need a waterproof rangefinder?

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The Best Rangefinder for the Money – TecTecTec VPRO500

This rangefinder boasts measurements to within 1 yard from up to 550 yards away with excellent 6x magnification, kept clear and in focus through incredible performance from its optics.

If you are budget-minded and want to keep the purchase price on your rangefinder to a minimum while still getting a quality piece of gear, the TecTecTec VPRO500 is worth careful consideration.

Smart Savings

Saving money is nice, but buying cheap crappy golf gear sucks.

The VPRO500 does not have all of the bells and whistles of the top-line rangefinders but it will give you accurate yardage from your ball to the target, which at the end of the day is the main feature golfers are looking for in a rangefinder.

Compact Design

With a total weight of just 185g, you won’t be adding anything noticeable to your bag. The rangefinder is designed to be dust and water resistant, and it can easily be used with a single hand. With just a little practice, you will be able to pick this unit up, measure your target quickly, and put it back down to proceed with your shot.

Money Back Guarantee

TecTecTec may not be a brand you have learned to trust. To help with this, the company offers a 100% money-back guarantee. If you aren’t happy with your purchase for any reason, the unit can simply be returned for a full refund. With this protection in place, it is much easier to try out a model that comes from a brand which isn’t as well-recognized as some of the others on the market.

Features

  • Compact design – 104x72x41mm
  • Lightweight – 185g
  • Pin sensor technology for measuring objects that overlap (golf flags, trees or hazards)
  • Accurate to within 1 yard over a 500-yard distance

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  • Lens fogs up on occasion
  • Sometimes struggles to lock onto the pin
  • Only available in black

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What Type of Distance Finder is Best?

There are a handful of solutions available on the market. Which golf distance finder is best for you, is up to your personal preference.

GPS Devices

Golf GPS

There are a couple of popular types of GPS devices on the market. I break them down into two categories Handheld Devices and Wearable. They all essentially serve the same purpose with the difference being how the course details are displayed and how you carry them around with you. Handheld devices can be carried in a pocket or on the golf cart whereas wearables like a GPS Golf Watch are worn on your wrist or wearables like a Skycaddie may be worn on the brim of a hat.

Click here to see a break down of Rangefinders vs GPS Devices

Smartphone Apps

Smartphone Golf Apps

Similar to Google Maps or other navigation apps on your smartphone, there are GPS Golf Apps which allow you to gauge the distance to the pin or course features using the builtin GPS on your iPhone or Android device. Are you looking for the cheapest option? The cheapest form of golf rangefinder is a smartphone app.

Click here for more on rangefinders vs apps.

Laser Rangefinders

laser rangefinders

Typically what people think of when they hear golf rangefinder are laser rangefinders. These look similar to binoculars. You use an eyepiece to aim a laser at the object you want the yardage to. These devices are typically more accurate than GPS Devices and Smartphone apps but are also more difficult to use.

Click here for all of my rangefinder reviews.

What to Consider when Buying a Rangefinder

What to consider when buying a rangefinder

For more info on what to consider when buying a rangefinder, click here.

 

History and Legality of Rangefinders

The Rules of Golf are often slow to permit the use of new technologies, such as rangefinders. While laser rangefinders have been used for many years in a variety of applications – such as hunting, – they are relatively new to the world of golf. 

Traditionally, there were a couple of ways to obtain yardage on the golf course. The first was through markings on the course such as on the cart path, sprinkler heads, and more. For years, it was common to see players ‘walking off’ the distance between one of these markers and their ball in order to get a yardage. While this system worked fairly well, it is time-consuming and something of a hassle. Also, depending on the ability of a given golfer to pace off their yardage, the final number that is determined may or may not be entirely accurate.

When the rangefinder arrived on the scene, all of that changed. Rather than pacing around the course, players were now able to obtain an extremely accurate (in most cases) yardage within just a fraction of a second. 

However, there is a small point that most golfers do not understand – rangefinders are still illegal under the rules of golf. Despite the fact that they are commonly seen on golf courses all across the country, rangefinders are disallowed under Rule 14-3 which restricts the use of ‘any artificial device or unusual equipment for the purpose of gauging distance or conditions which might affect play’.

Why are rangefinders still around if they’re banned?

So how are so many people using rangefinders when they are explicitly ruled out in the Rules of Golf? In 2006, the USGA allowed for the use of a Local Rule which can permit the use of distance measuring devices, as long as they only measure distance (not slope, wind, etc.).

When the Local Rule is in effect, players can freely use their distance-only rangefinders without penalty. Models that include slope or other features are always illegal under the rules, no matter what kind of Local Rule is put in play.

If you are playing a casual round with your friends, feel free to use your rangefinder to obtain all of the distances you need. However, if you are playing in a tournament, you will need to check to ensure that the Local Rule regarding rangefinders has been put into use. Most tournaments do allow them to be used, but it is smart to double-check anyway before you head to the first tee.

On the PGA Tour, the Local Rule has not been adopted, so players at that level are not able to use rangefinders during competition. They do, however, use them in practice rounds to record important yardages for use later.

Off-Brand Rangefinders

When shopping for any product – such as if you’re on the lookout for the best mallet putter or anything else – there is always the temptation to buy an off-brand in order to save some money. Nearly every name brand product in existence faces competition from an off-brand imitator who offers to provide the same basic functions for a lower cost. When it comes to rangefinders, is it a good idea to go in this direction in order to save a few bucks? Well, that all depends on your needs, your budget, and more.

First, the basic function of a golf rangefinder is extremely simple – to measure the distance, in yards, between two locations. So, as you stand in the fairway next to your ball, the rangefinder is tasked with measuring the distance between your ball and the flag (or any other object that you are going to use for a target). With that in mind, it might seem like any old rangefinder could do the job. After all, if it can measure distance, that’s the end of the story – right? Not necessarily.

Considerations when finding the best golf rangefinders

You might be able to locate an off-brand rangefinder which can measure distance accurately, but there are other capabilities that need to be considered. First, how durable is the product? You aren’t going to intentionally ‘beat up’ your rangefinder, but it is likely to get knocked around a bit during the course of a round (especially if you walk the course). You don’t want to purchase a rangefinder only to have it break down after a couple of rounds, so durability is a real concern with lesser brands.

Golf Rangefinder ReviewsAlso, you want to think about the lifespan of the battery included with the rangefinder at purchase. If you are going to have to buy a new battery in short order, you might end up spending just as much money as you would have spent buying a model from a respected brand leader. To determine how long the battery may last in a given model, you can use the reviews found online from previous buyers to gain some insight. If battery life – or any other specific point – seems to be a problem, you might want to think twice about your purchase.

The last thing to think about in this debate is the matter of just how much money you stand to save. Is the savings really going to be worth dealing with a lower quality product? For example, if you are considering two options – a brand name model at $200 and an off-brand option at $150 – is saving $50 enough to make it worth downgrading to a lesser product? Only you can make that choice for yourself, but the answer is often going to be ‘no’ for many golfers. If you are going to bother investing in a rangefinder to improve your experience on the course, it usually will make sense to buy a product from a trusted and respected brand.

Doesn’t the Course Give You Distances Already?

Well, yes, it does. However, those distances have some limitations. First, they are only provided at certain increments – often at 100/150/200. So, if you are around 125 yards from the green, you are going to have to walk 25 yards in either direction to confirm your yardage. Also, those numbers are only measured to the middle of the green, as they cannot take into account the location of the flag on that particular day.  While some yardages will be provided on the course, a rangefinder is better.

Getting the Most Out of Your Rangefinder

Golf Rangefinder View

Generally speaking, rangefinders are quite easy to use. Once you have a little bit of time to get comfortable with the device, you should be able to pick out distances quickly and easily. With that said, there are a few tips we can offer to help you get the most out of owning one of these units. Check out the advice below to make sure you are using your rangefinder to its full potential.

  • Measure more than the flag. Sure, you are going to use your rangefinder to obtain yardages to the flag, but you can do much more than that with your laser. Also use your device to measure distances to things like trees, bunker lips, the edge of a water hazard, and more. For instance, if you are playing a dogleg par four and need to know how far to hit your drive, measure a tree on the other side of the dogleg and subtract 10 or 15 yards to come up with a logical number.
  • Trust the number. Your rangefinder is going to be far more accurate than your eye. Some players make the mistake of not trusting their rangefinder, instead deciding that the target ‘looks’ like it’s farther away or closer on a given shot. Don’t make this mistake. Trust the technology over your own estimate and hit your shots accordingly
  • Use it for a layup. When playing a long par five, you might not think to pull your rangefinder out for measurement on your second shot. However, even if you are going to lay up, it is still worth your time to determine how far you are from the target. The measurement you take can be helpful in deciding how far to hit your second shot in order to set up an easy third. For instance, if you find that you are 320 yards from the flag, and you want to have 100 yards for your approach, you will know that 220 yards is the ideal distance for your second shot.
  • Collect a dollar each time a buddy wants the yardage. You pay off the rangefinder in no time.

Check out similar buying guides –

Best Golf Push Carts
Best Golf Training Aids
Best Golf Swing Analyzers
Best Golf Balls for Distance

Best Golf GPS Devices

The most important piece of information you need to have for any given shot out on the course is the distance between your ball and the target. Without this crucial number, you will have no way of knowing which club you should take from your bag, or what kind of swing you should make. Yes, there are other factors to consider such as the wind and perhaps elevation change, but the yardage you are facing is by far the biggest piece of the puzzle. With an accurate yardage for every shot throughout the round, you will be a big step closer to improved performance.

Fortunately, since we live in an age of incredible technology, there are now a number of different ways to get yardages quickly and easily on the golf course. For many golfers today, the technology of choice is a GPS device. By using a GPS unit that has been designed specifically for golf, you can get the yardage to the middle of the green (and other important points on the course) in an instant. GPS devices are affordable, highly accurate, easy to use, and they even save time as you play. In other words, adding one of these devices to your collection of golf equipment is an easy decision.

But which one should you buy? Well, that decision is not so easy. Fortunately, we have done a bit of the work for you. Below, you will find a list of six of the best golf GPS devices on the market today. After reviewing this list, there is a good chance that you will know which one you would like to purchase for yourself.

Bushnell Neo Ghost Golf GPS

If it is simplicity that you are looking for in a golf GPS device, this first option on our list should grab your attention. The Bushnell Neo Ghost Golf GPS is compact, very easy to use, and offers all of the information you need. More than 30,000 golf courses come preloaded on this unit, which offers distances to the front, center, and back of greens. You can play up to three rounds on a single charge, and the whole thing will even fit in your pocket. Thanks to its compact design, this is also one of the least expensive options on our list, as you can frequently find it for less than $50.

Features:

  • Pre-loaded with over 35,000 courses
  • Front, center, back distances on every hole
  • Up to four hazards per hole
  • No membership required
  • Auto hole advance
  • Auto course recognition
  • Display area: 35mmX35mm
  • Dimensions: 2.2 x 2.2 x 0.67 in
  • 14 hour battery life
  • 4 hour recharge time
  • NOT waterproof

 

Izzo Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder

izzo swami golf gps

Moving on to a GPS device from Izzo, this next option is slightly bigger than the Bushnell Neo Ghost, but it is still a compact, handheld unit. You will also find more than 30,000 courses loaded on this model, which is called the Izzo Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder, and you will find the display easy to read even in the middle of the day. Again here you will see distances to the front, center, and back of the green, and there is a function that you can use to measure the distance of your shots.

Features:

  • Pre-loaded with over 30,000 courses
  • No membership required
  • Large 1.8 in color display
  • Course map editing feature
  • 4 different languages
  • Front, middle, back of green distances
  • Shows distances in yards or meters
  • Battery lasts up to 2 rounds
  • Waterproof
  • Automatic hole advance
  • Automatically recognizes 5 nearest courses to you

Skygolf Skycaddie Touch Gps

sky caddie golf gps

SkyCaddie was one of the very first players in the golf GPS space, so it only makes sense that they would be included on our list. This model, the Skygolf Skycaddie Touch GPS, is one of the most expensive on our list, but you get a long list of features for that price. To start, there is a 3’’ color display to provide you with all of the information you need to plan successful shots. You get an ‘eagle eye’ view of every hole as you play, so you can access distance information to a variety of points around the course, rather than just the green itself. Things like bunkers, water hazards, layup areas, and more are all marked within the Skycaddie system, meaning you will have more information at your disposal than with other, less-expensive devices.

Features:

  • Over 35,000 courses
  • Can measure to any point of hole with touch screen
  • Automatic hole recognition
  • Automatic Course recognition
  • Eagle eye of every hole
  • Distances to hazards and dog legs
  • Shows exact shape of green to your angle of approach
  • Digital scorecard and tracks statistics
  • Can measure distance you hit a club to perfect distances
  • Membership IS required
  • 3 inch screen
  • Water resistant
  • Demensions: 4 in X 2.3 in X 7 in

Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS

garmin approach golf gps

If you are someone who likes to put your trust in respected brand names when you make a purchase, it is hard to go wrong with Garmin. This is a company that has long been a leader in the area of GPS devices, and they have been using their experience to provide quality golf GPS units for several years.

The Approach G8 Golf Course GPS is one of the best devices in their line, and it comes with a premium price tag to match its performance. Among the many benefits that you will find when using this device includes the ability to adjust for slope, club advice based on your recorded shot distances, and automatic course updating with a Wi-Fi connection. You will likely need to spend well beyond $300 to purchase this golf GPS, but you will receive one of the very best units on the market in exchange for your money.

Features:

  • Over 40,000 courses pre loaded
  • 3 in color screen
  • No membership required
  • Distances adjust for uphill/downhill slope
  • Locates pin even if you cannot see it
  • 15 hour battery
  • With a wifi connection, allows you to receive emails, messages, etc.
  • Makes club recommendations based on previous swings
  • Front, middle, back of green distances
  • Digital scorecard with options for stroke play, match play, skins, or Stableford
  • Suggests lay up archs at 100, 150, 250 yds, etc.

Garmin Approach G6 Handheld Touchscreen Golf Course GPS

garmin appraoch gps 6

To take advantage of many of the great features offered in the Garmin Approach G8, while also saving a bit of money, you may want to consider choosing the Garmin Approach G6. This model has a lot to like, including a 2.6’’ touchscreen display, an adjustable backlight, and more than 25,000 courses preloaded. This is still one of the more expensive GPS options on the market – with a retail price around $200 – but it does offer the kind of performance that you would expect for that cost. This is a GPS device meant for the serious golfer who doesn’t want to quite spend the cash required for the Approach G8.

Features:

  • Pre loaded with over 40,000 courses
  • 15 hour battery life
  • Ability to move pin to where you see it for precise distance
  • Digital scorecard with options for stroke play, match play, skins, or Stableford
  • Suggests averages for distances on each of your clubs based on performance
  • Suggests lay up archs at 100, 150, 250 yds, etc.
  • Track statistics live through round including: putts per hole, clubs used, distances hit, fairways hit and missed to the left or right, greens in regulation, time to play and distance traveled

Arccos On-Course Stats Tracking System

arccos golf tracking

For the final product on our list, we are going to go in a bit of a different direction. Rather than a simple GPS device which provides you with yardage information as you play, this last product is a game tracking system which aims to make you better over time. It is called Arccos, and it works together with your phone to gather data about your game from the first hole on through to the last. Sensors are connected to the grip end of each of your clubs, and those sensors transmit information about your shots back to the app that you have downloaded on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible). If you are committed to improving your game over the long haul, you are going to need information about your strengths and weaknesses on the course – and this system can gather all of that data for you, without interfering with your enjoyment of the round of golf.

Features:

  • Tracks info for GIR’s
  • Tracks precise distances automatically after every shot
  • Shows misses left, right, long, short for approach shots
  • Calculates different handicaps for different parts of your game
  • Calculates your overall handicap based on strokes without you entering your score after every hole (does so by monitoring your strokes)

GolfBuddy VS4 Golf GPS

GolfBuddy VS4 Golf GPS

The GolfBuddy VS4 Golf GPS is a talking GPS device. Click the button and hear the distance to the front/middle/back of the green. You can click the device on your hat or bet or keep it in your pocket and look at the screen.

There are a lot of attachments that allow for versatility with the GolfBuddy. You can hang it from your belt, wear it like a watch, clip it to your hat, etc.

Features:

  • Replaceable 10-hour battery
  • Water resistant
  • 8 Languages (I bet no one on here speaks multiple langauges, but just in case the languages are English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean.
  • Preloaded with 38,000 courses around the globe
  • 10 hour battery life
  • Automatic course recognition
  • Automatic hole recognition
  • Distances to front, middle, back of green
  • Dimensions: 1.76”×1.78”×0.49

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I put together a guide on the top golf rangefinders. Check it out if you want more info before buying a rangefinder.