Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide: A Comprehensive Guide for 2023

Imagine stepping onto the golf course with the confidence of knowing the distances to every target with pinpoint accuracy. With a reliable golf rangefinder, that dream can become a reality. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to shave strokes off your game or a beginner seeking an edge, understanding the features and capabilities of a golf rangefinder is essential to making the right choice. In this comprehensive Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide, we’ll help you navigate the world of golf rangefinders and find the perfect device to elevate your game.

Short Summary

  • Golf rangefinders offer accurate measurements of distances on the golf course via laser beams or satellites.

  • Consider accuracy, precision, speed and ease of use, durability, slope measurement and waterproofing when selecting a product for your individual needs.

  • Be aware of USGA Rule 14-3 regarding tournament play to avoid penalties or disqualification.

Understanding Golf Rangefinders

Bushnell laser rangefinders including the Pro X3, V5 Tour, and V5 Tour Shift

Golf rangefinders are devices that provide accurate measurements of distances on the golf course. They come in two main types: laser rangefinders and GPS rangefinders. Laser rangefinders measure distances via a laser beam, making them highly accurate and precise.

GPS rangefinders, on the other hand, calculate yardage using satellites, and while they may not be as accurate as laser rangefinders, they offer other features such as scorekeeping, club selection tracking, and drive distance measurement.

No matter your preference, a golf rangefinder can give you a significant advantage on the course and help you make better decisions during your round.

Laser Rangefinders

Laser rangefinders function similarly to binoculars, allowing you to look through an eyepiece, focus on a particular spot on the fairway or green, and activate a laser to calculate the distance to the landmark. These devices boast an impressive accuracy range of +/- 1 yard, ensuring that you have the information you need to choose the right club and execute your shot with confidence.

Speed is also crucial, as a sluggish rangefinder can hinder the progress of your team. Some popular golf laser rangefinder brands include Bushnell, Garmin, Blue Tees, Nikon, Golf Buddy, Precision Pro, Leupold, and Callaway, with Bushnell Golf being highly regarded for its quality and innovation.

GPS Rangefinders

GPS rangefinders offer a different approach to measuring distances on the golf course. Instead of using a laser beam, they rely on satellites to determine yardage. While their accuracy may not be as precise as laser rangefinders, GPS devices offer additional capabilities such as keeping score for a golfing foursome, tracking club selection, and measuring drive distances.

When selecting a GPS device for golf, precision is the most critical attribute, but it’s also essential to be aware of their potential to deviate from their intended accuracy by a few yards.

Key Features to Consider When Buying a Golf Rangefinder

When shopping for a golf rangefinder, it’s crucial to consider key features such as accuracy and precision, speed and ease of use, durability and build quality, slope measurement, waterproof and weather resistance, and advanced targeting technologies. These features will not only help you select the most suitable rangefinder for your needs, but also ensure that you invest in a device that will enhance your golfing experience and improve your performance on the course.

Accuracy and Precision

In the world of golf rangefinders, accuracy refers to the ability of a device to determine the exact distance to a target, while precision denotes the capability of a rangefinder to consistently measure the same distance to a target. When evaluating potential models, it’s essential to prioritize accuracy within one yard of the target, as this will provide you with the information you need to make the best possible club selection and shot execution.

Slope technology is another crucial aspect of accuracy and precision in golf rangefinders, as it adjusts yardage measurements to take into consideration any uphill or downhill slopes on the course. While the slope feature can be beneficial during practice rounds to factor in the uphill or downhill trajectory of a shot for a more accurate yardage reading, it cannot be used during tournament play.

To ensure your rangefinder remains accurate, it’s recommended to regularly test the device and verify that the readings are correct.

Speed and Ease of Use

The concept of speed and ease of use in golf rangefinders relates to the time taken for the rangefinder to lock into a target, as well as the features that facilitate this process. Fast focus systems, for example, provide instantaneous results, ensuring no disruption to the game. Scan speed is an important factor when considering a golf rangefinder. It determines how quickly the rangefinder will lock into a target. Brands like Bushnell offer quick focus technology, allowing you to acquire yardage quickly and eliminate any delays in play.

When considering the speed and ease of use of a rangefinder, it’s important to look for features that make it simple and efficient to operate. Quick focus, intuitive controls, and a clear display can all contribute to a more enjoyable experience on the course.

Ultimately, the faster and more user-friendly a rangefinder is, the more seamlessly it will integrate into your game, allowing you to focus on what’s most important: playing your best golf.

Durability and Build Quality

Investing in a golf rangefinder with a high build quality and durability is essential, as you want a device that can withstand the rigors of the golf course and provide accurate measurements for years to come. Factors to consider when evaluating durability and build quality include battery life and need for replacement batteries, overall build quality, longevity, and functionality.

Waterproof and weather-resistant features can also contribute to a rangefinder’s durability, ensuring that it can handle rain, snow, and other elements without being damaged.

Additional Features Worth Considering

Beyond the basic features of accuracy, speed, and durability, there are several additional features worth considering when purchasing a golf rangefinder. These include slope measurement, waterproofing, and advanced targeting technologies.

Each of these features can enhance your golfing experience and help you make more informed decisions on the course. Let’s take a closer look at these features and how they can benefit your game.

Slope Measurement

The slope function on a rangefinder assists in calculating the exact yardage required for a shot when considering the elevation difference between the fairway and the hole. For advanced golfers, having the slope function for shots inside 150 yards can significantly improve the likelihood of making birdie putts from shorter distances.

However, it’s important to note that the slope feature cannot be used during tournament play. To accommodate the rules of tournament play, some rangefinders come equipped with slope-switch technology, which allows golfers to conveniently turn off the slope feature on their rangefinder with a simple switch. Bushnell, for example, provides this feature in some of their models. This enables golfers to use the same rangefinder for both practice rounds and tournaments, ensuring they have access to accurate distance information in all situations.

Waterproof and Weather Resistance

When it comes to golf rangefinders, waterproof and weather resistant features are paramount, as they are frequently utilized in outdoor settings. It’s essential to invest in a rangefinder that is equipped with waterproof and weather-resistant features to ensure that it is not damaged by rain, snow, or other elements. Waterproof and weather resistance levels range from IPX0 (no protection) to IPX8 (fully waterproof), so it’s important to review the product specifications to determine the appropriate level of protection for your needs.

In addition to waterproof and weather resistance ratings, it’s also important to consider the overall durability and build quality of the rangefinder. A device with a sturdy construction and a reliable waterproof rating will ensure that your rangefinder remains functional and accurate in various weather conditions, allowing you to focus on your game and make informed decisions on the course.

Advanced Targeting Technologies

Golf rangefinders with advanced targeting technologies typically feature laser beams, GPS, and advanced pinsensor technology that enable precise distance measurement to a target, regardless of whether the target is uphill or downhill.

By incorporating these advanced technologies, a rangefinder can provide golfers with the most accurate and reliable distance information possible, helping them make better club selections and execute their shots with confidence.

Magnetic Mount

The added convenience of being able to stick your rangefinder to your golf cart is actually pretty nice. Most decent rangefinders on the market today have this feature.

Top Golf Rangefinder Brands to Keep an Eye On

As you explore the world of golf rangefinders, it’s important to keep an eye on top brands such as Bushnell, Garmin, Nikon, BlueTees, and Precision Golf. Each of these brands is renowned for its accuracy, precision, and user-friendly devices, making them excellent choices for golfers seeking to improve their game.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these brands and the rangefinders they offer.


Bushnell is a renowned brand that specializes in sporting optics and outdoor products, such as high-performance golf GPS & laser rangefinders. Known for their quality and innovation, Bushnell offers a range of rangefinders, including laser, GPS, and hybrid models.

In addition to their range of optics, Bushnell also offers binoculars, spotting scopes, trail cameras, and more. With a strong reputation and a wide selection of products, Bushnell is a top choice for golfers seeking accurate and reliable rangefinders.

Related – Bushnell Pro X3 Rangefinder Review


Garmin is a company that manufactures GPS golf devices and watches, which offer precise distances and other features for thousands of preloaded courses. The Garmin Approach Z82, for example, is a golf GPS laser range finder that offers 2-D course overlays and provides accuracy within 10 inches of the flag.

In addition to their rangefinders, Garmin provides features including hazard and layup distances, digital scorecards, and shot tracking. Garmin rangefinders are allowed in tournaments provided that they adhere to USGA Rule 14-3 and any applicable local rules or exceptions.


Nikon is a renowned company in the imaging industry, known for its cutting-edge cameras and photography equipment as well as innovative products and services. Nikon offers a selection of rangefinders, including laser, GPS, and hybrid models, all of which are known for their accuracy, precision, and user-friendly nature.

Nikon rangefinders also offer features such as slope measurement, waterproof and weather resistance, and advanced targeting technologies. With a strong reputation for quality and innovation, Nikon is a top choice for golfers seeking a reliable rangefinder.


BlueTees is a highly-rated golf rangefinder, as noted by MyGolfSpy and Golf Digest. Offering a range of features such as the ability to measure in yards and meters, toggle mode, and slope functionality, BlueTees rangefinders are a popular choice among golfers.

The rangefinder has three different modes: scan, golf, and speed, and is available in three models: the Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 Max. While the BlueTees rangefinder is pricier than other options on the market, its accuracy, precision, and ease of use make it a top choice for golfers seeking a high-quality device.

Precision Golf

Although the term “Precision Golf” may not be a specific brand or product, the concept of accuracy and precision in golf rangefinders is essential. Brands like Bushnell, Garmin, Nikon, and BlueTees are known for their accuracy and precision in golf rangefinders, ensuring that golfers have the most accurate information to make the best club selection and execute their shots confidently.

By prioritizing accuracy and precision when selecting a golf rangefinder, you can improve your game and enhance your overall golfing experience.

Rangefinder Legality and Tournament Play

When it comes to using rangefinders in tournament play, it’s important to be aware of the regulations set forth by the United States Golf Association (USGA). USGA Rule 14-3 governs the legality of rangefinders in tournament play, with local rules and exceptions allowing for the use of distance-measuring devices in certain tournaments.

Knowing these rules and ensuring that your rangefinder adheres to them can help you avoid penalties and disqualifications during tournament play.

USGA Rule 14-3

USGA Rule 14-3 forbids the use of any artificial device or unusual equipment for assessing distance or course conditions that could influence a player’s play. Such devices are not allowed. This includes the use of laser rangefinders during a stipulated round. The purpose of this rule is to ensure fairness and uphold the integrity of the game, as well as to maintain the traditional challenge of making club selections and determining distances based on skill, experience, and judgment.

However, it’s important to note that there are local rules and exceptions to USGA Rule 14-3, allowing for the use of distance-measuring devices in certain tournaments. Be sure to check with the tournament committee or local golf course to determine if any such rules or exceptions apply.

Additionally, rangefinders are permitted for use by golf pros during practice and Pro-Am rounds prior to the start of the tournament.

Local Rules and Exceptions

Local rules and exceptions in golf refer to modifications or additional rules adopted by a golf course or tournament committee for general play or a particular competition. These rules may include allowable exceptions or modifications to the standard rules of golf, which may be specific to the particular golf course or tournament.

By understanding and adhering to these local rules and exceptions, you can ensure that you are playing within the guidelines set forth by the governing bodies of golf and maintain the fairness and enjoyment of the game for all players.


In conclusion, selecting the right golf rangefinder can greatly enhance your golfing experience and help you improve your game. By understanding the different types of rangefinders, considering key features such as accuracy, speed, and durability, and keeping an eye on top brands like Bushnell, Garmin, Nikon, BlueTees, and Precision Golf, you can make an informed decision and invest in a device that will serve you well on the course. Additionally, being aware of rangefinder legality and tournament play regulations can help you avoid penalties and play within the rules. So, take the time to research and find the best golf rangefinder for your needs, and elevate your game to new heights.

RelatedTips on how to use a golf rangefinder

RelatedHow do rangefinders work

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a rangefinder with slope worth it?

Overall, a rangefinder with slope function is worth it as it allows golfers to accurately calculate the precise distance they need to hit in order to reach the flag. It also helps train their ability to adjust distances in different conditions.

As such, investing in an optical rangefinder with slope is recommended.

Which is better laser rangefinder or GPS?

Overall, laser rangefinders are a much more precise and accurate option for measuring distances. With greater accuracy, rangefinders provide golfers with peace of mind when deciding the correct club to use for their shot.

For these reasons, laser rangefinders are superior to GPS in terms of accuracy and precision.

What is the difference between a hunting range finder and a golf range finder?

The primary difference between a hunting rangefinder and a golf rangefinder is range: hunting rangefinders are designed to measure distances of 1300+ yards, while golf rangefinders generally have a maximum target range of around 600 yards.

Additionally, most golf courses don’t exceed a to-the-pin reading of 350 yards, meaning that golf rangefinders rarely need to extend beyond that range.

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