What to Look for in a Golf Rangefinder

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If you’ve ever used a rangefinder during a round of golf, you’ll already know how beneficial they are to help hit your target while avoiding hazards on the course. If you haven’t used one, and/or are new to the tricks of the trade, consider adding one of these game-changers to your golf inventory. To aid in your investigation for the best tool for the job, check out our tips on what to look for in a golf rangefinder. 

Are Rangefinders Really Necessary?

From amateurs to professional golfers, you’ll have no trouble finding players that carry laser rangefinders to acquire better accuracy and the exact distance to the flag in order to improve their game. Why are these handy devices so crucial, you might ask? Well, if you’re not sure of how far you need to send your ball, you’ll never be able to lower your score.

Rangefinders will inspire confidence by removing your doubts and giving you accurate yardage to improve your long-distance shots. For laser devices, all you need to do is aim it at your target like you’re using a set of binoculars, lock that in, and it will provide you with the distance to that specific spot.

One of the biggest challenges for beginners to face is determining distance. It can be incredibly difficult to figure out how much distance is needed to reach the green, depending on what the slope of the fairway is. For instance, if you know the maximum distance you hit with a certain club, but your shot goes way off the back of the green on one hole and falls short on another, which appears to be the same distance, chances are you simply didn’t factor in the slope. If the hole is uphill, it adds yardage to the total distance needed, and vice versa. Rangefinders can remove any of this guesswork from your rounds.

Additionally, rangefinders can make your game quicker by speedily determining distance rather than waiting for you to estimate it. It also alleviates the stress of choosing which club to use, as it will let you know how far away the hole is and (possibly) if it is up or downhill, too.

Now that you likely agree you need one of these devices, you’re probably wondering where to start. Before you begin your hunt, learn what to look for in a golf rangefinder.

GPS Device or Laser Rangefinder

If you’re unsure of dishing out dollars on a GPS device or rangefinder, you could introduce yourself to the idea by using your smartphone’s GPS system or download an app with golf GPS software. They won’t be as precise, and you might need to map the course yourself, but it is a cheaper option than diving directly into expensive top-tier rangefinders. 

Although laser rangefinders are undeniably accurate, GPS devices tend to have a wider range of uses. For example, a GPS watch or device could also keep score, measure your drive, or track your club selection. The downside is they tend to be less accurate than laser rangefinders due to their technology; GPS devices depend on a satellite to determine your distance, which can vary by a few yards. Moreover, they will be rendered completely useless if you have little to no satellite signal, and you need to download maps for them to work properly.

Golf rangefinders don’t require any signal from satellites or downloading of maps and are unbelievably straightforward to use; just point and shoot. On the other hand, rangefinders can trip up when there isn’t a clear line of sight. So, if there’s a bunch of trees in between you and your target, or it’s a rainy, foggy day, for instance, it might struggle to measure the distance.

Rangefinder Features


The main reason for needing one of these devices is to acquire precise yardage. If you don’t get an accurate device, what is the point? So, search for a rangefinder that will provide you with precise measures within a yard of the target.

Slope Reading

Not every device has this feature, but it might be the most desirable one on the list. Slope functions take elevation differences into account to ensure exact yardage to the hole, especially on those short distance shots.

Level of Magnification

Comparable to binoculars, you will need high-quality lenses to ascertain distance to targets. You’ll be able to check a rangefinders optics by how much magnification it offers – from 0 to 7x magnification. Obviously, the better the magnification, the clearer the focus on the target, and the more accurate your shot will be.

Battery Life

Although rangefinders don’t tend to use much power, make sure you get one that has a decent battery life and also contains rechargeable batteries or easily bought replacements.


If you’ve ever tried to take a steady picture while your camera is zoomed in all the way, you’ll understand how important stabilization is. Shaky hands can lead to difficulty connecting with a target, especially from a significant distance. Look for a rangefinder with stabilization technology and/or continuous scan mode to solve any shakiness issues.

Scan Speed

The scan speed, also referred to as the time it takes to lock into a target is another factor to consider. A higher processing speed will help it find its target quicker.


Basic rangefinders will cover roughly 400 yards, but you’ll also find fancier ones covering up to 1500 yards. Check that the distance range suits your needs before purchasing your device.


If you’re an avid golfer that doesn’t like to give up a game due to precipitation, look for a rangefinder that is waterproof and thus, safe to use in any weather.

What to Look for in a Golf Rangefinder – Conclusion

Whether you opt for a GPS device or a laser rangefinder, there’s no doubt they’ll help your game. The best choices will be the top-of-the-line devices with all the bells and whistles, but even the simplest GPS watch can drastically change the way you look at your target. By removing any guesswork, golf rangefinders will not only improve your confidence in your shots, but your overall scores too.

Last update on 2024-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API