Perhaps the most important aspect of golfing is knowing the distance to the target. This is where rangefinders come in handy since they measure that distance. There are two types of models – laser and GPS. Golf laser rangefinders determine distance by projecting a laser beam to travel from the unit to the target and back and calculate how long it took. Golf GPS rangefinders calculate the distance to the target through GPS satellite signals just like your car uses. Laser models are more accurate, but also more expensive. GPS units also rely on preloaded course information, without that it would be useless.
Some features you should look for when buying a new version include accuracy and range, size, ease of use, warranty, and pin seeker or prism technology which helps you target the flag. You should also be aware of slope versions which calculate distance by factoring in the slope angle, but these models are not legal for tournament play.
Below you can read our reviews of the best golf rangefinders.
Our selection for the best golf laser rangefinder goes to the Bushnell Tour Z6 which sells for $400 and also ranks as the top rated model by users available on Amazon. The PinSeeker with JOLT technology makes it easy to acquire the flag and sends short vibrations so you know it is locked onto the flag. It delivers 5-1300 yard performance with around up to 450 yards to the flag. The accuracy is unbelievable with any range under 125 yards displayed to the 1/10th of a yard. Other features include 6x magnification, waterproof, vivid display technology for viewing in all lighting conditions, and it is legal for tournament play.
We highly recommend this model for all golfers, although for casual users there are cheaper options.
Selling for around $370 our second choice is the Leupold GX-3i2 which is also very popular among its users with a 4.7 overall rating on Amazon. For courses that use prism technology, this Leupold unit with Prism Lock Technology will lock onto that prism, make an audible beep, and display the distance which speeds up your game. The max range is up to 800 yards, with pin range up to 450 yards, and readouts up to 1/10th of a yard. It is also waterproof and USGA legal.
Overall the Leupold GX-3i2 is another solid model that we would not hesitate to recommend to all golfers, although again there are some cheaper options available.
The number one best-selling golf laser rangefinder is the Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Edition available for $300. The main differences between this model and the Z6 are that this one is rainproof but not waterproof, it does not have Vivid Display Technology, and it does not have the Extreme Speed Precision 2 technology. It does have a max range of up to 1000 yards and 300 yards to the flag with accuracy of +/- 1 yard regardless of reflectors or prisms.
The Bushnell V3 Jolt still works great and costs over $100 less than the more feature rich V6. We recommend this model for anyone who want a great unit, but would like to save a little bit of money from the premium choices.
You can buy the Bushnell Tour V3 Slope Edition for around $400. It is basically the same as the V3 Jolt, but it has slope compensation which adjusts swing yardage based on the degree of the slope. Because of the slope, it is not tournament legal.
We only recommend the Bushnell Tour V3 Slope Edition if you are an amateur golfer and do not need to play in any official tournaments of any kind.
If you are looking for a solid budget golf laser rangefinder then perhaps you should consider the Breaking 80 with a pricetag of $180. It has a measurement range of up to 440 yards with 6x magnification. It also uses PinSensor technology which helps you identify the flag with woods in the background. It might not have as many advanced features as some other models, but it is still really accurate and at this price it is hard to beat.
While the other items on our list have been laser models, we wanted to at least alert you to the Bushnell NEO-X Golf GPS Rangefinder Watch, which is our best gps rangefinder and sells for $150. It comes preloaded with over 30000 courses and displays front/center/back distances to the green, auto course/auto hole recognition, and one button shot distance measurement. GPS is not as accurate as laser, but we found the watch to be accurate to about +/- 3 yards.
While not built specifically for golf, the Nikon ACULON AL11 is an oustanding value for laser rangefinders coming it at a cost of the lowest on our list at just $140. It is accurate within +/- 1 yard out to about 550 yards. It is also very compact measuring just 3.6″ x 2.9″ x 1.5″ in size, which means it is easy to take along with you whether golfing or shooting.