No matter if you are a beginner level or professional level golfer, you will always need to improve your skills to the next level. For practice purposes, you will need a golf rangefinder to improve your skills. A golf rangefinder is not just only for the amateurs. However, it is true that when you have enough experience then, you won't need a golf rangefinder as you can roughly estimate the distance without it. And new golfers can do many things than just measuring distance. But how does it work? Will this give you an edge on the course? At present times, there are two types of widely used golf rangefinders, Ledger and GPS. There is also another one, which is an optical range finder. But this is not reasonably accurate like GPS and laser.
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So if you have no or little idea about how golf rangefinder works and how they can be beneficial for you for your golf game, then you have come to the right place. I will go through the golf rangefinder technology and help you to choose which type can help you in your golf game.
So how does a golf rangefinder work? This ultimately depends on which golf rangefinder you will select for you. The two types are – GPS and laser that I already mentioned earlier. Laser rangefinder uses an invisible infrared laser ray to read distance; on the other hand, GPS use satellite signal and preloaded maps to determine the length. Since the GPS devices have preloaded maps, so the rangefinder can calculate the distance from the golfer to the flag at a fast rate. However, since GPS rangefinder depends on preloaded maps, so you might not be able to use it at every course. This can be difficult if you travel abroad or visit a course that doesn't have a rangefinder database. But in the case of a laser rangefinder, you can use it at any course around the world, and you don’t need to wait for a new course to download. But both types of rangefinders have some advantages and disadvantages. Both are easy to use and accurate. So it depends on the personal choice and preference that which type would be better.
Golf rangefinders are great for practice purposes and even for the real game. And the latest model golf rangefinders have some cool features that will help you to improve your golf skills. If you are not acquainted with how these devices can work for you, I will give you a thorough idea about these technologies in this article. So let’s get started!
Laser Rangefinder Technology
So far, laser rangefinders are the most popular, why?
GPS rangefinders are faster than laser, but the thing is you can use a laser rangefinder anywhere in the world, and this the main cons of GPS rangefinder. GPS rangefinders need to depend on preloaded maps of local golf courses. If you go into the course without having maps on your rangefinder, then you can still download the map for the course. But your rangefinder is incapable of locating the course, and then you have nothing to do. So you can see there is a limitation of using GPS rangefinder. Both rangefinders can work by calculating the distance between the golfer and the next hole, and that makes it easy for the player to determine how far and hard they need to hit the ball.
How a Laser Rangefinder Works
To use the rangefinder, you just need to point the handheld device at the target and then squeeze the trigger. When you do it, it will send the laser beam to your intended target. Within a few seconds, distance reading will be available. The issue is both ease of use and accuracy. Some models you can find are reliable, flexible to use, and accurate, if you use a low priced golf rangefinder, locking into the target might be a hassle. If you don't lock into the target accurately, then you will see an inaccurate reading or error message.
The optical rangefinder is not popular, like – GPS or laser rangefinder. But they can provide reliable performance. The optical device has a couple of lenses positioned at the one end of the rangefinder. You can zoom in the lens to the target and then convert it to distance by using a built-in scale. The accuracy of the golf rangefinders depends on how well you focus the device to the targeted area. Regarding the efficiency, the optical rangefinder is not that good like GPS or laser, that's why many golfers don't prefer to use it.
There is a limitation of using GPS rangefinders that I have mentioned earlier. And for using this type of rangefinder, you need to pay the monthly subscription fee, because this rangefinder works based on the satellite signal. This type of rangefinder is known as a faster rangefinder, but the issue is you need to download several maps for local courses. If you want to measure the distance to the next hole, then you need to take the rangefinder and press the trigger pointing to the target. GPS rangefinders have the distance information from hole to hole because these devices store maps of various golf courses. And that is why GPS rangefinder is easy to use and fast compare to the other types. Once you target the hole, it will automatically determine the distance to the next hole.
The most popular option is the laser rangefinder because you don’t have to think about downloading new maps if you are out of state or out of town. And unlike GPS, you also don’t have to pay the monthly subscription fee. So when the golfers intend to choose a rangefinder with convenient options and affordable prices, they want laser rangefinder. The laser device uses lasers to read the distances, and the process sounds a bit complicated, but the process is simple. Previously I just briefly discussed the laser technology, but now I will break down all the features so that you can understand well.
A laser rangefinder has the same sort of technology as an autofocus camera. By using an autofocus camera, you can project the laser beam to your desired target. The laser ray hits the targeted area and reflects the camera. Then the camera sensor detects it. To calculate the distance and internal chip is used that measures the amount of time it takes the laser to return back to the device. In the old days, the autofocus camera technology was not that effective and also not that accurate. But since the technology has been advancing day by day, new models of autofocus camera and laser rangefinders make this device accurate and faster than before.
Is Laser Rangefinder Accurate?
Just like the autofocus camera, laser rangefinder uses the same technology to indicate the distance from hole to hole. The laser ray will reach your desired targeted area, reflects the golf rangefinder, and you will find the calculated distance to another type of desired target or the next hole.
A laser rangefinder is very fast. The laser beam moves at a speed of light, and that is why you will get a distance reading within a few seconds. The new rangefinders also provide better accuracy compared to the models produced a few years back. On average, even the below standard laser rangefinders have an accuracy reading within one yard. Some models are more accurate than other models. But the price of these devices is a bit high. However, if you play golf seriously and play in the tournament, you should buy a model with higher accuracy.
Limitations of Laser Rangefinder
Each model that you will see has a range rating. And from this specification, you will know how far the beam can reach. Most of the models, on average, have a range of four to five hundred yards. High priced models have a range of eight hundred to one thousand yards. But remember that if the price of any device is high, it doesn’t mean that the device is more powerful. Instead, it indicates the quality of software and hardware the device uses. More top-priced laser golf rangefinders have top-notch technology. The computer chips and sensors provide more accurate performance. These devices also can bypass obstacles in the rangefinder's directions to give the real distance from the golfer to the target. The rangefinders with a lower price might struggle on some particular courses that have some obstacles like – brush or trees.
Which Type of Rangefinder Should You Choose?
After reading all these, you might have a question in your mind that which type of rangefinder you can choose. However, this is a debatable question. GPS users say that GPS devices are more accurate since it has preloaded maps of golf courses. But the thing is not all the GPS rangefinders keep the map database up to date. It means that if you change the course, you might not get accurate readings. On the other hand, laser rangefinders are more versatile and can work anywhere because it doesn’t depend on preloaded maps.
Some Common Questions
Do professional players use golf rangefinders?
Yes, they do. You might not see the players using it in any tournament, but you can find them using it in practice. Players use rangefinders as part of training tools that will you learn how to measure the distance better.
Can I Use a Rangefinder for Hunting for Golf?
You can! These days you can find many rangefinders have the settings for golf and hunting. So basically, what you need to look for a rangefinder that has the aptitude to provide accurate readings and one that is capable of hitting your desired target location without any obstacles that create an impact on the results. If you are looking for a rangefinder for golf, then I recommend selecting the one that is specially made for golf since this can provide you the necessary features needed for golf.
Are Rangefinders Tournament Legal?
Well, the answer is yes and no. Typically the modes with slope feature are not considered as legal. But if you have devices that allow you to switch off the slope feature and device without the slope feature, are permitted. Because the rangefinders with slope feature in it make the device more accurate, so in this case, you need to compensate the slope feature on the course to provide a more accurate distance. If you are not sure that your model is legal for the tournament or not, you need to make sure that you check the rules and regulations of the tournament before bringing your golf rangefinder.
So how do the golf rangefinders work? As of now, you know that laser models use an invisible electromagnetic laser to measure the distance. The optical rangefinder has been used as a built-in scale and two-lens system to measure the distance, whereas GPS devices work by a satellite signal and preloaded maps of local golf courses. And it is debatable that which type of golf rangefinder is more suitable and accurate. Most of the golf players prefer to have laser one because of their flexibility and convenience to use.
Remember that the kind you rangefinder you choose should be based on your requirements and your skill level. If you don’t wish to pay the monthly subscription fee and if you want to use your golf rangefinder to every golf course in the world, then choose a laser golf rangefinder. If you give more priority on speed, the GPS rangefinder is a better option for you. And if you are a budget-conscious person, then optical rangefinder is an excellent option for you. But the basic models of optical rangefinders have been left behind because GPS and laser rangefinders are now providing some new and updated features, like – Jolt technology, slope compensation. So after reading this article, you know all the features, effectiveness, and functionality of each golf rangefinders. Now it’s your turn to choose according to your preference.