Range finders

Jaco

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Are range finders worth it, if you’re a high handicapper? I’m 16 at my best, 20 atm.

I’m very wary of looking a lemon if I hold one to my eye, then chunk an 8i thirty yards, but there are times when I’d like to know the distance to the dogleg, or a tree, and I am absolutely useless at guessing.

I wear a Bushnell watch for distance to the green, and I love it, but although the basic yardages are excellent, the abbreviations are very American and I sometimes can’t remember what they stand for. And many obstacles won’t be covered anyway.

If you think RF’s are worth considering, please indicate which one you’d recommend.

Thank you
 

Imurg

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I think, if you can justify the expense, it's worth having both GPS and a Laser as there are times when you may need one rather than the other.
An example would be a fairly large green where you can't see the bottom of the flag.
Aim for the middle, as given by the GPS, and you could be 10 or 12 ya4ds out - thats a long putt...
Laser the flag and you can see whereabouts on the green it is.
Being able to Laser a tree or marker post can be invaluable
Some will say why bother with the exact distance a Laser gives you when you can't hit that distance accurately..
Well, you do want to know how far away whatever it is you're zapping is so it may as well be accurate.
As for which lasers....there are many cheap and cheerful ones but many stories of inaccurate readings or units dying..
I bought a 2nd Bushnell V2 from ebay for 100 quid about 8 or 9 years ago.
Still works.....
 

Orikoru

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In my opinion - no. I use a GPS app which tells me front, middle and back of green. 9 times out of 10 I'm then just hitting the club that falls somewhere between middle and back. There's no benefit to me knowing the pin is 153 yards when I cannot possibly hitting it precisely to a yard anyway. If middle is 145 and back is 160 then I'm hitting my 150-155 club. That's all I need to know.

Several years ago I did trial a rangefinder for a while - one thing I noticed was that when it was a front pin, I'd get the yardage and think "oh that's closer than I thought", go down a club - then not strike it 100% and be 20 yards short of the green with a tough chip to a short-sided pin. Useless. That's why I'm always clubbing between middle & back of green now. Always better to be on the green and putting back to the front pin that short of it and chipping.

With regards to getting yardages to doglegs, hazards etc - it's a lot easier with a GPS app than it is with a rangefinder. On Hole19 I can pinpoint any landing area and get a yardage to there. It's ideal.
 

CliveW

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I have a laser rangefinder and a GPS. I tend to use the laser mainly in the winter when temp greens are in play as GPS doesn't show them. Occasionally in the summer I'll use the laser on Par 3s if I cannot work out a pin position as we don't use front/middle/back coloured flags.
 

Neilds

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I find a handheld GPS handy to find out if it is worth trying to clear the water or lay up (and still end up wet!). A decent app or dedicated gps will also give distances to many features, including doglegs and you also don't look as daft as using a laser
 

Mandofred

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I use a laser almost all of the time. I carry an old gps little thingy that I pull out when it's raining/foggy since lasers REALLY don't like rain. If I ONLY cared about distance to the pin....a gps would work fine. But, as mentioned, I often zap distance to getting over a bunker or tree....or some other obstacle. Happens quite a bit. I often get the gps users asking me how far it is to a bunker.....although I guess you could just buy a good gps gadget that gives all of that info as well. I like lasers. If you are worried about looking a knob pulling out the laser and chunking a shot......it's golf. Just look around the course on a sunny day and look at all the knobs wearing absolutely vomit inducing clothing.......chunking a shot is nothing compared to that.
 

Orikoru

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I use a laser almost all of the time. I carry an old gps little thingy that I pull out when it's raining/foggy since lasers REALLY don't like rain. If I ONLY cared about distance to the pin....a gps would work fine. But, as mentioned, I often zap distance to getting over a bunker or tree....or some other obstacle. Happens quite a bit. I often get the gps users asking me how far it is to a bunker.....although I guess you could just buy a good gps gadget that gives all of that info as well. I like lasers. If you are worried about looking a knob pulling out the laser and chunking a shot......it's golf. Just look around the course on a sunny day and look at all the knobs wearing absolutely vomit inducing clothing.......chunking a shot is nothing compared to that.
I'm confused. Do people still not know that you can get GPS apps on your phone for free that give you a birds-eye view of the hole and yardage to any point?
 

4LEX

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I had the fancy Garmin one which had laser plus a digital map of the hole and yardages. Didn't rate it at all and found it hard to lock on to the target. Too much information made things overcomplicated. I've gone back to a Garmin GPS watch which makes things more straight forward.
 

BiMGuy

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I'm confused. Do people still not know that you can get GPS apps on your phone for free that give you a birds-eye view of the hole and yardage to any point?
But I leave my phone in the car/at home/don’t have a phone/phones are banned from my course and obey the rules etc.

I use my Apple Watch with an app for front middle and back. Then I use my range finder for pinging hazards or other stuff as it’s dead easy to use and my phone is kept in my bag when I carry.

The laser is particularly useful now we have a load of new bunkers that aren’t on any apps yet.
 

Alan Clifford

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I'm confused. Do people still not know that you can get GPS apps on your phone for free that give you a birds-eye view of the hole and yardage to any point?
I used to use Swing by Swing. And I contributed some courses information. But I find using the 'phone a bit fiddly and much prefer a laser, particularly nearer the hole, as in "is it a 50 or 60 yard chip and run".
 

Jaco

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I use a laser almost all of the time. I carry an old gps little thingy that I pull out when it's raining/foggy since lasers REALLY don't like rain. If I ONLY cared about distance to the pin....a gps would work fine. But, as mentioned, I often zap distance to getting over a bunker or tree....or some other obstacle. Happens quite a bit. I often get the gps users asking me how far it is to a bunker.....although I guess you could just buy a good gps gadget that gives all of that info as well. I like lasers. If you are worried about looking a knob pulling out the laser and chunking a shot......it's golf. Just look around the course on a sunny day and look at all the knobs wearing absolutely vomit inducing clothing.......chunking a shot is nothing compared to that.

Great replies, and lots confirming that they’re useful for getting the distance for lay ups etc. As I think I inferred, I’m not good enough to require accuracy, just to know if the dogleg is 80 or 130 yds. I genuinely have no concept by eye alone.

Anyway I was looking online, and long story short, ordered a cheap as chips one (£60) off Amazon, as an intro to them. Product reviews were decent, and I was expecting to have to fork out 200 quid, so I’ll see how this goes. 👍
 

JayB

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Definitely worth having a laser, I don't particularly use it for pin point accuracy to flags, my watch is fine in that regard, but its very useful for temp greens or certain lay-up distances.

One big advantage I've found using the laser is it slows me down, before someone jumps on this I don't mean holding others up or 6 hour rounds but I have a tendency when walking up to my ball to quickly check distances on my watch and have a club in my hand before I arrive, stand over the ball and hit, when I make a point of using a laser I properly consider and assess my shot. For me personally I would say without suddenly becoming more accurate, this has definitely helped my scoring.
 

Mandofred

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I'm confused. Do people still not know that you can get GPS apps on your phone for free that give you a birds-eye view of the hole and yardage to any point?
Phone!!! Phone!! Does the club allow this?

I'm kidding....almost completely. The clubs have spent years telling everybody to turn their phones off.....while knowing that people will not do so.
 

chrisd

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I used a Bushnell laser the first day it was legal to do so and I use it every time I play. I had the "used a laser then duffed the shot" often enough, my reply was at least I knew I was duffing the right club !
 

Teebs

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Bushnell V6 and a Garmin Fenix 6s. Former for accurate pin measurements, latter for hole layout, hazards and driving distances.

The watch also measures shot distances which is useful when trying to find a wayward drive as I know my carry distance(s)

Each to their own. I know plenty who use a combo, laser only and GPS only.
 

chico

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I got a cheap laser off Amazon about four years ago for less than £70, think you can get them even cheaper than that now. It has stood up well against more expensive ones my friends use.
 

jim8flog

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I'm confused. Do people still not know that you can get GPS apps on your phone for free that give you a birds-eye view of the hole and yardage to any point?
did you know the app on my phone zapped the battery on my phone.
I have a laser, I used it 3 times today mainly because we were on temp greens.

My GPS unit has not left the house since pre pandemic.

Mind you saying all that I have played at this course for over 35 years and I know when I am opposite x tree bush or other object it is such and such a club.
 

Captain_Black.

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A laser is handy if you are playing into huge greens where there could be a club or more difference between the front & back of the green.
Of course, you still have to factor in the air temp & wind, but a laser does give the ultimate knowledge of distance.
But, where they really come into their own is when you are out of position & you have to lay up or get back into a play.
You can laser a tree or a landmark to select the right club for the distance you need.

The downsides are.
It takes slightly longer than a glance at a GPS
It only works in line of sight (no good over a brow or hill)
Hard to get a reading in low light / fog / mist & heavy rain
 
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