Just a few years ago amateur and hobby golfers had to deal with all the difficulty of the game of Golf without any modern help on distances like they can get today with a Bushnell Tour V4.While Pro-Golfers always had professionall caddies that would give them the best advice on distances, hobby golfers had to deal with an extra difficulty in this already difficult game.
Well, you and me, we golfers try to hit a tiny ball with a sweet spot the size of a nickel at the end of a 3 foot long stick. Give me a break! Even if we DO make the perfect swing, we need to have perfect direction and perfect distance to make it an acceptable game. It is for sure that this game will stay the hardest on the planet, whether or not you’re using a Rangefinder to help you along.
How to check for distances ?
Hobby golfers have a couple of tools at their disposal to get their distances right. Maybe you’re using tee boards, markings on the course, or you even use a Garmin approach GPS watch a tool like Golfbudy, or a smartphone app.
There’s nothing wrong with that – or is there ?
It turns out these tools are not nearly as useful as they seem, not even as good as the cheapest of Rangefinders. Tee Boards are oftenly outdated, course markings are just approximations that are misinterpreted by our human senses and even a sophisticated and expensive GPS Golf System is only as accurate as 50 feet. 50 Feet !! That’s a low wedge distance in my world – a full strike, or the distance of a whole green !
Luckily Rangefinders are available today in all sorts of prices and with all sorts of features. Even the cheapest competitor is superior to anything you’re currently using and is a huge benefit to any handicap. We have cheap contestants like the TecTecTec VPRO500 for 150$ and expensive ones like the Bushnell Tour X Jolt that eat away almost 500$. There’s one thing they all have in common : They make your game MUCH easier.
How does a rangefinder work ?
Well, ok, of course the technical foundation is derived from military purposes. Basically a laser beam is shot from the device and upon hitting an object it is being reflected. The device then measures the time it took for the beam to come back to the device. The device then puts the time and the velocity of the laser beam into a formula and spits out the distance the beam travelled.
It is extremely easy to use and works everywhere – under almost any conditions.
What are the features of different models of rangefinders?
Besides just measuring distances modern Rangefinders come with a torrent of great features.
Slope is one of those features that i personally think are essential to the game experience of a hobby golfer. What it does is to give you the actual and calculated length of the shot you’re going to take by considering also elevation changes. Some Rangefinders can even consider wind speed to give you a “actual” and “feels like” distance. Sadly, this feature is not allowed in tournament gameplay.
Additionally, contestants like VPRO500 and Precision Pro NX7 and many Bushnell models come with a feature that “catches” the flag and give haptical feedback like vibrations. These devices recognize the form of the flag, making it incredibly easy for you to get a valid measurement of the distance to the flag, leaving absolutely no insecurity whether or not you got the right point of measurement.
Easy : all modern Rangefinders have an accuracy you won’t be able to outplay. There are rangefinders that are more accurate – typically the most expensive ones – that you will benefit from if you can place your ball within a feet from where you want it to land. Don’t be considered with accuracy !
Does a beginner or amateur need a rangefinder ?
By now we’ve learned that Rangefinders are easy to use, not particularly expensive and can make your game so much easier. Why is it that not everybody is using them ?
Actually, only beginners and hobby golfers are not oftenly seen with Rangefinders. Think about the good players at your club, 95% of them use Rangefinders.
Beginners oftently have the imagination that first they need to be able to hit the ball properly before buying equipment like a Rangefinder. However, it is those beginners that find themselves in front of a water shot and rather take “one club up” to be sure to make it, rather than knowing the exact distance.
I previously mentioned that hitting the green is a 50 foot question. Rangefinders erase the “felt” distance from your shot thinking and therefore take away some misinterpretation of the shot you’re going to take. They are the single most important tool to choosing the right club to make the shot!
Therefore, i tend to say that especially beginners and hobby golfers benefit from playing with a Rangefinder. Heck, they benefit from every single piece of tech that can help them ! So why play with extremely forgiving clubs but avoid using tech that can help ?
- supports your shotmaking decisions
- helps you play faster
- helps you being considered more with your shot rather than just hitting and running
- your game of golf will be much more analytical and strategical
- your scores will be better !
You only buy a rangefinder once!
I described earlier we’re dealing with a very well known piece of equipment that has been proven for years and decades in military and hunting and now makes its entry into hobby sports. Therefore i make the statement that you only buy a rangefinder once.
Go ask a buddy how many rangefinders they’ve had so far. Most of them will say they got a Bushnell Rangefinder at some point and used it ever since.
It’s up to you if you go for a cheaper or more sophisticated model. The simple fact is : it will never go wrong, it won’t wear out and it will most likely not be outdated at some point.
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