Best Golf Rangefinders (Full UK Guide)
Every professional golfer will use rangefinder binoculars on their practise rounds before the start of a major golfing tournament. This is why they play so accurately, with almost every shot heading straight for its intended target. Rangefinders are banned in professional competitions, but not for the earlier practise rounds.
How Do Rangefinders Work?
These rangefinders look like and work like binoculars. You look through the lens and focus on a particular part of the green or fairway. Then at the press of a button a laser works out the distance to that particular spot. You need to keep the binoculars steady to allow the rangefinder to lock onto the place the laser will be measuring.
Some of these rangefinders have extra features that allow for changes in elevation. Like uphill shots for instance, the rangefinder is operated in the same way but the button has to be held for slightly longer for the machine to determine the distance and the angle. These slope features can add to the cost of the rangefinder but they can improve your game no end.
They’re not infallible, they stumble when there are any obstacles in the line of rangefinding, like a clump of trees etc.
Is The Range Finder Accurate?
The primary function of the rangefinder is to provide reliable and accurate reading. You need to find one that delivers accurate readings to within one yard of the target. Once you do buy one, you will need to test it regularly to be sure of its accuracy.
The Golf Rangefinder Slope Function
The way the slope function works is by working out the exact yardage you’ll need for a shot accounting for any elevation differences. Top golfers prefer to use the slope function for shots within 150 yards due to how accurate the readout is. They work great for achieving birdies as they increase your chances of hitting that shot.
Range Finder Optical Equipment
The optics used in good quality range finders is exactly the same as that used for top quality binoculars. The high quality lens allows you to target your shot with great accuracy, in fact the better range finders will give you a range greater than 1,000 yards and give you a distance flag inside around 450 yards. Top models also have up to 6x magnification this means objects will appear to be 6 times closer through the lens.
There should be no blurring, no black spots, and no need to keep resetting the lenses due to dodgy focusing mechanisms. Plus clear, easy to read yardage readouts from the display screen.
What Is The Scan Speed Of The Rangefinder?
This is the amount of time it takes the rangefinder to close in on the target. The top quality models have faster scan speeds and should not take longer than a few seconds to get the information you need. Ten seconds is around about the most time you’ll have to wait to allow the rangefinder to completely scan the target area.
What About Waterproofing?
It’s our opinion that as we live in the UK, it’s always worth having any optical device waterproofed. The best golf rangefinders are waterproof, which means that even if you are caught in a downpour, you’ll still be able to use this helpful golfing aid.
Do Rangefinders Have Protective Coatings?
The better quality machines have rubber coatings that make them easy to grip, making it easier to get a stable reading for the range. Plus if you did happen to knock it on something hard it’s less likely to get damaged.
How Durable Are Golf Rangefinders?
On average the rangefinder will be used somewhere in the region of 30 to 40 times per round of golf. More on the tough courses, so that’s around 40 times of being taken out of its case, knocked about, dumped on the golf cart, dropped, manhandled, rained on, possibly dropped once more and then rained on one last time. So it needs to be a robust little machine.
How Are Golf Rangefinders Powered?
The majority of rangefinders use rechargeable batteries or batteries that can easily be bought in any high street shop. As they don’t tend to use much in the way of power, the batteries should last for many rounds of golf before needing to be recharged or replaced. Plus most have battery life indicators so it’s easy to keep on top of how much power you have left.
How Much Do Golf Rangefinders Weigh?
Most rangefinders weigh less than you would think. Most are less than half a pound (225 g). This means they will not put any extra strain on you weight wise. Your clubs are heavy enough so you’re not going to want to lug anything too heavy about no matter how much it’ll improve your game.
Do Professional Golfers Use Rangefinders?
Professional golfers do use rangefinders, but only on practise runs, the use of any rangefinding technology is banned during any of the major competitions. This includes the PGA, Nationwide and championship tours.  Any player or players’ caddy found to be using range finding equipment during an actual match can, and will be banned. That’s according to the PGA tours’ official player handbook and tournament guide.
Worldwide Golfing Rules Concerning Rangefinders
The two major golfing authorities that decide on the rules for golfing tournaments are the USGA  in America and the R and A[ 3] here in the UK. Together, these two “govern the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions while sharing a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf.” Concerning rangefinders they both agree that they can be used by all players under a “local rule” exception.
This means that local clubs can lift the USGA rule 14-3 when organising tournaments they can allow players to employ the use of a distance measuring device and they can share their findings with other players.
The USGA states that once the local rule is in effect, “you may use any application or device to measure distance, provided you do not use any feature on the device that, if used, would be a breach of Rule 14-3.
For example, if you have a laser range finder that has the ability to give you distance only to a target but can also give you the effective playing distance for an uphill shot, you can use this device as long as you don’t use the effective playing distance feature.”
Under any other circumstances it is illegal to use rangefinding equipment or any electronic measuring device. “The use of a distance-measuring device is a breach of Rule 14-3, which states that during a stipulated round, the player shall not use any artificial device or unusual equipment for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions which might affect his play (Rule 14-3).”
Who Makes The Best Golf Rangefinders?
The general consensus of opinion worldwide is that the best overall golf rangefinder is made by Bushnell. 98.1% of PGA tour players use and trust Bushnell golf rangefinders. Bushnell is a leading manufacturer of electronic measuring devices and provides the only technology trusted by the PGA Tour. Their laser golf rangefinders work straight out of the box with no downloads necessary and no hidden fees to pay either.
They claim to be accurate to within inches of your target and as they were the pioneers when it comes to laser rangefinders for golf, that claim can be trusted. They first introduced lasers to the world of golf in 1995 and have remained the number one golf laser rangefinder manufacturer ever since.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pro golfers use Bushnell rangefinders.
Pro golfers can use rangefinders during practise rounds but they are banned from use during competitions.
Yes, Bushnell rangefinders are worth it. They are used by over 90% of PGA golfers.
Golf rangefinders are definitely worth it if you want to improve your game. Even budget laser rangefinders will help to improve your game.