So let’s presume you’re playing a game against your mate, and on the final hole, you’re down one shot. He hit a greenside bunker and looks at a potential bogey. You now have at least 150 yards to the green middle. You will drive it over the water and try to stop the ball in the area of a tucked spot. Yet how far is the clearance of the water? And what happens to the middle of the green if you have to strike it on the front?

These are the conditions where a golf rangefinder can be of great assistance to your team. Using a rangefinder app, you will be able to find out precisely how many yards to clear the water and about how far to the flag (or how far you will have to travel to get a hot dog in the halfway house when your round is not going so well). The built-in yard markers of the golf course are fantastic, but sometimes you need accuracy— and that’s what a rangefinder can give you over and over again.

There are two main types of rangefinders: rangefinders based on GPS and laser rangefinders. And most of them are legal in the tournament. But how do you know the best golf rangefinder for you? When choosing a rangefinder, here are a few things to keep in mind.

What kind of classes are you playing?

Is there a lot of doglegs in your home course, huge changes in elevation, and blind tee shots? If so, you may want to select a rangefinder for GPS. Laser rangefinders require you to point them to a physical target, and if you are unable to see the green, it may not be of any use to you. GPS rangefinders receive their distances from satellites, so you don’t really have to see your target to realize how far it is. But if you’re playing more wide-open links type courses (or if you’re playing golf in a very flat state like Illinois, like me), a laser rangefinder could be a better choice.

What is your level of skill?

Do you still work on consistency or do you dial in your iron? There is a premium level of laser rangefinder for low-handicap players that takes into account each hole’s slope. And, for starters, you might be able to hit your gap wedge 100 yards on a hole without elevation. But if you’re facing the same 100-yard approach and the green is 10 yards above you, you might need an 115-yard ball. A laser rangefinder with slope capability (also known as “arc”) should understand all this and allow collection of clubs simpler. But with this feature, rangefinders are more expensive… So if you’re like me and there’s no greens left or right in your problem, this feature might not help your game.

What’s the budget for you?

Golf rangefinders, based on how many options you choose, will cost between $150 and $600. On your favorite courses, certain rangefinders will store typical distances, give you color maps of each hole, and log distances of up to 1600 yards. (Unfortunately, none of you can actually prevent the occasional bunker shot from skulling.) Think about what you’re willing to spend and do some research to figure out what features you really need. Then get yourself a rangefinder and get out and tee it up! Because it’s actually playing it, the only thing greater than thinking about golf.

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