While the market offers many competitive device varieties with different price points, you need to keep some usability factors in mind before making a purchase.
Good user manual and ease of use: Technically you could get by without a good user manual if it is easy to operate the range finder. However, ideally you will want to have both of these. Not every golf rangefinder is designed to be used in an intuitive way for a new owner, and how can you expect to get good results from something you don’t know how to use? Trying it out yourself is the best way of finding out how easy a range finder is to use. A range finder that is user-friendly should operate without you needing to check which button needs to be pressed constantly, and should be able to latch onto your desired target without need to aim and shoot multiple times (this assume you know how to use its pin sensor technology).
Accuracy and speed in measurement: After you locate your target, how long does it take for you to be given a measurement by the range finder? A good range finder will provide results nearly instantaneously after a flag is picked up. On the other hand, with a bad range finder you will need to wait several seconds for a measurement. More accuracy and speed are always better to have. Test a range finder on the golf course with known distance and then compare the results it provides with those ranges posted measurements. Remember that you may obtain greater result variance when testing is done in conditions that are less in than optimal. On rainy or foggy days, even a really good range finder may be offer by over a yard.
Technology: Make sure to get a range finder with pin seeking or pin sensor technology. This actually comes by default with a majority of the newer range finders. However, when you are choosing yours it is important to make sure. Pin seeking or pin sensor technology allow you to much more easily target flags, since it forces a range finder to really focus in on them rather than objects that are behind the flag.
Build quality and form factor: Generally speaking, you will want to have a compact and small golf drive range finder since that will make it a lot easier to use and carry around. A majority of golf range finders can even be operated using one hand for even more convenience. However, if your arms tend to be somewhat shaky and you don’t want to have to pay for a more costly range finder that can compensate for that as you are aiming it, then you might want to opt for a two-handed, larger unit instead. The larger sizer will make it steadier and easier to grip – however that also means you will have to sacrifice when it comes to portability, so you will need to keep this trade off in mind when you are looking at range finders. Also look for units that are more sturdily built: your range finder will in one way or another, get knocked around some, so it helps to have a sturdier unit as opposed to a more fragile one.
Accuracy rating: Obviously a range finder that is more accurate is going to better than one that is less accurate. A range finder in good conditions should be able to provide you with precise measurement within one yard (+/-). For use on the golf course it needs to be 5x magnification at least. Anything lower will result in you having to struggle just to locate the flags you are supposedly targeting using your range finder.
Warranty: All good golf course range finders come with warranties. You should expect at least 1 year and a more expensive range finder will offer a 2 year warranty at least.
What to Avoid When Purchasing a Golf Rangefinder
Your mind is made up, yet you must take some extra factors into consideration before you buy. The brand you have zeroed down to can be all swanky with features to trump everything else in the market. Yet, it may ultimately not work for you at all. Here’s why.
Look for portability: Is the device small enough to be easily carried or worn? You do not want to be stuck with something that proves more of a hindrance than convenience while purchasing a golf rangefinder.
Look for compatibility, especially in GPS based rangefinders: You happily made a purchase abroad. But is it compatible with the networks in your country. Does it have ease of access or do you require to pay additionally for a mapping service? Can the preloaded maps be updated for free? Or does it have a remote connectivity feature to update without problems?
Look at functionality: Is it easy to grip? Does it work with your large fingers or gloved hands? Does the laser golf rangefinder remain steady will acquiring targets in shaky hands?
Look at reviews when purchasing: The easiest way a consumer can get the true picture of a product is through honest, user reviews. Not only will you get an idea about how good is something and if it’s worth the money spent, you will also have knowledge about what kind of common snags and problems can crop up in the future.
Look for legality: If you play tournaments and want to make use of the golf rangefinder while you compete, you need to find a model that is allowed legally through your golfing board. It is more ideal to get used to one type of device for the kinds of courses you play in—rather than 5—and if that one device is legally allowed in tournaments, you are set and ready.
Look for uses: What is it exactly that you are looking for? A model may come with 100+ features and cost a lot of money, but do you need every single one of those features? It is easier to stick to something that does not eat into your brains while you try and figure out everything it can do. Also, tournaments usually do not allow slope related calculations. So, if at all you are purchasing one with this feature, buy a model that allows you to turn this off.
Look for genuine brands: It might be very appealing to choose an attractive price over an authentic brand. Don’t. Not only will you not get the benefits of a warranty but counterfeit golf rangefinders will probably never give you accurate game results anyway. Then, there’s always the question of legality in tournaments.
Look for battery life: Will the rangefinder last multiple rounds of golf, before you need to hunt for a charging port?
Look for durability: Is it waterproof? Shatterproof? Or is it hardy? These are some of the questions you need to figure out before you make that final purchase.
How does a golf rangefinder work with slopes?
Golfers are well aware of how even the smallest of elevations can affect their game. And if one does not take these changes into consideration while calculating strike distances, the results could totally lead to a score disaster. Now with the modern technology of golf rangefinders, there is no reason for you to be disadvantaged by slopes.
When you take a shot, one would assume that you are calculating the distance between the tee and the next hole. However, your ball travels in a circular trajectory, and after reaching its peak speed, it begins descending. A slope terrain here can affect the target trajectory of the ball by up to 50 yards at a time. That is not a small difference. Devices with a slope feature do some complicated math to take this into account. Hence, your calculation will be more precise compared to taking a shot with only the direct distance measured.