How To Use A Golf Rangefinder

How To Use A Golf Rangefinder

Have you ever wondered how golfers are so accurate about the distance they need to hit or how they select the proper club for each shot to cover the required distance?

Definitely, experience plays a pivotal role in this sort of measurement. The more you play, the more you learn to use appropriate clubs based on distance. But if you are passionate or even a good follower of the sport, you must have seen a binocular-like device used by most of the golfers in any stage of a match.

The device is meant to be held up to one eye only that determines how far is your target to shoot, whether it is a flagstick, a tree, a bunker face, or whatever. That binocular-like device is known as a Rangefinder in terms of golf. Most rangefinders have a button on top to activate a laser beam that shoots at your target and rebounds to the sensor beneath your eyepiece to measure the distance.

Find out the best golf rangefinder and different types of Rangefinders on our website with expert opinions. Here, In this article, we are going to describe how you can use a golf rangefinder properly along with its different categories and in different situations.

Types of Rangefinders for Golf And How They Work

Rangefinder is incredibly compact and sets in the pocket easily, most rangefinders feature a  water-resistant body so that you can easily bring it everywhere. Besides, you will be able to find some models with shock-resistant cases that guards against impact and poor weather. The major objective of Range Finders is to make you feel confident in your yardage and take dead aim with the superior accuracy to measure yards up to 1000 yards.

You can scan the landscape to acquire distances to multiple targets, like greenside bunkers and water hazards and still be accurate when connected properly. There are 3 different types of rangefinders available. Laser, GPS, and Optical. The classifications are described below. 

Laser Rangefinder

Laser rangefinders work with laser beam technology. The beams of light read the distance between you and your target. The rangefinder’s laser beams zoom in on the target and measure the time it takes a beam to bounce back off the target. The speed of light varies according to the temperature conditions. Using a laser rangefinder to aim needs practice to master the art of using it. You may find this challenging in the early stages, but, once you have learned how to aim the rangefinder, it is not difficult at all. You will see the total distance with a laser rangefinder. 

GPS Rangefinder

GPS rangefinders in Golf mostly use a pin seeking technology. Pin seeking technology is basically a target locking feature where you point your rangefinder at a small pin; flagstick in terms of golf from far away. And lock the target. Generally, you press the button so that even though your hand is shaky and the crosshair is moved, your target would still be locked. Pin Seeking technology determines the distance between the target object and the other obstacles in GPS rangefinder. 

Optical Rangefinder

The other type of rangefinder you will find is an Optical rangefinder. Though this category is not very popular, it is quite effective in measuring distances. Optical principles allow an operator to determine the distance to a visible object. 

The outlook of each categorical rangefinder is the same, it’s the technology that differentiates them from each other. 

How to Use a Golf Rangefinder

There are a few basic steps one should take to use a rangefinder on the golf course. You only need to

  1. Find your target 
  2. Aim the rangefinder at your target  
  3. Activate the rangefinder  
  4. Get your yardage

These basic steps are the same for using a rangefinder. But then there are some modifications needed depending on which categorical rangefinder you are using. We know the differences between each category right? If not, read again from the top, because if you can not categorize them it will be a tough task to understand their use and operate them. 

For Optical Rangefinders: Though optical rangefinders are out of date in this modern era, they are the basic tool to help golfers calculate their distance from their target. With an optical rangefinder you just simply look through the sight. To get the best clarity for your vision you may just move the knobs (if there are any) and adjust to your expected clarity. Note that optical rangefinders are not as accurate as laser rangefinders or GPS rangefinders.

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For GPS Rangefinders: Most golf courses have their maps on the internet. If you’re playing golf and don’t have a map on the internet then GPS rangefinder will be of no use for you. Because GPS rangefinders need to connect to the satellite feed to determine your location. And read the flags, slopes, and flagsticks. Then using and understanding GPS rangefinder is very much easy with these following steps: 

  • Load the map of the golf course to the rangefinder.
  • Turn on the GPS rangefinder and allow the rangefinder to connect to the satellite feed to determine your location when you are in the golf course. 
  • When the rangefinder found all the data from the satellite, select the target hole to get the reading on the distance and slope of the target. 

The rangefinder’s accuracy depends on the GPS signal and internet connection. Be sure to update the rangefinder, and check for updated maps regularly to get the best reads on target distance and slopes. These features may seem a backdraw of GPS rangefinder if you have poor internet connection or the golf course you use is not updated in the satellite.

Related: Cheap Rangefinder

For Laser Rangefinders: Laser rangefinders work with laser beam technology. The beams of light read the distance between you and your target. You need to practice using a laser rangefinder to get used to it and get more accurate results. You may find this challenging in the early stages, but, once you have learned how to aim the rangefinder, it is not difficult at all. To use the laser rangefinder, you will generally need to do the following.

  • Turn the rangefinder on.
  • Adjust the mode based on the situation you are in. You can change the mode or the sights or adjust it to account for slope.
  • When the adjustments are done, simply lift the sight to your eyes, view your target, and press the button and you can see clearly through the rangefinder, 

The accuracy of laser rangefinders depends on the amount of beam reflected on the target flagstick. You can improve its accuracy by aiming at a more reflective surface. Many golf courses are attaching small reflective pieces at the top of every flagstick on the course. That makes it much easier to acquire the exact distance to the hole. The challenge you will face using a laser rangefinder is selecting modes properly.

The Best Ways to Use the Rangefinder

Many golfers think that they just need rangefinders for medium range shots. But we recommend that you make the wrong choice. You should use a rangefinder every time to be sure about your shots. Even from the tee and when you are approaching the green. The rangefinder not only provides you distance information but you can see what obstacles you may face in between your stroke.

And even you get an idea of the distance to secure the ball from obstacles if it’s difficult to reach expected distance. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Rangefinder

Should I use a golf rangefinder?

We would recommend using a rangefinder on every stroke when you are in doubt about the distance and obstacles in the midway. When your stroke results in hitting any obstacles expected or unexpected like the following situation you will have to give a penalty for this.

Better you be proactive and see through rangefinder and have a clear knowledge of where you should hit. Some rangefinders are also capable of suggesting you proper clubs to use to cover the required distance though this feature is restricted in many tournaments. Ensure the tournament rules before using such features.

Where should I aim my golf rangefinder?

It is better to aim your rangefinder at the ground first and give a quick press on the button to start measuring distance. When the rangefinder is ready to operate it should bring up the reticle in the display. Now you can aim right at the target and push the button.

Modern rangefinders allow you features like target locking and output display through devices like mobile phones or smart watches which eases to read and understand the results. 

How to use a rangefinder when there is a slope? 

If you want to use a rangefinder to  adjust the effective distances for elevation changes, you’ll need a device with a slope setting.  While playing golf, one must consider how hills and slopes may affect his distance. Rangefinders with slope settings will enable you to calculate the slope between you and your  target.

  • To get an accurate reading of the distance between you and the target, first set yourself parallel to your target.
  • Next, set the sights to allow the best clarity for your vision.
  • Finally, aim the rangefinder at the ground, then aim it at your target. The rangefinder will calculate the slope between you and your target, and it can calculate the angle of return.

Are golf rangefinders worth it?

Yes, Rangefinders are worth the money. I would say you should buy a laser rangefinder if you are playing golf of course. Besides modern rangefinders like laser rangefinders have quite a few benefits as I discussed earlier which help you improve your performance.

Final Thoughts

Golf Rangefinders are like a gadget for a golfer who wishes to play better and play with ease. The laser beam technology is the latest for rangefinders. But GPS rangefinders and optical ones are also good options to have. Operating a rangefinder is very easy and gets better with practice. Based on the features and performances you will be able to purchase a rangefinder in average of 350 USD.

You can watch the following video for a better understanding of how to use a golf rangefinder.

Michael Anderson
Written by Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson loves to experience the latest innovation in the golf simulator industry and share it with fellow golfers. His favorite pastime is golf. He has been contributing and writing content for more than 03 years in golf. Besides, he enjoys spending quality time with family and friends.

1 thought on “How To Use A Golf Rangefinder”

  1. Thank you for all the reviews. I have been looking for a new rangefinder for quite a while now. But couldn’t make up my mind on what should I buy. I love the post because it says what to look for when buying a rangefinder rather than saying random brand names. Now, this kind of post is really helpful. Thank you so much for writing this post.


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