Guide To Finding The Best Golf Rangefinder or GPS Device for Every Golfer

Guide To Finding The Best Golf Rangefinder or GPS Device for Every Golfer

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Are you looking to improve your golf game? The right golf rangefinder or GPS device can be a game-changer. There are so many choices out there. It might be hard to pick the best one. We’re here to help you understand your options. This guide is for all golfers, from newbies to pros.

Let’s talk about golf rangefinders and GPS devices. We’ll compare their good and bad points. You’ll learn what to look for in a device, like how accurate it is, how long the battery lasts, and how easy it is to use. We will also help you choose between wearing the device on your wrist or carrying it in your hand.

We won’t stop there. We’ll give you tips on using your rangefinder or GPS device to the max. You’ll learn how to use the slope function wisely, save your device’s battery, and use the course info to up your game. This includes making your shots more accurate and your strategies smarter.

Lastly, we’ll tell you about the top brands and models. Brands like Bushnell, Garmin, and Skycaddie are very popular. They make great devices that many golfers trust.

By the end, you’ll be ready to pick the best device for your needs. You’ll know how to make the most of it to improve your golf game.

Key Things to Remember

Golf Rangefinder or GPS Device

Laser Technology vs. Satellite

  • Laser rangefinders use laser beams to measure exact distances to golf targets
  • GPS devices determine distances by tracking satellite signals


  • Laser rangefinders provide highly accurate distances to flags and hazards
  • GPS devices may have less precision in their distance measurements

Line of Sight Requirement

  • Laser rangefinders require a clear line of sight to the target with no obstructions to measure distance
  • GPS devices can provide distance even if trees or other obstacles are present between device and target

Top Features to Look for

When picking a golf rangefinder or GPS, think about features that make your golf better. Some important features are:

Slope Function and Its Legal Use in Tournaments

Many rangefinders have a slope function for accurate distances on hilly courses. Yet, you can’t use this in tournaments because it gives an edge. Always check tournament rules to make sure your device is fair.

Yardage Measurement and Course Information Precision

Having exact yardage and detailed course info helps you pick the right club and hit better shots. Choose devices known for their accuracy and complete course data. This includes knowing where hazards are and how the greens are laid out.

Battery Life and Ease of Use

Good battery life is key for all-day golfing. Pick a device that lasts long so you’re not constantly recharging. Also, go for something easy to use. A simple design and clear instructions matter a lot.

FeatureGolf RangefindersGPS Devices
Slope FunctionYesVaries by model and tournament legality
Yardage MeasurementHigh accuracyVaries by model
Course Information PrecisionVaries by modelHigh accuracy
Battery LifeVaries by modelExtended battery life options available
Ease of UseUser-friendly interfacesVaries by model
Top Features to Look for

When you shop, focus on what you need and like. The right rangefinder or GPS can really boost your golf game.

Wrist-Worn Golf GPS Devices vs. Handheld Units

Golfers look at many features when picking between wrist-worn and handheld golf GPS devices. Each type has its own upsides and downsides. These qualities meet different wants and needs. Let’s dive into what each type offers to help you pick the right one.

FeatureWrist GPS (GPS Watches)Handheld GPS Devices
Ease of Access✓ Easy to use and check distances quickly on the course✗ Requires more time to access information
Comprehensive Course Information✗ Limited information due to smaller screen size✓ Provides detailed course maps, layouts, and hazard information
Battery Life✗ Shorter battery life due to smaller size, requiring more frequent charging✓ Longer battery life, ideal for extended play sessions
Shot Tracking✓ Automatic shot tracking without manual input✓ Manual shot tracking, capturing all types of shots
Wrist-Worn Golf GPS Devices vs. Handheld Units

Wrist and handheld golf GPS devices have their own benefits and downfalls. If you love quick access to yardage info, a GPS watch is ideal. But, if you want a full view of the course to enhance your strategy, pick a handheld GPS.

The choice depends on what you value most in your game.

Golfing Style and Needs

Choosing the right golf device depends on YOUR style and needs. First, figure out what you really need it to do. Think about what features are important to you and your budget. Also, make sure the device fits in your golf bag.

Identifying Your Main Uses

Decide if you want a device for measuring distances or for detailed course info. If precise yardage to targets is what you need, a golf rangefinder is great. But if you like knowing about hazards, green shapes, and points on the course, go for a GPS device.

Device Features vs. Budget

Consider what’s essential for your game and fits your budget. You should look for accuracy, user-friendly features, and extra help for your style. This way, you get the most value for your money.

Golf Bag Considerations

It’s key that the device fits in your golf bag without making it heavy. Also, it should be tough enough for the game. Look for devices that are small, light, and can take the game’s wear and tear.

ConsiderationsGolf RangefinderGPS Device
Detailed Course Analysis
Golf Bag Considerations

Matching a golf device with your needs is vital. Whether it’s for distance-measuring or course details, consider the features, cost, and bag fit. This method will help you choose the best device for a better golfing experience.

Source: Golfmonthly’s Research on Golf Devices

Brands and Models

For golf rangefinders and GPS devices, consider these top brands and models. Leaders in the field are Bushnell, Garmin, and Skycaddie. They offer innovation and reliable performance.


Bushnell is known for its quality and accuracy in golf rangefinders. They’re used by amateurs and pros worldwide. Bushnell is always improving their tech. This includes PinSeeker with JOLT and Slope technology, making their rangefinders precise and trustworthy. They have models for any golfer, from those needing exact flag distances to those factoring in terrain slopes.


Garmin is famous for its GPS devices, and their golf line is no different. They offer GPS watches and handhelds tailored for golf. These devices provide accurate yardages, course maps, and shot tracking. They’re simple to use, have long battery life, and are tough. This is why Garmin’s devices are loved by all types of golfers.


Skycaddie is applauded for its precise and reliable golf GPS devices. They give golfers detailed hole info for strategic plays. These devices have easy-to-use interfaces, preloaded courses, and interactive maps. Skycaddie’s GPS devices are perfect for golfers who need accurate distances and thorough course details.

Tips for Getting the Most Out It

To get the most from your golf rangefinder or GPS, it’s key to know how to use its features well. Here’s how to up your game. You’ll learn to hit better shots, keep your battery going, and plan smarter approach shots:

Mastering the Slope Function

  • If your device has a slope feature, learn how to use it effectively
  • The slope function adjusts yardage based on the elevation changes of the course
  • Mastering the slope feature will help you select the appropriate club and know the precise distance to your target

Maximizing Battery Life

  • To prevent your device from running out of power, take a few simple precautions
  • Fully charge your device before heading out to play
  • Turn off unnecessary features that drain the battery quickly
  • Bring an extra power source for extended days on the golf course

Approach Shots

  • Your golf device is filled with valuable information that can help you make informed decisions
  • Utilize features such as course layouts and maps to enhance your shot strategies
  • Familiarizing yourself with the course using your device can lead to improved performance

When you first start playing golf, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the terms, tools, and gear you’ll need. To assist you in choosing the right golf rangefinder for your purposes, we’ve compiled a list of different golfing scenarios and a list of the best golf rangefinders to meet that particular need.



⛳️ Tour-trusted compensated distances have been taken to the next level with Slope with ‘Elements.’  Temperature and barometric pressure have been added to Bushnell’s patented Slope Technology to give golfers the most precise compensated distances ever

⛳️ A red ring now flashes as JOLT vibrates to give the golfer even greater feedback and confidence to know you have locked onto the flag

⛳️ Slope-Switch lets the golfer easily toggle in and out of Bushnell’s patented Slope with Elements function

⛳️ The Slope-Switch allows the golfer to conveniently utilize Slope with Elements to get compensated distances around the course when they want them and have a USGA-conforming device that is legal for tournament play when they need it


The Pro XE from Bushnell Golf is a game-changer in the world of golf laser rangefinders.

With Slope with ‘Elements,’ tour-recognized compensated distances have been elevated to a new level. In addition to Bushnell’s patented Slope Technology, temperature and barometric pressure have been integrated into the system to provide golfers with the most accurate compensated distances ever.

The new ‘Visual JOLT’ has made JOLT even better.

In order to give the golfer even more feedback and confidence, JOLT has added a red ring that flashes as it vibrates. Pro XE also features Bushnell’s BITE magnetic mount, which can easily be attached to the cart’s bar.

Laser rangefinders have never been more accurate or durable than with the Pro XE’s waterproof metal housing.


“I don’t normally write reviews for someone who reads reviews as much as I do. My old Bushnell V2 finally gave out, and I needed to get a new rangefinder. Like everyone, I was a little sticker shocked by the price of the XE, the latest and greatest. I read reviews out there on all viable options, from the Tour V4 to the no-name newcomers. I ended up buying the Precision Pro NX7 Pro Slope thinking it made sense that it was “almost just as good,” perhaps a little slower, but worth it for half the price. By the reviews, I expected it to feel a little cheaper, and it did, but I knew that. It arrived on a Thursday, and I was on the course Sat morn. The lag in reading was noticeable, even compared to my ancient Bushnell. The deal-breaker for me was not getting ant reading three times inside of 110. Nothing. I tried and tried and had to rely on my buddy’s V4. I returned it on Monday (no questions asked, Amazon just kicks rear) and ordered the XE…OMG, what an amazing difference and badass tool. The feel is awesome. It feels like what you expect from Bushnell. The optics are simply amazing. I had to figure out the brightness and how the jolt works ( do little reading, folks), but it is flawless and worth every penny. Sometimes you get what you pay for; this is that case. I can’t give a high enough rating. It’s that impressive.”


✅ Temperature and barometric pressure have been added to Bushnell’s patented Slope Technology

✅ Offers excellent vibrate feedback that informs when you have locked onto the flag

✅ Bushnell Golf app is included

✅ It has access to 36,000+ Courses


❌ Premium price

2. BEST ON BUDGET:  Gogogo Sport Vpro Laser Golf


⛳️ Gogogo Sport focuses on providing worldwide customers with great quality products at an affordable price

⛳️ Come with 3 Modes, Normally Scan Mode, this mode can be used to range measurement of all items within the scope of application (5-650 Yard)

⛳️ This newest GS03 Golf Rangefinder is equipped with the most advanced golf rangefinder technology

⛳️ Fast and accurate measurement with 1-yard accuracy, one-button meter and yard switching, on-button mode switching

⛳️ Only 184g nets weight, and portable small mini size: 106 x 40 x 71mm(L x W x H), very convenient to carry with strap and after-use storage with a small waterproof pouch


Automatic vibration and the Pinsensor technology used to precisely measure overlapping subjects make this machine ideal for measuring golf flags and hazards as well as wooded areas. The Slope feature measures the angle of incline/decline to automatically calculate the slope-adjusted distance (The physical slope switch is for tournament legal)

Clear optics on our golf distance rangefinder. With fully multi-coated optics lenses, you get brighter, clearer images thanks to their ability to effectively reduce reflected light and increase light transmission. The diopter can be adjusted to achieve the best possible display focus.


“My Bushnell died after 3 years; the jolt feature jiggled itself to death. Not wanting to spend that much money again, I opted for this GoGoGo unit. Works fine. Slightly cheaper build quality and uses batteries instead of USB charging like some others, but it gets the job done at 1/4th the price. Accurate where I have comparison data. Pinseeker technology. Same operation as Bushnell. Good optics. Having a laser rangefinder really improves my golf game, helps me select the right club, whether its to reach the pin or avoid a hazard. And I say that as a high handicapper senior golfer, not a young pup Rickie Fowler flat-brimmed Puma cap wearer. At this price, why would you not have it in your bag?”


✅ Very affordable compared to other brands 

✅ Fast and accurate

✅ Lightweight and portable, it only weighs 184 grams

✅ Comes with a waterproof pouch


❌ The laser can get easily interfered with giving you a short-range reading but still very accurate





⛳️ Get the slope-adjusted distance for any uphill or downhill shot, thanks to Nikon’s highly advanced ID Technology

⛳️ When Golf mode is selected, the COOLSHOT 20i GII displays slope-adjusted distance so that you can select the right club and hit the ball at the proper trajectory

⛳️ Complies with USGA Local Rule 14-3 for tournament play when Actual distance mode is selected

⛳️ First Target Priority displays the range to the nearest target among the multiple results obtained. This assures that the measurement shown is the pin and not any objects in the background

⛳️ Featuring renowned Nikon glass & multicoating technology, for clear, high contrast views, COOLSHOT 20i GII’s 6-power monocular has eyeglass-friendly long eye relief and an adjustable diopter for tack-sharp focusing


All shots can be accurately measured with Nikon’s COOLSHOT 20i GII rangefinder, even those that have a steep slope (elevation changes). Using Nikon’s ID Technology, the COOLSHOT 20i GII eliminates the guesswork of how far up or down a shot will go when faced with an elevation change. Elevation change on a golf course can be one of the most unforgiving elements on a course. Plus, a 5-year warranty has been added.


“Was looking to replace my old rangefinder so that I could let my daughter use my old one. I also wanted one with the slope calculations for doing 3D archery shooting. I had purchased a different one but noticed that the eye relief on it wasn’t large enough to get the black halo around everything. I did some checking and found this, and it works perfectly. It has an eye relief of 16.5mm, which is ample for anyone with glasses.


* Great eye relief so you can easily wear glasses

* Slope calculation so you can get the true distance with the angles

* Easy to use and has a nice little pouch for it

* Has an extra skin for it too that has a snap-on front cover too, so the lens and laser are protected.”


✅ Provides incredibly fast, accurate distance measurements for every shot

✅ 8-Second Continuous Measurement

✅ 6-power monocular has eyeglass-friendly long eye relief and an adjustable diopter

✅ Can range virtually any object within sight


❌ The reading would have some issues, especially when there are trees directly behind the flag

❌ It is pretty small, so if you have really big hands, this might seem pretty tiny


⛳️ Slope-Switch Technology lets the golfer easily switch the Tour V5 Shift in and out of Slope mode

⛳️ The Tour V5 Shift is legal during tournament play when Slope is disabled 

⛳️ BITE Magnetic Cart Mount: Integrated BITE magnetic technology makes attaching the Tour V5 right on a cart bar easy 

⛳️ Pinseeker with Visual JOLT: Know exactly when you’ve hit the pin, with vibrating pulses and a flashing red ring for confirmation you can see and feel when the laser locks in 

⛳️ Clarity Redefined: Magnification, definition, and vivid color unite for a difference you’ll see in both your sightline and your handicap 

⛳️ Tour Trusted Distance: The undisputed Laser Rangefinder in professional golf


As far as golf distance measurements go, you’re unmatched. Technology that is trusted by the PGA Tour is a pioneer in electronic measuring devices and an innovation leader.

Bushnell’s lasers are accurate to within inches of your target, so you can get the right number on every shot. There are no additional fees or downloads required to use the product.

Accurate distance measurements on golf courses around the world are made possible by Bushnell Laser Rangefinders and GPS products.


“Very accurate locks on to flags and gives readings instantly. Having owned several other brands, and would say it provides more reliable readings without having to worry about picking up background distances. If you can afford it, go for it.”


✅ Give highly accurate readings on the course 

✅ It is legal during a tournament when Slope is disabled 

✅ Excellent clarity

✅ Used by 99.3% of PGA Tour Pros 

✅ Travel case included


❌ This rangefinder is not waterproof


⛳️ Most accurate laser range finder on the market within 10” of the flag, up to 450 yards 

⛳️ Image stabilization makes it easier to find and range the flag for precise distances to the pin; vibrational feedback lets you know when you’ve locked in 

⛳️ Full-color 2-D CourseView mapping for more than 41,000 courses worldwide overlaid on the viewfinder 

⛳️ The Laser Range Arc feature draws an arc on the 2-D CourseView map at a distance the laser will range, so you can see everything in play at that distance 

⛳️ Approach Z82 accessories bundle – Immediately throw all of these accessories in your bag! The PlayBetter Microfiber Towel to keep your viewfinder smudge-free & our PlayBetter Portable Charger for emergency charges out on the course


With the Approach Z82 laser range finder with GPS, you can set your sights on something greater. Vibrational feedback and image stabilization make it easier to locate and measure the flag, allowing you to get precise distances within 10″ of the pin. More than 41,000 courses around the world can be viewed in full-color 2-D CourseView mapping and Green View overlay. View hazards on the course map in hazard view and scroll through them in a matter of seconds. Approach Z82 shows you the direction and speed of the wind, so you can adjust your approach accordingly (when paired with a compatible smartphone). PlaysLike Distance adjusts to the slope of the terrain. When you’re in tournament mode, an external indicator light lets you and your playing partners know. Your score and shot distance should be recorded so that you can participate in weekly leaderboards as well as review your statistics.


“I’m upgrading from a Bushnell V2 rangefinder that had slope on and excellent optics.

The Z82 is fairly easy to use but somewhat challenging to zero in on your target. I suspect Garmin may improve this with an update.

The battery life is excellent. It lasts a few rounds before charging is needed. I like that I don’t need to purchase the $11 battery that the older Bushnell used.

Where this device excels is when you get to a golf hole that has unknown distances to hazards off the tee, the Z82 will show you in the split-screen format distances to those targets. I especially like this feature on courses I don’t play often.

There’s a lot of techs to get familiar with, and sometimes when you play in a competitive round fumbling through menus takes some time.

I often have situations when the GPS picks up, say hole # 10 distances when I’m playing hole #8. You can change this in the menu, but it takes time. My Izzo Swami 6000 GPS never had this issue.

Overall, I like the GPS/ rangefinder feature along with the OLED color screen. It gives you a lot of information once you get used to the features.

The Garmin app pairs with the Z82 as well and can give you wind speed and direction as well, but I haven’t used this yet.”


✅ The range finder now displays wind speed and direction, which makes figuring out which club to use and which direction to swing much easier 

✅ Preloaded with more than 41,000 full-color CourseView maps from around the world

✅ Hazard view allows you to quickly scroll through each hazard on the map


❌ Targeting the flag can be a bit cumbersome for first-time users

❌ It is not easy to keep taking it out of its carrying case and putting it back in

Step Up Your Game with These Tools

Choosing the best golf rangefinder or GPS is key to better your game. In this guide, we showed you the main differences and what to look for in these devices. We also compared wrist-worn and handheld units and gave tips for using your device well. Plus, we highlighted top brands like Bushnell, Garmin, and Skycaddie.

When picking between a rangefinder or GPS, think about the technology and what you need for accuracy. Look at features like slope function, how precise the yardage measurement is, and battery life. This will help you decide which one is right for you.

Do you like the quick info a wrist GPS gives or the detailed course maps from a handheld one? Your choice should fit your golfing style well. Check device features against your budget and if they work with your golf bag. This ensures a better golfing experience.

To use your rangefinder or GPS best, learn how to use the slope function, keep the battery charged for long days, and use course info for smart plays. Following these tips will really make your device work better and help you play better golf.

Getting the best golf rangefinder or GPS for your game matters a lot. So, think carefully, look at your options, and pick the one that boosts your game with accuracy and confidence.

Source: Golfweeks’ Research on Garmin Rangefinders

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the difference between a golf rangefinder and a gps handheld device?

A: A golf rangefinder calculates the distance to a specific target, typically using laser technology, allowing precise measurements to flags, trees, or hazards. GPS handheld devices use satellites to provide distance to the front, back, and center of the green, as well as hazard information, without requiring a direct line of sight. Rangefinders can measure within a yard for accurate club selection, while GPS devices provide detailed course information and are generally easier when playing different courses.

Q: How do GPS units help in club selection during a golf game?

A: GPS units help in club selection by providing golfers with accurate distances to the front, back, and center of the green as well as layouts of hazards and doglegs. This allows golfers to make informed decisions about which club to use for every shot, considering elevation changes and distance, enhancing their golf swing effectiveness and strategy on the golf course.

Q: What are the best golf rangefinder devices for avoiding hazards?

A: The best golf rangefinder devices for avoiding hazards are those that offer detailed course information including bunker locations, water hazards, and out-of-bounds areas. Devices that feature both laser rangefinder and GPS capabilities provide a comprehensive overview by calculating the distance to hazards, allowing golfers to navigate courses more effectively. Models such as the Series 3 Max not only measure distance but also offer additional features like hazard recognition and a caddie function for personalized advice.

Q: Can rangefinders and golf gps devices improve your golf swing?

A: While rangefinders and golf GPS devices do not directly improve your golf swing mechanics, they can significantly impact your game by providing information that helps with shot planning and club selection. Knowing the exact distance to the target or understanding the layout of the course can reduce guesswork, allowing golfers to focus on their swing technique with confidence, thus potentially lowering their scores.

Q: What features should I look for in a GPS golf device when you’re buying one?

A: When buying a GPS golf device, look for features such as a high-resolution screen for easy reading, preloaded golf course maps, battery life sufficient for multiple rounds, waterproof design, and additional features like scorekeeping and shot tracking. Devices that offer readings for elevation changes and provide suggestions for club selection can also be especially helpful. It’s also beneficial if the device offers updates for new golf courses and changes to existing ones.

Q: Are there rangefinders that also act as a golf buddy?

A: Yes, some advanced rangefinders offer features that act much like a golf buddy, providing recommendations and tips as you play. These include club selection advice based on the calculated distance, observing conditions such as elevation changes, and even tracking your shot history to offer personalized suggestions, much like having a digital caddie by your side.

Q: How accurate are GPS units and rangefinders on the golf course?

A: GPS units and rangefinders are highly accurate tools on the golf course. Laser rangefinders can measure distances within a yard, offering pinpoint accuracy for directly visible targets. GPS devices, while slightly less precise in direct measurement, provide essential course information and distances to greens and hazards with considerable accuracy. Both types of devices are invaluable for improving game strategy and aiding in club selection.

Q: What extra benefits do gps devices and rangefinders offer besides distance measurement?

A: Beyond basic distance measurement, GPS devices and rangefinders offer several additional benefits. These include 3D maps of the golf course, tracking of shot distance, scorekeeping functions, recognition of personal playing trends, and even weather forecasts in some models. Some rangefinders also feature slope measurement capabilities, calculating how elevation changes affect the distance to the target, which is crucial for precise club selection. These extra features enhance the playing experience by providing a wealth of information at the golfer’s fingertips.

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