Bushnell Tour V4 Slope Edition â€“ Official MGS Forum Review by Chris O.
Quick intro to myself; I am 27 years old, married with two kids, and currently working as a Medical Assistant as I finish up some school. Then come May, I'll be starting nursing school. They tell me I'll finish school one day but right now that seems hard to believe.
I have pretty much played golf for as long as I can remember. I didn't really start taking it seriously until college, which I wish I would have gotten into it more in high school. I thought I could get baseball or football to pay for college, unfortunately I didn't have the correct genes to go anywhere with those sports. During college, I was lucky enough to get a job at the golf shop in my hometown. Some awesome guys worked there and taught me a ton of stuff about the game and about clubs. I took just about any fitting course or class I could, whether it was from a manufacturer or our company putting on the class. The club tech guy at our shop was a phenomenal fitter and club builder. I tried to learn as much about clubs and club building as I could. That is my favorite part about the game of golf; I get to order parts, build my clubs, and then go try them. If it didn't work, then I go back to the drawing board and start over. Luckily, working at a shop I had access to a lot of stuff and have pretty much fine-tuned everything in my bag.
A little bit about my game; Six years ago I befriend some good dudes through work (at a pizza joint at the time) that were in the golf industry. One of them was an assistant pro at a country club in my home town. I didn't even have to ask for him to help me with my swing, he just started doing it while we played together more often, which I am very grateful for. From there, he got me into the industry and got me some good opportunities. When I started working with him I was about a 15 handicap, I really don't know because I didn't care that much at the time. I just liked swinging hard and hitting the ball far, which is all I could do. After I had been working with him for about two years, I got my handicap down to as low as 2.3 and kept it consistently under 3. The game was really fun to play at that time, and I was playing a lot of golf, probably 4 times a week on average and some weeks every day. I went for a dirt bike ride one weekend and about ten minutes into the ride I had partially torn my ACL and medial meniscus. Since I was young I hoped it would heal itself with taking it easy and physical therapy. I got back to what I thought was close to 100%. About a year after the accident, I was playing a rec. league basketball game and completely tore my ACL and re-tore my meniscus. I grudgingly had surgery, my handicap rose to 7.4 and now two years later, I have it back down to 4.0. I don't know if I'll ever get back to where I was, especially since I'm only playing about once a week. Unfortunately, I have other priorities in life right now (which I really do enjoy my other priorities). The strengths of my game are off the tee and ball striking with my irons. Not often do I put myself in trouble off the tee, but 130 yards and in I really struggle. Around the green I'm atrocious with pitching and chipping. My putter is getting a lot better and not nearly the weak spot it used to be. It was better when I was playing and practicing multiple time a week, but now I'm just lucky enough to get out my once a week to play. Luckily with this review my playing time has increased to get in a good review.
As for the review, my current range finding methods consist of an app on my phone called Golfshot Pro, GPS on the cart if I ride, and yardage markers on the course. I play pretty much the same courses all the time, so I'm pretty comfortable with yardages, or so I thought. More so, I pretty much knew what club I needed depending on what part of the hole I'm on. On any given hole, if the pin is up, I'd knock it down. Pin in the middle, full smooth swing. Pin is back, full hard swing or knock down a longer club depending on conditions. For the most part that would work out for me. Let me tell you though, the V4 with slope was very eye opening.
Performance on the Course
Out of the box, the V4 was very easy to use. Open the box, pull the plastic tab out of the battery compartment, and it's ready to go. There is only one button on the rangefinder, so no mode button to mess around with or any menus to scroll through, which I personally enjoy. The redesigned shape of the v4 is head and shoulders above the previous model v3. That was my biggest hold up with the v3 and I like the boxier shape. Also the textured thumb groove on the bottom allows for a comfortable non-slip feature.
When I was selected for the review, I was hoping to get the non-slope edition for tournament purposes, but I am thrilled I ended up with the slope version. Here is why; I play pretty much the same course every single week. It's a 9-hole links course at Sand Hollow Golf Club. The championship course is one of the highest ranked courses in Utah, and for good reason. It's flat out phenomenal. I just wish the links course would get some more love, because it is just as awesome, and NOBODY plays it. (Side note, if you ever make it to St. George, UT, which has some awesome golf, and play Sand Hollow, make time to play all 27 holes there.) Anyway, I know the links course like the back of my hand. I rarely use any range finder there because I just know the course. That's what I thought at least. I would hit what I thought were just slight miss-hits or all around misses, and that's why I would come up short. Other holes I found myself always clubbing down to avoid being long. Once I got out there with a slope range finder, all my questions were answered. There were holes that play 5 to 10 yards differently than the yardage number I had always played. Examples: Hole #2 I usually have 135ish yards into the hole, little more or less depending on pin placement. I am always coming up short no matter where the pin is. For the most part I know my yardages with my irons, I'm pretty comfortable with that aspect of the game. So when I come up short on decent swings, I get frustrated. Really I just need to swallow my ego and club up more often, but that's beside the point. Well come to find out, this hole plays sneakily up hill, 5 yards up hill! BINGO!! Looking at it I would have never guessed. Maybe I'm just denser than I like to admit but that was awesome to find out. Next hole, #3, is a great ego boosting hole. It's a par 5 and almost always plays downwind. A good drive will put you on a nice launching pad for the second shot. The pin in on the front of the green 90% of the time when I play and on the very back of the green every other time. The green is 50 yards' front to back. Front pin plays at about 235 to the front and 285 to the back. I usually don't have a problem getting there in two, usually not on the green but usually greenside. I thought it was because I'm an awesome golferâ€¦not really. I knew it played downhill, but after shooting it with the v4, it plays 15 yards downhill! Add that with the wind and I guess I'm not as long as I thought I was. I'll spare you what I found out on the other holes and sum it up. I thought this was a pretty flat course and that I didn't have to account for elevation change, and I couldn't have been more incorrect. Every single hole played at a different yardage than I thought. On top of that, the GPS range finders I was relying on were consistently 3-4 yards off. I compared yardages with the cart and my phone every hole, and the Bushnell showed that the GPS systems were off almost every single shot. That to me is huge. Remember back at the beginning when I said I was terrible from 130 and in? This is why! I previously thought, oh what difference does three or four yards' matter? Who cares if it's 126 or 121? Why does it matter if it's playing 3 yards uphill? Well let me tell you, it is the difference of a 25-foot birdie putt and a 12-foot birdie putt. My eyes have been opened to the beauty of a rangefinder with slope. I have had so many more decent looks and birdie, just because I have the knowledge of knowing exactly how far the pin is. No more guess work. There is only one down fall that I have seen with the v4, it struggles when there are trees directly behind the pin. I didn't notice it as much when I was closer to the pin, like 175 and in. but on a few par 5's when I'm 230 plus out and trying to get an idea of yardage and trees are behind the pin, it took some very precise shooting. Even then it would more often than not, pick up the trees. Again, it was only from long distances. Closer yardages it could pick up the pin with ease.
Course Score: 55
I give it a 55 just because of the difficulty of picking up the pin. Now keep in mind, I play on desert courses with very few trees on the course, so I didn't run into that problem very often. I can't speak for others who play in wooded areas and how it performs, this is just what I found.
Looks and Durability
I'll be honest with you guys, the v4 looks awesome. Just looking at it, I see a quality product. Not just the actual rangefinder, but the hard case that it comes in. Feels very durable and protective. I like that the case zips up and has a quick release bungie. The bungie allows for quick access if I want to keep it in the case during the round without having to zip/unzip every time I need it. The case also has a clip to allows to clip/unclip from my bag with ease. When comparing the looks to previous models, this one definitely outshines the v3. Not only the v3, but I think the v4 actually looks better than the Leuopold units, which I previously thought were the best looking rangefinders available. As for the optics, they are top notch. I do wish the sights would have been red, not black.
Looks Score: 21
I'm really reaching here to knock points off, but it's the color white on the unit. I have a hard time with white on almost anything that I will be using outside. It's hard though, because when things are new, the white looks awesome. White trucks look good, white trim on houses really make it pop. White just looks really good, it just looks clean. However, I know within a few months, white isn't white anymore. For the time being my v4 is still white and looking good, but give it time. I hope I am proven wrong this time, but history is pretty strong with this one. I don't know why black sights are still used. Not often do I find myself saying â€œman this black sight shows up way more than a red sight wouldâ€. I really wish they would have used a red sight.
Likelihood of Purchase
This is a tough one for me to score, for the fact that this was literally what â€œSantaâ€ was going to bring me for Christmas. I was going to go with the non-slope version but it's all the same. Working at the golf shop, I had messed around with every single rangefinder. I had spoken with all the reps and picked their brains. So this was the one rangefinder I was already going to buy, and I can say that I feel it would have been the right decision. For the price point that it sits at, it is the best.
LOP Score: 15
Might be a biased opinion, but I honestly feel this is THE rangefinder to go with. If you're on the edge of going with a slope version, do it. You won't regret it. The accuracy is awesome and it is one less doubt you have in your head. You know your exact yardage.
Conclusion and Final Score
Overall, I was very impressed with the overall performance of the V4. Not just how well it performed but how much it helped me play better. For anyone who doesn't see the need of a laser range finder, it's worth it. The thought â€œoh my game isn't good enough to worry a few yards here or thereâ€, it does make a difference. A few yards makes all difference on the putting surface. I was one to think that going with a slope version wasn't worth it, well I was wrong on that point as well. It was very eye opening. Time will tell on how annoying the tree issue will be. I haven't had it be too big of an issue yet, but interested to see how it turns out.
Thank you to Golf Spy and Bushnell for this awesome opportunity. I have absolutely enjoyed this whole process.
Final Score: 91