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Laser Range Finder vs Hand Held GPS vs GPS Watch


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Bought a S20 on closeout here when Golfsmith was closing here in Vegas. Fantastic purchase, battery lasts for weeks unless you play a lot then it drops to needing charging once a week. Yardages are spot on compared to lasers. Also water resistent to 25 meters.

 

Only negative is if band breaks, you have to order online from Garmin at $30. You can't walk into a watch store and get it replaced, found that out a few weeks ago.

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I currently have a Garmin S20 as my primary golf watch and a Fénix 3 when I forget the S20.

 

My GPS units have been invaluable to me so far, especially for myself who just started. Getting yardage is quick and easy. With the S20 I can change pin positions and get more accurate yardage but if I don't want to do that I get Front-Middle-Back if the green which is sufficient most days. I haven't lost GPS signal yet and it doubles as a scorecard which I love. The Garmin app has its downsides but it tracks strokes and club used along with yardage hit which is a plus.

 

The one downside I have experienced is that when playing a course with a lot of levels the yardage isn't as accurate. Getting a handle on better distance with slope would be a great benefit. Otherwise thought the gps units are great and would wholeheartedly recommend them. They haven't hurt my game and have only helped.

 

 

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I have an older Garmin G6 handheld GPS. Still works great. Couple things I like about it.

1. Don't like watches. I have this clipped to the cart strapped when I ride, or to the bag strap when walking. Access is just as easy as a watch. 

2. I don't belong to a club, so I play plenty of different courses. I can get a good visual of each hole I am playing. 

3. Love marking fairway bunkers and hazards to get a distance from the tee.

4. Like the "green" button to immediately show a close up of the green, front, middle and back yardage. Then I can move the pin around on the green to approximate location. Love this feature.

5. Waterproof and drop proof. When I grab it and a few clubs from the cart, I walk to my ball, get the yardage and then just drop it on the ground. Never any issues. 

 

I know the GPS watches can do many of these things, but having all the info right in front of you on a small screen vs. multiple watch screens and buttons is a benefit for me. 

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I've used all 3. Hand held gps bs watch is personal preference imo...I prefer hand held vs watch. I like using this for front, middle and back distance on the green to help me judge the type of shot I want to hit into the green and also for picking distance I want to lay up to on par 5 or off the tee on par 4s.

 

The laser is nice to shot targets both the pin and objects off the tee to determine potential trouble.

 

A combo of gps and laser would be my preferred method. This year I've been trying to rely on them less and use distance markers and feel for my shots

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Use a combination of LRF and GPS and have done so for years.

I find having my small GPS attached to the cart useful for knowing the approximate F,M,B of greens. I use my LRF for shooting a pin and then referencing the GPS to determine the approximate location of the pin. ie... is the pin closer to the front or back for example. How much green do I have to work with. Things like that.

My LRF is handy also for shooting fairway bunkers, hazards, trees, structures, etc.

Exactly what I have been doing for several years.  I have a Bushnell Tour V3 that I got as a present a few years ago, and I have been using a Golf Buddy Tour GPS for maybe 6-7 years.  Both work great.  My wife likes the laser, but will occasionally ask for F or B number.  I will usually use only the GPS when walking my course with the guys at the club.  I know the course well, and the F, M, B numbers are good enough for my game.

 

 

Hi all,

 

I'm interested to know what everyone's experience is with laser range finders, hand held GPS, or a GPS Watch.

 

I've dialed in the distances for my clubs at the range but sometimes misjudge the distance when i'm on the course. What are your positive and negative experiences with these?

 

To @Hicks... how did you dial in your distances on the range?  Did you use the balls that you normally play with?  If you used range balls, it's no wonder that you have been misjudging distances on the course.  Range balls typically fly about 85% of new golf balls, and there is a lot of variation in how far they fly depending on their quality and how many times they have been in a bucket.  It's best to find a day when a course is relatively open, head to a long, straight hole (preferably one without hazards  ;)), and hit multiple gamer balls with each club.  

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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I've used a bunch of different GPS products, I started with a Calloway GPS which they quit making/supporting.  Then I bought a cheap Break 80 laser range finder but it wasn't that great unless there were reflectors on the flag sticks, I've tried Golf Logix Swing x Swing but it drains my phone and I get spotty reception. 

 

I just bought a Nikon Golf Coolshot 80VR Laser Rangfinder, only have used it for one round but I like it, you push the button and it stabilizes the field of view and then locks on pretty good.  I laser range finders 90% of the time, obviously doesn't work well in foggy conditions or without line of sight...I just wing it old school in those situations.

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For years I used a variety of apps on my phone - favorite being Skydroid because I can map courses myself with whatever points of interest (trees, hazards, dogleg, etc.) I want. Accuracy was okay, but it really just depended on the phone model I was using and how the course was mapped.

 

A couple years back I experimented with the Bushnell Tour V3 laser rangefinder. I liked it, but felt that it slowed me down a little so I wound up selling it and picked up a Garmin Approach S2 as soon as the prices dropped on them. 

 

The S2 was a good GPS watch and allowed me to very quickly see how far I had to the front, middle, and back of each green. The only issues I ever had with it was 1) it used plastic instead of glass over the face and 2) the battery only seemed to be good for 2 rounds max. I tested the S2 against laser rangefinders a few times and it was always within a yard or two on the courses around here.

 

Fast forward to now and I've made the switch back to a Bushnell laser rangefinder for one reason - the ability to pick up true yardages at the driving range. I don't use it much for longer distances, but it's helped tremendously with my short game. I'll use it to pick out various targets within 100 yards and practice hitting to them with different clubs and trajectories. I still think it's a little slower to use on the course than a GPS watch, but it offers a lot more versatility.

 

Also, I use a compass to get the "true" pin locations  :D

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I'm really surprise at how many are using both GPS and Laser Range Finders. I get "slagged" by my pals for using both. I'm a bit of a Technophile and I have a Skycaddie Touch,  Garmin Approach G3, Bushnell Neo Ion Watch, Shot Scope v2 and a Nikon Coolshot.

 

On competition days I usually play with the Skycaddie and the Nikon Coolshot. The Skycaddie mounted on my electric trolley so I'm checking the distance and hazard carries as I arrive at my ball.

 

GPS in general have an advantage when you have a lot of blind shots, elevated greens, etc. The handhelds GPS will give you a view of the hole with hazards and in some cases green contours. The handhelds in general tend to have more options, like scorecard view, club distances, elevation.

 

The 2 watches I use when I'm carrying my clubs, I find this less fuss. Again I like to already have the distance in my head when I arrive at my ball.

 

The LRF is used when I'm unsure if the pin is back front or centre to give me exact yardage. At my home course the greens are quite small and at the moment you can't stop the ball on them if you fly them to the green so I'm not really using it. When I playing away from home the LRF is more useful GPS won't give you yardages to unmapped obstructions or exact yardages on large greens so you could be 10 yds out.

 

Finally on back to GPS, Skycaddie market themselves as the number 1 due to them mapping the courses by walking them. And my experience is that they are the most accurate and up to date of the 4 GPS devices I have. The other 3 use commercially available satellite maps. On green centre they can vary by a couple of yards but on front and back as much as 5 yds difference. Also the maps used can be 4 or 5 years old. At my course they have removed and changed a lot of bunkers Skycaddie has updated this but the other 3 haven't

 

 

 

 

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I use the rangefinder. I was quite shaky and since i went to Leopold, I get the pin instantaneously. I also use it extensively on scanning the fairway to see distances and where I want to hit.

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I posted this under the start of a new topic today before I noticed this thread.  Here's what I wrote:

 

 

I purchased a Garmin Approach watch a couple of years ago and had recently been considering whether to keep what I had or switch to a laser rangefinder.  Yes, I'm a sucker for electronic gadgets!

 

But when Costco had the new Garmin X40 for about $50 off the regular selling price, I jumped at it.  What appealed to me most was the ability to upload my round to an app that would show a graphic of each hole, where I hit my shot, along with my choice of club and distance.

 

After the watch 'knows' when you've hit a shot, it asks you to input the club you used (for convenience, it suggests the club based upon your prior input).

 

But... it IS a lot of fiddling around.  And sometimes I'll forget to input information after each shot.  You do have the option, afterwards, to input the information post-round.

 

All that being said, I then broke down during Amazon Prime days and purchased the NX7 Pro Rangefinder as well.  And I've got to say that I find myself relying on the rangefindermore than the watch.  I know I'm getting a precise reading rather than an estimate.  And, unless I'm taking a reading to an obstacle, my only need to know distances as on my approach shot.

 

So, usually what I do now is to turn on my watch.  Refer to it occasionally for general distances.  But, if I had to use just one of the two for my round, it would be the rangefinder, hands down.

 

Both are good products.  If you don't mind fidgeting a bit in between shots, it's kind of fun to review your entire round in your leisure.  But, the less time-consuming and more accurate is the Rangefinder.  And I think that the NX7 Pro is a great product and a reasonable cost.

 

 

I've been a Lutheran pastor for almost 40 years.

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I have only used my "new-to-me" Bushnell Pro1600 since getting it off of eBay for a mere $65 last November. It holds up well, is pretty darned accurate so I use it a lot. I had an app on my phone that I never played a round with-literally. It seems to have been deleted. I just couldn't bring myself to be stuck in my phone while out on the course-seems wrong somehow...

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I wear a Garmin Approach S20 on my wrist and use that not only for GPS distances but also to track my score and shots. In tournaments I will pull out my laser rangefinder for an exact number, but on casual rounds I go with whatever numbers the Garmin is giving me. I also just use the laser in my captains choice weekly scramble on Tuesday nights, as I just need a number on approach shots for our group and don't even turn on the GPS on Tuesday nights.

 

I only use the rangefinder in tournaments because I found it takes too much time to shoot and get a number in a casual round, mostly because the GPS gives me a good enough number to pull a club from.

 

I used to use a GPS app on my phone to get yardage and track my score, but man what a pain in the arse it is and such a time waster. The argument for using the mobile app is that most of them are free when you download them, at least for the basics of getting yardage and tracking score. That worked for me until I invested in the laser and now have the Garmin. I doubt I'll ever go back to a mobile app, unless my Garmin one day stops working, which with all electronic gadgets is only a matter of time.

 

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I use both a GPS and laser range finder. I like shooting a pin and knowing how much I have to the back or front from the pin yardage.

 

I have an old bushnell laser - must be 10 years old - but I figure the speed of light hasn't changed in 10 years

 

I have a Bushnell neo ghost GPS that I really like. Large display. Extremely light. Put in your pocket or leave in your cart.

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I like using both in conjunction with one another. The laser is great out of the fairway and when I have a clear view at the flag. The course I play has a lot of hills with blind pins. The watch helps me with a general distance to these greens. I am also in the trees more than I would like to admit😳, so the rangefinder won't give me a reading because the are tree limbs in the way. That is another time I use the watch to see a general distance.

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I have used GPS for years. The original SkyCaddie with it's Soviet era design, and later the Geo X watch, and also phone apps. Absolutely they made a huge difference in my game.

 

HOWEVER!!!! I am currently in the testing of the Precision Pro NX7 Pro Laser Range Finder. This has absolutely changed my game. By that I mean, before it was always I was playing to a range. Now, I am firing at the flag.

 

I won't go into all the details here because I am still writing my review, but GPS is like firing artillery. you just want to get it in a certain area. Laser Range Finder is like shooting a tank or a rifle. You are aiming at a precise spot. This really doesn't make a lot of difference if you are outside your effective range. I don't care if I am 208 or 218 from the flag. Front, Middle, Back is good enough in that range. But I do care if I am 98 or 108 from the flag.

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^^ This! I forgot to mention that earlier. The difference from 40-60 for me has been huge. It has allowed me to actually know how to hit each shot. I now have my 40,45... swing instead of a 40-60 swing. That has been where the rangefinder has shaved the most shots off my game.

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Wilson Staff C300 9.0* Fujikura Pro 58 stiff

Callaway Rogue 3W Mitsubishi Diamana D+ LTD 80 stiff

Mizuno MP-18 MMC FLI-HI 2 iron UST Mamiya Recoil 95 stiff

Ping I200's 4-W Aerotech Steelfiber I110 CW stiff

Ping Glide 52* and 58* stiff

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I use my Nikon Coolshot 80i VR laser rangefinder for distances to the pins, trees, traps, etc on-course, and on the range. I have Golfshot running on my phone via the app for scoring, and hole info when I'm playing a new course. I tried the watch when I was testing one for MGS and I didn't like it at all. I used to have Skycaddie handhelds until phone apps came out. Laser 99% of the time for me.

 

 

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I used GPS exclusively for years and years, my Garmin G6 was a trusted companion. But all it took was a couple of wonky readings for me to research and then purchase a rangefinder.

 

In the past year and maybe 80 rounds since, I've only turned on the G6 a few times and that was to just compare yardage out of curiosity and/or mark distances with a particular club. The precision of laser removes all doubt in my mind so it'll be my very first choice moving forward.

 

I'll keep the GPS as a tool for those blind shots on new to me courses but so far I just haven't faced a challenge demanding its help.

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It has allowed me to actually know how to hit each shot. I now have my 40,45... swing instead of a 40-60 swing. That has been where the rangefinder has shaved the most shots off my game.

 

This is it exactly. Tune into my NX7 Pro review to be posted on 8/20 for more of this sermon.

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I used GPS exclusively for years and years, my Garmin G6 was a trusted companion. But all it took was a couple of wonky readings for me to research and then purchase a rangefinder.

 

In the past year and maybe 80 rounds since, I've only turned on the G6 a few times and that was to just compare yardage out of curiosity and/or mark distances with a particular club. The precision of laser removes all doubt in my mind so it'll be my very first choice moving forward.

 

I'll keep the GPS as a tool for those blind shots on new to me courses but so far I just haven't faced a challenge demanding its help.

This is actually a legitimate concern with GPS devices. This is also one of the reasons why I keep my rangefinder on standby, especially at a course I don't normally play. The GPS (I assume) is based on course mapping that may be outdated, and if the course has changed at all, the GPS won't be accurate.

 

I remember a course I played a few years ago and my GPS was throwing me numbers on holes that didn't make any sense whatsoever, and actually cost me a number of strokes as I was missclubbing left and right. I think it took me about 5 or 6 holes to figure out that the nines had been switched on the course, so what I had for hole #1 was actually distance to hole #10.

 

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