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Bushnell Pro 1600 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder (REVIEW)

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Bushnell Pro 1600 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder – REVIEW




It's the Pro V1 of Laser Rangefinders

Although other balls occasionally score wins on the PGA tour, Titleist is happy to let you know that more tour pros play Pro V1's than any other ball. It takes just a bit of research to see that Bushnell holds the same tour clout in the arena of rangefinders used on tour. Check out these stats: Bushnell users=329 users; other brands combined=34. This data is based upon the PGA, Champions, and LPGA tours. (Source HERE)


To be honest, tour usage is typically one of the things that I overlook in selecting gear, especially tour-level clubs. Most tour gear is so advanced that I have no right to subject these fine tools to my very rough around the edges (and a bit in the middle too) game of golf. Placing a tour driver in my hands is like handing a titanium axe to a Neanderthal.


In spite of this, I do find myself making exceptions to my own tour-avoidance rule when it comes to golf accessories. I believe that the tour usage of things like golf shoes, raingear, and rangefinders is more relative to my personal game. If a company's raingear can keep a pro dry during a tournament, it should keep me dry as I complain about the rain at my local muni course. If a rangefinder can be trusted by a pro to give accurate distances within a yard when millions in prize money is on the line, I feel I can trust it to help me with selecting the club that should cover the measured distance.


Is the Bushnell Pro 1600 Bag Worthy?

As stated in my other laser rangefinder review (HERE), there are advantages and disadvantages to using either a GPS or laser as a rangefinder. Rather than getting into that discussion, I am going to approach this review from the perspective of someone who has already decided to go with laser, and now is in the process of selecting which one to purchase.


Cosmetics and Feel (20 Points)

The Bushnell 1600 Pro has a great texture and feels great on the fingers. Overall though, I find it a little on the large size. Some of my issue may come from the fact that this unit is used horizontally while my other laser fires vertically. In its horizontal orientation it is very comfortable, with well-placed grooves matching the comfortable finger positions. The trigger button is large and easy to access, contours on the unit's top easily guiding your finger to the button. The “mode” button is well away from the trigger button making its accidental depression near impossible.



The unit feels substantial, but also a touch heavy. Because of the horizontal orientation, two-handed operation is almost a necessity. The eyepiece lens features an adjustment that allows for you to change the unit to favor using it with or without glasses. The color scheme for the unit is a very professional looking grey, black, and silver.

Cosmetics and Feel Score: 18/20 Points


Performance (60 Points)

Readily apparent is the waterproof nature of the unit. To me, it has a definite scuba gear type feel. It is 100% waterproof, not water resistant. The lenses are even coated with a water repellent coating, causing water to run off and not stick. I really like knowing that the unit has the ability to resist the environment a bit. Granted I am not a huge fan of golf in the rain, but I know that I can set the unit on the damp grass to take my swing without damaging it in any way. I get a bit of an off-road vehicle feel from the 1600 Pro rather than a delicate, don't-break-this-fragile-laser, feel. I won't spike it into the turf after a shot, but it feels like it could probably handle it. (Disclaimer, I am not promoting the spiking of your laser...)


Ease of Use

The Bushnell Pro 1600 follows the same operation strategy that seems standard for the laser rangefinders. From one single button, you push to turn it on, push again to read distance, and push and hold to read multiple distances as you sweep through multiple targets. As mentioned before, the operation of this unit is based upon horizontal orientation and works best with two hands.


On the Course

The unit powers up quickly and the targeting reticule is easy to see under normal light conditions. In addition, the unit has the ability to focus the reticule relative to the target. This can add to the time to take a measurement, but I found that the focused reticule made taking the readings even easier. The display in the unit is very easy to read, although I would prefer to have the measured distance values and the distance with slope values to be a bit further apart in the display.


The magnification level, 7x seems appropriate and the lenses produce a crystal clear image. I actually used the unit to watch a hawk fly around the last time I played. I may have also lased the hawk to know it was 154 yards away. How strong are the optics in this unit? It can measure distances up to 1600 yards to +/- yard accuracy. I tend to get a bit offline on the course, but even I can keep it under 1600 yards. Wow! With the Pinseeker feature engaged, the unit did not have any difficulty finding targets, although some were a bit slower to read than others. When I say slower that would mean 4 seconds and not 2 seconds. It is a solid performer.


There are some things that I found that I didn't like as I used the unit. First of all its horizontal use was a bit annoying as I tended to knock off my hat nearly every time I brought the unit to my eye. Honestly this would probably end up being the deal breaker for me with this unit. I prefer a vertical-firing, smaller unit. This is 100% personal preference and not the fault of the unit. I would likely just move past this one and explore Bushnell's other units like the Tour V2 or Hybrid. The adjustable eyepiece lens did also occasionally collapse down when I brought the unit to my eye as well.




The carry case has a nice design feature that it can be securely zipped closed or secured with a magnet with the zipper left unzipped. This is a great way to keep the unit available yet secured at the same time. The case also has a small zippered compartment that is a perfect storage site for the lens cloth. It comes with a belt/strap that allows the case be attached to your bag or maybe worn. However, the case is a bit on the large size for me. By necessity as the unit itself is large. I found it easier to leave the case in the car and put the unit in the console of my pushcart.


The unit also comes with a cover for the eyepiece lens, a camera-type mount for a tripod, a nice cloth to clean the lenses when needed, and a lanyard to attach to the unit to keep it from falling if you drop it.




Performance Score: 55/60

(If you prefer a horizontal operation plane, adjust this section's score accordingly.)


Value (20 Points)

The price of the Bushnell 1600 Pro Slope Edition in the Bushnell online shop and other online retailers is $499. This places the unit at the high end of the price scale for a laser rangefinder with slope. I would expect that based upon construction, this unit will last quite a while. The battery (9v) lasts so long that the manual says to replace it each year as suggested maintenance. The battery is also easy to get to, by the way. The only moving parts that could possibly break would be the adjustable eyepiece lens or buttons, although either breaking seems unlikely.



The unique feature that sets this unit apart from the others is it's waterproof nature. If you live in a place where your golf is damp or even rainy, the peace of mind that comes with this unit may be well worth the price. Most of my golf occurs in hot, dry summer afternoons and thus waterproofing is not a necessity unless I toss the bag in a water hazard.

Value Score (18/20)


Overall Score: 91/100



So will the Bushnell 1600 Pro be the rangefinder of choice for me this season? Alas, no. I want to restate that my issue with the unit is not one of quality; it is definitely of the highest quality. My not using this unit comes from the horizontal/vertical issue. Go into your local proshop and try it out, you may find that you prefer the horizontal. It's just not for me. Although I have not used one, I think that I would be very happy with the Tour V2 model.


On a side note, Bushnell is offering an updated version of the Patriot Pack in 2011 with separate packs featuring either the Tour V2 Tournament Edition or the Tour V2 Slope Edition. Last year they raised/donated $90,000 to the Folds of Honor Foundation and they will be donating money again this year. This is a great program and it is fantastic that Bushnell allows you to do some good for the families of fallen soldiers while doing some good for your golf game.

Volvo Intorqueo


All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave


If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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