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GPS vs Rangfinders

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15 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:

A couple of manufacturers have incorporated gps into a LRF so you get both with one device.

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Yeah the hud of the Garmin one always looked really cool to me. I’ve wanted to try one in person if I can get my hands on one

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On 5/27/2020 at 4:07 AM, vnmslsrbms said:

Rangefinder doesn't give you the green front/back yardages.  GPS does.  GPS doesn't tell you where the flag is (duh), rangefinder does.  Like many, I use both sometimes.  Always use rangefinder though.  It's easier too when you have a routine so you don't feel hurried trying to get the GPS working (I use an app on my phone).  Don't care for the watch option as I realized I could just do better by unlocking my phone. 

I've probably said this before, so with that disclaimer....

You're *hoping* the GPS is telling you front and back (meant generally, not you specifically).  At best, it seems to be ±3 yards, sometimes worse.  And if the person who mapped the course is lazy, or if there have been changes since the map was uploaded, it could be considerably different.  

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Some of the podcasts and such I've listened to through this pandemic have touted better rounds when the pins were not in because guys were just hitting it to the center of the green and not trying to be too precise.  I use a rangefinder and currently researching GPS like Arccos and Shotscope because I like the tracking capabilities they provide.  I think a lot of us would benefit from knowing front back and middle and hitting it to the middle of the green away from trouble and short siding ourselves.  I'd love it if someone would get smart enough to put package deals together that you could mix and match with all of the above...  I'm as guilty as any of always flag hunting, but I'd like to break myself of that and look for smarter shots. I think the key to shooting better scores is limiting the dumb decisions and play to smarter spots...

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We've got gps units in the carts at the club.  Tend to use them up until the approach shots because it's instant feedback when your already sitting there looking at it and then lasers from then on.  Not much more frustrating than hitting a good shot and then finding your on the wrong tier of the green because you're too lazy to pull out the LRF for a measurement that will tell you the pin is on the back when it looks like it's in the front on an elevated green.

If you had to pick just one, I think you would have to go with the LRF and it's by a pretty wide margin.

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Posted (edited)

I use the Arccos app to figure out what's going on with the wind and elevation change.  I'll take its advice on whether I club up, down, or stay neutral when it comes to club choice.

I'll then shoot with a rangefinder to get the distance.  

So basically I mix the two.  I use the range finder to gather distance and then use the app to figure out whether from that distance given the elevation and wind whether I should go up a club, stay with the club for that difference, or use less club.

Edited by Jus2Good

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I am a dual system person, much like a lot of others on here.

For one, a lot of the courses I play here move the tee boxes around without correcting the yardages on the signs. Many times on par 3s, the signs tell me it's X when the rangefinder tells me it's X +/- 10 to 15 yards. That's a hole club difference. I also use the GPS on Par 4 and 5s because I tee off with a slice (LOL), so I have to know what and where to aim for as I need to aim slight off the fairway to try and keep the ball in play. If I know what to aim for 250 yards out, it makes a big difference for me.

Off the tee box though, is where I am more likely to just use the GPS to know where the hazards are around the course.


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On 3/30/2020 at 9:15 PM, chisag said:

... Another great read from Barbajo! He brings up some interesting points about both. I am a rangefinder guy and love the simplicity of, and for once this is accurate ... just point and shoot. When I am swinging well, I like exact yardage because I can hit close to those exact numbers. Add to that I am not a tech nerd, and I mean "nerd" in the most complementary way so fiddling with numbers or arrows is beyond my technical ability when I just want an exact number, then pull my club and swing. Combined with the fact that I have never worn a watch, ring or anything else on my fingers, hands or wrists so a GPS watch ain't gonna be the first. Carrying a hand held unit would also be an inconvenience because I walk 95% of the time and like to grab my rangefinder from my bag, shoot the yardage and it's back in my bag in less than 10 seconds. Thankfully I still have 20-15 vision but alas at 67 anything right in front of my face is hieroglyphics without my reading glasses. Rangefinder is the clear choice for me.

... John brings up some great points for a GPS unit. Playing a new course, a blind shot renders my rangefinder useless as well as if I cut the corner over those trees, what is on the other side and how far is it? Of course a GPS has those numbers, perhaps along with a visual. Soon as I saw the title I thought "Oh boy here we go again" but it is very well written and I found it quite interesting and informative. 


I use both during my rounds today.

Great article and agree with statement in the article, "a slow golfer is a slow golfer". 

I grew up having to walk, walk off yardages. And while I appreciate that I learned "feel" out of it, the truth is the range finder and GPS combo improve my shot selection regarding club/distance.

IF there is one improvement by using these technologies for me its the distance reading from front of green/entry point to the pin. While growing up I got pretty good at walking off distances but from afar the landing area (part of green I needed to land, account for run out) it was a gamble at best. During a match I did not always have time to walk up the green from way out. With the range finders/GPS combo I don't guess as much where I want to land my shots. 

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