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Range Finder vs. GPS

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I have both. In 2005 I got the Bushnell Pinseeker 1500 with slope. It was either that or the handheld sky caddie. I’m glad I went with the laser because technology changed every year with gps and the cost of the unit was part 1 and the subscription was part 2. The Bushnell changed a lot because I started really knowing exactly how far I was hitting it.

Fast forward to 2014 I got a Bushnell GeoX gps watch. Radio Shack was selling them and I got a $100 gift card for Christmas. Front middle and back with no annual subscription. You had to register it online so it would update courses. But it was light and worked pretty well. Only problem is they stopped the updates for it and now if I go to a new course or if a course changed its name it’s useless.

Low and behold my Bushnell stopped accurately shooting past 100 yards. I contacted Bushnell and they offered me 50% off a new rangefinder. I now use the Bushnell ProXE. That thing is awesome. Line of sight is still a problem but the buzzing, magnet, and red led are all major upgrades. 

Both have advantages and disadvantages. While the watch worked well when updated if I didn’t charge it enough or it didn’t recognize the course it was useless.
The rangefinder is tough to beat. The Bushnell is accurate and I can use it anytime and anywhere. 

Taylormade Woods

Cobra Hybrid

Hogan Irons
HiToe Wedges

Spider Putter

Snell MTBX golf balls 

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I carry and use both. The course I play has 4 dog legs with trees that block out your view of the flag unless you hit the perfect shot so a laser is not really an option, however it also has 3-4 holes where the greens are well above the height of the fairway and cannot see where the flag is located on the green which is where a laser is perfect.

I am not one to buy the latest and greatest, I am happy as long as they do the job. Hence I bought a Laser ($109 AUD) which has Pin Lock and no slope ( many cheap lasers have slope and it cannot be turned off so they cannot be used even in amateur competition) and I use a app on my phone called mScorecard which has GPS but also a scorecard that calculates Stableford.


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Callaway Epic Flash 9 Degree

Callaway Big Bertha Fusion 3 wood 15 Degree

Callaway Epic Hybrid 18 Degree

Callaway Steelhead Pro 4-AW Irons

Cleveland 48 and 54 Degree Wedges Steel Shaft

Recoil Graphite Shafts in all Callaway Clubs

Callaway Big Bertha Putter - for when it is wet

La Jolla Putter with Flat Car Grip.

Preferred ball - Currently Costco Kirkland Performance 3 Piece but Seed 001 is preferred.

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Before I got my rangefinder I would religiously use a GPS on my cell phone. but over time I found that I would get more distracted by my cell phone then actually focusing on golf. And for that reason I bought a rangefinder and I'm super glad that I did. For me I feel like it gives more accurate distances and I can find the range for whatever I want instead of whatever the GPS unit allows me to.

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I have gone a slightly different GPS route.  I bought a Garmin Vivoactive 3 that was on markdown because I wanted the watch to be useful for more than just golf.  That aside, all I get from it is distance to the pin.  Not a terrible thing if I'm at my usual course where I know where to go already.  Haven't tried it somewhere I'm not familiar with as of yet.  The only thing I dont like about the version of the Garmin Golf app that is available for a non pure GPS Garmin watch is that I dont get anything but distance to pin.  I can't see hazards.  However, I can do all of the scorecard tracking I want.  I can also move the flag around the green on my watch depending on where it is on the green, but since my local course doesn't believe in setting all pins to the same general area for 18 holes, this becomes situationally useless at times.

Driver: Cobra Speedzone 10.5 Mitsubishi AV Blue S flex

Wood: Cobra Bio Cell 3-4 Grafalloy Pro Launch Blue (low launch original version) S flex

Hybrids: Taylormade GAPR 3 KBS graphite shaft

              Strata 4 and 5 hybrids R flex

Irons: Strata 6-PW R flex

Wedges: Texan Classics 52, 56, 60 R flex

Putter: Odyssey Red Ball mallet

Ball: Srixon Q Star Tour

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On 4/28/2020 at 9:36 AM, eschultz406 said:

I'm sure this topic has been discussed ad nauseam but I'm going to give it a rip anyway. When playing a round of golf what do you prefer to use a Range Finder or GPS Unit whether it's a watch or handheld device? I play with a Range Finder but I have been entertaining the idea of switching over to a GPS unit. I really like the Garmin Approach S62. I was wondering if anyone as information on the Garmin Approach S62 or information on switching over? Or what y'all prefer to use. 

Looks like I'll be the outlier here, I've only used a GPS once and the rest of the time I'm on a rangefinder.  Using the rangefinder has become a part of my preshot routine, so there's honestly a meditative quality to it.  With the GPS what I found was that if the system is not updated regularly, as when a course goes through a rehab, you can run into more problems than what it's worth.  I'd go with the rangefinder any day.  That said, I was looking into the Garmin Approach G80 as a launch monitor / GPS system, but ultimately went with a swing caddie as it was over $200 cheaper and I didn't know how much I'd really use the GPS system.  

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I had the Garmin Z80 best for both worlds. A LRF with a GPS overlayed it inside the eyepiece. 

I got both readouts with one view.  Coupke logistical downsides to the Garmin.  It often goes to sleep and takes a bit to wake up.  

It's works off a charge vs battery so you have to keep an eye on the charging level. 

Over the winter I picked up a SX500 and so far really like all it has to offer.  


:titelist-small: TS1 10.5 Fubuki 45g Shaft

:taylormade-small: SIM Max 5w 18* Ventus Black 

:ping-small:  G410 FW 7,9 Alta CB R flex 

:ping-small: G410 Hybrid 26 degree Alta CB R Flex

:titelist-small: T300 KBS TGI 80 5 iron thorugh 46 W2

:vokey-small: SM7 50.08, 54.08 and 58.14 

:scotty-small:  Phantom 5.5   35" 

:titelist-small: ProV1X Play number 12



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On 4/28/2020 at 12:26 PM, eschultz406 said:

I am right there with you about seeing someone pull out a range finder from less than 50! Thank you for the feedback!

I'm was (am) one of those guys.  But I'm still dialing in my game - especially within 100 yards. I haven't played much the last 8 years due to kids/work but am now getting back into it.  I've gone from a 28 index to a 15 in the past 18 months due in large part to the short game.  New Irons helped as well. As I've gotten used to the feel again I do pull the range finder out less within 50, but it will still happen depending on the situation and pin location.  If you are worried about pace of play, you should love to see my pull out the range finder and get a quick understanding. It saves a lot of time over finding a ball past the green or trying to get it out of the sand and all those extra shots!

But to the point of the thread:  I have the Pro XE and it is absolutely great. I play a hilly course so like others have stated sometimes a GPS would be better, but I find those clumsy when watching others use them.  The magnet on the XE makes it easy and fast to use while riding, and while walking it is not much slower.  The resolution of the XE is a big benefit - so much better than others I have looked through. I will sometimes use it to find my ball while waiting for others to hit or when I crest a blind hill and it's not where I expected it to be.

One consideration with the elements portion of the slope setting for the XE for those that play at altitude: since elevation and temp is factored into the slope, when you turn on that setting it can throw off your partners if you give them a slope reading that they are not used to.  But It's great if you go from FL to play a round in CO.

:callaway-small: Epic Flash Sub Zero 10.5; Aldila Rouge White 130 MSI 60S

:titelist-small: TS2 15 Deg; Hzrdus Smoke 6.0 70g 

:titelist-small: 818 H1 19 deg; Atmos HB TS 8S

:mizuno-small: JPX919 Forged 4-gap; C-Taper lite 110S

:vokey-small: SM 8 56 08M and 60 12D

:Snell: MTB Black

Costco KS1

Bushnell Pro XE

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I have a Sky Caddie Touch and a Busnell Tour4.  The SkyCaddie is really handy when I am playing cart path only so I know which clubs to carry onto the course.  Having the range finder is really nice on a new course of if the green view is obscured as I can quickly figure out the pin position in relation to the front and back.  I was given the SkyCaddie and originally thought it was overkill, but I really like having it on new courses.  It is nice for blind carries and cutting dog legs.   Plus it helps when a battery dies...LOL.

:ping-small:       Driver:  G410 LST 9 +1 Flat w/Tour AD DI 6X Orange

:taylormade-small:  3 Metal:   M2 13 degree w/Tour AD DJ 7X Orange

:titelist-small:          Hybrid:  818 21 

:mizuno-small:        4-PW:  MP 20  w/Dynamic Gold X100

:mizuno-small:        Wedges:  52-56-60: Mizuno MP R12 w/KB STE 610 Wedge 125 S+

:whitlam-golf-1:    Putter:  Joseph SS303 w/Super Stroke Fatso 5.0

:Snell:  Ball:  MTB Black

:1590477705_SunMountain: C130 S    🇺🇸

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I use both as well. I have an older GPS watch that I leave attached to my bag and can use for quick yardages like lay up distances, par 4 yardages, etc., and a range finder that I use for shooting pins and specific landmarks like trees, bunkers, etc..  I think it saves me time this way and I like having access to the information. 

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I use both.  It takes very little time to glance up at my GPS to give me the basics, front-middle-back of a green.  If I am on a course that I do not know or a course with very large greens, then I will use my Range Finder to hit the flag. So, I see where both are useful so I carry both.  Kind of like a police officer carrying a hand gun and a stun gun. Depends on the situation.  

Ping G400 Max driver | Ping G410 3 & 5 fairway woods | Titleist 818 H1 4 & 5 hybrids | Titleist 718 AP1 irons | Titleist SM6 52 F & 56M wedges | Rife Mid Mallet 400 putter | Bushnell NEO Ghost GPS | Snell MTB-X yellow / Srixon Q Star Tour yellow ball | GHIN hcp floats between 10 & 14

"Never bet against an old man with old clubs that have new grips"

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Using a rangefinder the last couple of weeks playing golf has made the game so much easier. I just point and click and immediately get a yardage. It makes choosing a club so much easier as I know the one in my hand is the right one with the distance.

In my bag:

Driver:  :Hogan: Ben Hogan GS53 10.5* Stiff Mitsubishi tensei blue

3 Wood: :adams-small: Insight BUL Stiff

Hybrid:  :Sub70: 939x Hybrid UST 680 recoil shaft stiff

Irons: :Sub70: 699 irons  KBS tour 90 v Stiff 

52 Deg:cleveland-small: 588 RTX 2.0

56 deg: :cleveland-small: Reg 588 tour action

60 Deg: :cleveland-small: 588 RTX 2.0

Putter:bettinardi-small: Studio Stock #3 (Winn 1.32 Pro x grip)

Rangefinder: :CaddyTek: Caddytek V2


Check out my MyGolfSpy 2020 Forum Official Tester: Ben Hogan GS53 Driver



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I have always used a rangefinder when comparing to a GPS. When I’m about to hit into the green, I’ll hit the flag and the go off feel on whether I should attack the flag or be cautious based off the pin location. Knowing exactly the front and back of the green gets in my head and makes me second guess my selection of clubs. That’s just me though, I have 3 of my buddies I play with regularly that use GPS. They like to pinpoint exactly where they want to hit the bal. I just try to see the number and then hit the number (obviously, that doesn’t always work out). 

 :ping-small:  G410 Plus, w/ X stiff 75 g Project X Evenflow Black shaft driver

 :adams-small: GT Tight Lies 3 & 5 wood

 :taylormade-small: SLDR AW - 4 iron S flex

:cleveland-small: Rotex 2.0 RTX 588 56°

:titelist-small: Vokey SM7 08M 60°

:scotty-small: Newport 2.5 putter

:Snell:MTB X golf balls

RH, Alabama

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I use a rangefinder most of the time. If playing a course I'm not as familiar with I'll use app called skydroid. Even then I'll use rangefinder to confirm things if I can.

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

         Grip n Rip it

Chicks dig the LONG ball

In my :callaway-small: staff bag

:cobra-small: King F7+ Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 60 - Graphite Tour X-Stiff

:755178188_TourEdge:  CBX 13.5 3 Wood

:1332069271_TommyArmour:  Atomic Irons 4-AW (reviewing)

:cleveland-small: CG16 Satin 52*

:cleveland-small: 588 RTX 2.0 56* and 60*

Sentio Sierra 101-M Putter


Proud tester of the Tommy Armour ATOMIC Irons 


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I use both. I have Golfshot GPS that helps me plan the hole by giving me options to hit the fat part of the fairway and know what I will be leaving myself into the green. I like to leave a full club in rather than deal with partial shots. Then I switch to the rangefinder to zero in on the pin for my second/third shot.

Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

:ping-small:  G Driver: (10.5 / s-flex)
:bridgestone-small: J38, 3W (15 / s-flex)
:titelist-small:  980F, 5W (19) s-flex
pxg-small.jpg 0311, 4-PW, (+1/2" / +2 up) ProjX LZ 6.0
pxg-small.jpg 0311 wedges, 52, 56, 60 degree
TommyArmour.jpg.d3c9da7d74a401e95b625f92af834200.jpg Impact No.3, Putter 35"

Dexterity: Right-handed

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I've never used a range finder.  I use a GPS app on my phone, or even go old school and pace of the distance from the yardage marker.  Not sure whether I would like a range finder or not.

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download.png.70f309c82ad44a20c4a21dd4294734cf.png  Mizuno ST180 driver, Fujikura Atmos Blue 5S shaft

download.png.70f309c82ad44a20c4a21dd4294734cf.png Mizuno ST190 3 wood, Fujikura Atmos Blue 6S shaft

download.png.70f309c82ad44a20c4a21dd4294734cf.png  Mizuno MP18 SC 3i-PW, KBS Tour 120 stiff shafts

2138902261_download(1).png.0e0a650bda5b8e1a6fe2a4edb16a8902.png Titleist Vokey SM7 F grind 50*-08* wedge flex

2138902261_download(1).png.0e0a650bda5b8e1a6fe2a4edb16a8902.png Titleist Vokey SM7 S grind 54*-10* wedge flex

2138902261_download(1).png.0e0a650bda5b8e1a6fe2a4edb16a8902.png Titleist Vokey SM7 K grind 58*-14* wedge flex

RIFE---RIFE---CABINET-GRAPHIC.jpg.84ec6d80cb1844e5c0c5325b1983f3fd.jpg Rife RFX Raider, 34"

srixon.png.a2032b0f711ea5613d687757a5449e64.png Srixon Z-Star/Z-Star XV balls

unnamed.jpg.b462311d1bccd433919659e8932db7ea.jpg Ping C-4 Hoofer stand bag

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I think both have their place although I only use a GPS.  I have a small GPS (Bushnell Phantom) that I use on the cart which also can link to my phone.  I basically just use the front, center, back numbers and if I need a specific target I'll use my phone for a layup or cover number.  The only time I really feel like I need a range finder is when I'm at the practice range and not sure how far away the targets are.  

:ping-small:   :taylormade-small:   :cleveland-small:   :wilson_staff_small:   :OnCore:
'16 Taylormade M2 9.5*
Ping G Crossover 18*
Ping G Crossover 24*
Taylormade RSI2 6-PW
Taylormade Milled Grind 52* (bent to 50)
Cleveland Zipcore 56*
Wilson Staff Infinite Southside
Oncore Elixr


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I use the arccos caddie app which is great to give me the options of the clubs I should used for my next shot and I love it think its great, but I feel like the range finder is so much more accurate when you can locate the flag. 

:ping-small: G400 SFT 10. KBS TD 50 Category 3 shaft 

:cobra-small: F9 SpeedBack Black Grey Fairway Wood 5  :Fuji: ATMOS Tour Spec Blue 7 shaft

:taylormade-small: 3 Rescue Hybrid

:ping-small:  4 G Crossover

:cobra-small: F8 Single Length Irons 5-GW OBAN CT-100 shafts 

:ping-small:   Glide 2.0 SS Wedges 54 & 58 

:taylormade-small: TP Red White Ardmore Putter

:Arccos: All clubs use Arccos 

:918457628_PrecisionPro:Precision Pro NX7 range finder 


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Had a Garmen Approach for many years and was pretty happy with it - best Christmas present my wife ever got me.  Unfortunately it gave up the ghost and was beyond the fix dates for Garmen.  Garmen offered a small discount on the newest high-end models so I thought it would bea good time to check things out.  I ended up going with a NXP Pro laser rangefinder.  I never really used a bushnell or leopold so I don't really know the optics and target finding differences but I would say it is very easy to use and finds pins even when a bit shaky so you can do it pretty quickly. It works a bit quicker when the flags have those reflector things but still finds 'em without.  You do need line of sight which was the Garmen''s big advantage. However you just have to pick the closest line of sight as you are walking to the ball and if you still can't see the flag you don't really have a shot anyway so just punch out.  Overall I think the Garmen was a bit easier to use - just a quick glance gave you most of what you need.  you can drag/slide the pin to approximate real pin positions. However in that time I could have read the pin many times over with the NXP Pro.  Garmen did a better job with distances to open landing areas or distance to the corner on a dogleg, and getting distances to the front of hazards (water, trap) for layups or to see if that water is really in play or not. That is tough with the NXP.  You can get the carries reasonably well with NXP (provided you can clearly see the far bank) but sometimes you just gotta layup and it's nice to know the max.  The NXP gives slope (switchable mode), and maybe the new Garmen's do as well, but quite honestly I don't need a range finder to tell me if it is up hill or down.  There is something nice about seeing the whole hole overview that the Garmen gives. From an accuracy standpoint I think the laser is better (and I am always within a +-yard of any other partner's laser) which give you confidence but in general I am not playing to half yards so that is not a super big deal.  

I don't know if all that is helpful.  Overall I was pretty happy before and I am pretty happy now. 

However if one of those could accurately read the line for my putt....


Golfer in Summer, Curler in Winter

TM M5 Tensei Red Stiff

TM RBZ 3 wood

Wilson Fybred - next on the chopping block

Callaway Apex 4 - P

Vokey 52, 56, 60

Odyssey 2 Ball with Black Line

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I will mostly use a Laser range finder for my green approach shot decisions. However, I bought the GolfLogix app for my phone to give me overviews of holes I am not familiar with or if there is a shot with an obstruction that makes the range finder hard to use. My issue with using a GPS unit has to do with accuracy of pin placement on approach shots. For a Sand trap that doesn't move, I trust the info, but if I need to place the pin location by hand I can be off by several yards when guessing where the pin is from the fairway (hopefully) and end up leaving myself a more difficult shot than necessary had I had the correct yardage. 

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Driver: :taylormade-small: M5 9.5* head set to 8* loft 3*open, weights set slightly lower Launch and fade bias
3 wood: :taylormade-small: M1 13.5* Head set open w/ Fade bias weights. 
Irons: :ping-small: I-Blades PW-3i, 2* up standard length.
Wedges: :ping-small:Glide 1.0 TS 60*, :ping-small: Glide 2.0 56 ES, :titelist-small:Vokey 52* 
Putter: :ping-small: Sigma G Kushin .
Ball: Various: :titelist-small: AVX, :bridgestone-small: B X, and currently testing the Vice Pro + Neon just for fun

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I've been using a free app on the phone that basically gives yardage to the middle of the green. That would normally be sufficient for me, especially with some other landmarks around. However, I recently won a gift card to PGA Superstore, and considering I just refreshed all of my clubs, I couldn't think of anything to buy except for a rangefinder. I must say that I quite enjoy having it. I didn't realize how useful it would from the teebox. Knowing the distance to carry fairway bunkers, or the distance to a tree to try to cut the corner on a dogleg. Even used it on people a few times to see if it was safe to hit. On par 3s, the slope feature is particularly useful, especially since I play some courses that have dramatic elevation changes and your not sure if its a 6 iron or an 8 iron hole. And as mentioned, its great to have on the range. My home course has a nice driving range, but the yards are all measured from the sidewalk near the hitting area, and of course they move the hitting area up and down a good 50 yards or so to keep the grass fresh. So the flag marked at 150 could easily be 100. Knowing exactly what distances the flags are really lets me dial in my distances. Especially since I just got new clubs. I dont think its a must have, but it is a nice luxury item. 

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  • Driver: :ping-small: G410 Plus 9*, Tensei Orange 60X
  • Hybrids::adams-small:  Super XTD 17* Hybrid Fubuki AX:callaway-small:,  Apex 20* Hybrid, AD-DI 85S
  • Irons: :srixon-small: U85 4I AD DI 95S, Z585 5-6, Z785 7-PW, Modus 120s
  • Wedges: :ping-small:: Glide 3.0 52, Modus 120x:taylormade-small:, Hi Toe 56 & 60, Modus 120x
  • Putter: :EVNROLL:  ER3 @ 33"
  • RH in Phoenix, AZ

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