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Garmin watch or Rangefinder?

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I have an old Garmin golf watch and thinking about getting a rangefinder.  What do people thing about golf watch vs a range finder.  What is the best rangefinder I should consider?  Thank you!


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I still use my Garmin Approach S20 watch which ive had for many years now. I have debated upgrading to a newer watch with more features or buying a rangefiner. But i keep going back to the S20 because it has all i need. It gives me the back middle and front of the green distances, layup distances, hazard distances, and i can move the pin around to find more precise pin distances if i want. I dont need more functions like a touch screen or color display of the hole layout. I wont leave it in the cart and lose it like a rangefinder. Also, a new watch/rangefinder costs more than im willing to spend. 

The downside to my watch, ive had to replace the rubber strap and rubber loops to keep the tag end inplace, the battery doesnt last as long as it used to, and my course has a green with a lower left pin position that Garmin does not recognize on the watch display, but golf GPS apps like the GRINT allows me to find that distance when needed. 

I do like the abilility to look at my watch for a distance to hit without having the extra equipment or forgetting the rangefinder in the cart, especially when its cart path only, or when my cartner and I arnt playing good cart golf. 

Those are all my reasons why i personally prefer my simple golf watch

:ping-small: G410 9* Evenflow Black 75 6.0

:ping-small: G425 3W Evenflow Black 85 6.0

:ping-small: G425 5W, 4H Evenflow Black 85 6.0

:callaway-small: Mavrik Pro 5-AW TT Elevate 95 S

:vokey-small: SM9 54F, 58D

:scotty-cameron-1: 2020 Special Select Newport 2

 :titelist-small: ProV1x

:wilson-small: Triad


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I have a Garmin S62 and also use a Nikon Coolshot rangefinder.

For exact distances to pins, I find the rangefinder to be more accurate, and really just use my watch to get approximate distances where there may be some room for error on distance required for that particular shot.

I typically find them accurate to each other within 3 - 5 yards, with the rangefinder being more accurate rather than relying upon a GPS satellite.

Driver & Fairway: :titleist-small: Titleist TSR3 10 degree - :Fuji: Ventus TR Blue & :titleist-small: TSR3 15 - :projectx: Hzrdus Black Gen 4 

Hybrid: :titleist-small: TSR2 21 degree - :projectx: Hzrdus Black Gen 4

Irons: :titleist-small: Titleist T200 3G (4) & T150 - (5-G) - :projectx: Project X LZ 

Wedges: :vokey-small: Vokey SM8 54, and 58

Putter: :cameron-small: Cameron Phantom X 7.5

Ball: :titleist-small: Pro V1 & :maxfli: Maxfli Tour

Link to "Unboxing & Set-Up" post



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Count me in for those who use GPS and laser rangefinder. 

In my case, I've used the Shot Scope LX+ which has the LX rangefinder and the H4 GPS/shot tracking system for two years.   I use the H4 for getting general distance to the greens, helping calculate layup distances and (with the included RF tags) collecting data on my golf game.  The big advantage is there's no additional fee (annual or otherwise) to access the data and analysis.  I tend to use the rangefinder for a specific distance to the pin when I'm close and for accurate distances to hazards.  

The original LX+ (LX rangefinder, H4 GPS unit and club tags) is roughly $300 while the updated version that has a cart magnet and updated stabilization is roughly $370.  The LX rangefinder has stabilization, target lock vibration, adaptive slope technology and 900 yard/7X optics.  The H4 is a full functioning GPS unit and shot tracker for less than the annual fee for some shot tracking systems.   Individually, the LX runs about $300 and the H4 at $150 (but I've seen it as low as $129).  So, the bundle is a good deal.  

Ping G430 Max driver 10.5 degrees with an Alta Quick45 gram senior shaft
Callaway Epic 3 wood, Project X Evenflow Green 45 gram senior shaft  
Callaway GBB Epic Heavenwood, with a Mitsubishi Diamana 50 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G 26 degree hybrid, stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Callaway Paradym X irons, 7-AW with Aldila Ascent Blue 50 graphite shafts
Edison wedges:  50, 55 and 60 degree, KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
Putters:  L.A.B. Direct Force 2.1 putter, 34.5" long, 67 degrees lie
2022 MGS Tester:  Shot Scope Pro XL+ with H4  
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I use both but since buying my Shotscope I rarely use the rangefinder anymore. The only thing to use it for now is to laser the group in front of me to see if it’s safe to hit. I’m also not a good enough golfer to pin hunt so the front middle and back distances on the watch work great for me. 

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I use my Garmin Fenix 7. Distances are pretty reliable, within a few yards of my playing partners Range Finder, and even has a ”plays like” feature that factors in slope and wind. Been using Garmins ever since I left my Range Finder in a cart and haven’t gotten a new one. 

Driver: PXG Black Ops, Ventus Blue 6X 

Fairways: PXG 0311 XF Gen 5 3 and 5 wood, Project X Riptide CB 6.0

Hybrid: PXG 0311 XF Gen 5 22 degree, Project X Riptide 6.0

Irons: PXG 0311P Gen 5 5-PW, Project X LS 6.5

Wedges: PXG SG2 50, 56(55), Modus 125 Wedge; PXG SG 2 60, KBS 130 Wedge  

Putter: TaylorMade Spider GT Red SB

Ball: Maxfli Tour S

MGS Star Grip Review: https://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/63328-star-grips-2024-forum-review/


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I have both but use the laser more often. My course has a lot of dog legs so knowing the exact distance to the tree line is important. You now know how far you can hit to get the best position for your next shot. My laser also has slope. All the greens are elevated. This also helps. 
If you are interested in a laser look at the Cobalt. Absolutely the best I’ve had and tried. It’s pricey but also has a lifetime warranty.  Check out the forum testing thread for these. I golf twice a week 52 weeks a year and still am on the original battery two years later. My other lasers batteries would only last a half season at best.

I have a magnetic laser pocket on my bag. Open flap, shoot target, put it back and pull the club needed. I never put it in or on the cart. You will forget it eventually.

:titleist-small: Driver, TSi 1 S Flex

:cobra-small: 3 wood, Aerojet Max UST Helium Nanocore R Flex

:cobra-small: 5 wood, Aerojet Max UST Helium Nanocore R Flex 

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, Aerojet Max UST Helium Nanocore R Flex 

:cobra-small: 5 Hybrid King Tec MMT R Flex

:cobra-small: Irons, Tour UST Recoil 95 R Flex (6 - Gap)

:cobra-small: Wedges, Snakebite KBS Hi- Rev2.0 54* & 60*

:cobra-small: Agera 35"

image.png Ultralight 14-way Cart Bag

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I am primarily a GPS person and only really need F/M/B distance and the pin position.  I’ll occasionally use a rangefinder for doglegs or hazard carry or for slope calculation when there is a large height difference.    Learned that good course management means you seldom  end actual pin distance.   

Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :touredgeexotics: XCG7 Beta 15*  w/Fujikura Fuel
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 915H 21* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype        
Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
Wedge:  :titleist-small: 54/12D, 60/8M w/Accra iWedge 90 Graphite
Putter:   Sacks Parente MC 3 Stripe

Backup Putters:  :odyssey-small: Milled Collection RSX 2, :seemore-small: mFGP2, :cameron-small: Futura 5W, :taylormade-small:TM-180

Member:  MGS Hitsquad since 2017697979773_DSCN2368(Custom).JPG.a1a25f5e430d9eebae93c5d652cbd4b9.JPG


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I use the Garmin S40, or S42, its one of those two.  First like others have said, I have found when I start to believe, and that is what having an "exact" number to the pin, prompts in me, that I can hit a golf ball an exact number, especially if the distance to the flag is the exact number I think I fly one of my clubs, then bad things happen.  I  immediately begin to have wholly unrealistic expectations of where this shot is going to end up, and most of the time the results are not good AT ALL.

I am entirely comfortable with I got 140 to the middle, my 9 iron goes 135, the front is 130, don't want to risk 145 yard 8 iron, because over the green is NEVER GOOD, at any of the places I play.  C'mon baby hit the putting surface!! Is good enough for me!!

I will say I NEVER thought of what someone said earlier.  All groups should be required to have one range finder, for the sole purpose OF LASERING THE GROUP IN FRONT, to prevent undue waiting when, AS OFTEN HAPPENS, the group in which nobody has hit a drive 225 yards, is waiting to tee off, even though the group in front of them is at 285 already.


And as Tom mentioned I am freaking terrible at leaving, or almost leaving things behind, haven't left anything behind YET, that is attached to my wrist.

Edited by Stuka44

Driver: Cobra King Speedzone

Irons:  :callaway-small: Mavrik 4-GW

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CG-14 56 & RTX 52

Hybrid:  Callaway Apex Pro 2H 

Woods:  Gigagolf  3W, 

Putter:  Ping  Scottsdale Wolverine

Ball:  Srixon Z-Star XV 

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Like a lot of people here I use both. I’ve had a Garmin S62 but switched to a ShotScope X5. Same basic ideas as everyone else, I use this mostly for F/M/B. My course gives us pin sheets which I’ll look at on occasion but for me FMB is fine. know it can do more. I just need to take the time to learn. Laser is for things like dog legs, edge of a hazard, carry over hazard, etc.

I don’t worry too much if the two distances aren’t exactly the same. First, my shot dispersion is probably more than the discrepancy. Haha. Second, I’ll trust the laser over GPS

Driver: :taylormade-small: Stealth2

3W: :taylormade-small: Stealth2

4H: :taylormade-small: Stealth 2

Irons 4I-9I:  :titleist-small: T200

Wedges P, 48: :titleist-small: T200

Wedges 54, 58: :titleist-small: Vokey SM9

Putter:  :odyssey-small: O Works #1 Black

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I absolutely love my Garmin Fenix 7. I'm not good enough to need an exact distance to the pin. Distance to the center of the green is good enough for me. I use the Fenix for so much more than just golf, so it serves many purposes for me. A rangefinder only does one thing. 

:taylormade-small: M6 clubs in the bag and a GARMIN Fenix 7 on the wrist!

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just picked up the shotscope x5 and only used it once but really like the course map feature. I still use the LRF to get distances to hazards but the shotscope is quickly making that a rarely used instrument.

to answer your question - I would say get both; you'll find instances where you'll want one or the other.

Driver-  Titleist  TSR3 10*
Cobra  LTD 3w 15*, 5W 19*,  F9 24* 
Irons- Titleist 718 AP2 (6i-50*)

Wedges- Callaway Jaws Raw (54/58)

Putter- Axis1 TourHM
Ball- Maxfli Tour X
Buggy- Motocaddy M7 GPS Remote Electric Caddy
Bag- Motocaddy Dry-Series

Proudly testing for 2024:


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I use both, first had Garmin watch that I used with a Leopold ( great customer service and wont die) Range Finder I got years ago. Now do the same with Apple watch.  The range finder is faster to get true distance than looking at the green view on a watch, also it is part of a routine that calms me before the shot in 10 seconds.          

Driver - 2023 Callaway Paradym 9.0, 3 Wood -2022 Rogue ST Max, 3 Hybrid Mavrik, 2017 X-forged 4-PW, Wedges Callaway 50-56-60, Putter Odyssey Toulon Chicago     


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I have a Garmin S20 and rangefinder.  Initially I was using both.   But one day rangefinder batteries were dead.   Put back in bag and have never gotten back out.   Need to get batteries and use again.   I really used it more for layup distances.   Rely on watch for distances to green.

Mickey Ward 

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I use Shot Scope V3 and a 10 year old Bushnell that I’ve had forever. The rangefinder only comes out when I want to see how far a tree/corner is or if it is a very cloudy day and my watch may be a few yards off. 

JackieMoon_LMS: 3.2 handicap

  • Driver: Taylormade Stealth Plus 
  • 3W: Taylormade Sim 2 
  • 3H: Taylormade Stealth Plus
  • Irons 4 - PW: Taylormade Tour Preferred
  • Wedges: Vokey 50, 54, 58
  • Putter: Never Compromise GM2 Mallet
  • Ball: Vice Pro 
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My setup: 

  • Apple Watch Ultra 2 using Arccos app for distances on the watch and suggested clubs via the virtual caddie feature as well as a ton of other reasons to use Arccos.
  • Bushnell Pro X3 for exact distances on par 3's and approach shots. 

This setup seems to be working, BUT I'm always willing to try something new and I've been considering moving over to ShotScope X5 or Garmin S70 (but then I lose the shot tracking). I guess a total golf nerd setup would be:

  • Garmin S70 watch
  • Arccos with Link to track (no phone in pocket guy)
  • Bushnell Pro X3

Twitter: @bobbyburdette

Instagram: bobbyburdette



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Started using Arccos, I typically quickly look at the app but then use my laser for the real distance. I find the GPS distances are not accurate all of the time but granted, this is my phone/watch not a GPS watch.

  • Driver - Callaway Paradym X 10.5 - Project X HZRDS Gen 4 50
  • 3 Wood - Callaway Paradym X 16.5 - Project X HZDRS Gen 4 50
  • 5 Wood - Callaway Paradym X 18.5 - Project X HZDRS Gen 4 50
  • Irons - Srixon ZX7 - KBS Tour C-Taper Lite
  • Wedges - Srixon ZX7 51-8 KBS Tour C-Taper Lite; Titleist Vokey 56-12 & 60-08 - Project X 6.0
  • Putter - Scotty Cameron Phantom X12
  • Golf Ball - 2023 Titleist Pro V1X Left Dash
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I'm one of those who use both.  Watch is Garmin S62 which I use to keep score, scope is Caddytalk Cube.  On shots without trouble or complication I glance at the watch to get yardage to the middle, hazards and the like, and to see the layout of the hole and/or the green.  I usually follow that up with a scope to get a look at the green complex, or to get definitive carry distances to hazards, especially from the tee and on approaches.  I especially like the Cube if riding a cart on cart path only courses where I can range the ball, then the flag and get a triangulated distance to the pin.  Works great!  Plus, I will sometimes hit into a spot where I need yardage to a tree or spot on the fairway to lay up to.  Can't do that with a watch.

BALL:  Titleist ProV1X
WOODS: Taylormade Stealth2 +, Callaway Epic Flash 3-wood
4- HYBRID: Stealth 2, stiff
IRONS: Ping i525, 6 - W, 1 degree flat, ProjectX 5.5 110 g shafts
WEDGES: Titleist SM9 52, 56, 60
PUTTER: L.A.B Mezz Max Broomstick
BAG: Ping Pioneer 
CART: MGI electric


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Question for those who use the watch. Im just a smuck with a range finder.
Do you use the other features that come with the watch outside of distances.
Kind of an open ended question... For garmin are you using the app as well to track everything and getting strokes gained etc ?
I also think some watches have a tempo trainer.
Maybe there are other things your watch does as well (golf related) that i am not aware of.


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I definitely prefer rangefinder. I think where rangefinders really have an advantage is if you’re playing a course with a lot of slope and you need adjusted yardages as well as on pitch shots where exact yardages are needed. If you’re looking to try out a range finder, I’d recommend getting one off of Temu first. You can get a decent one off of there for around $40. I recently purchased one and it’s worth the price. It’s definitely not as high quality as a nice, big name range finder, but it gives adjusted yardage and more importantly gives accurate numbers (within 1-2 yards of my dad’s nice range finder).

Janson Lietzke

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I use both a Garmin S12 along with  a rangefinder and find just using the Garmin when it is cart path only means one less thing to carry with me.  Never got the hang of using the apps on my smartphone.

Driver: Ping G430 SFT 10.5

Fairway Woods: Ping SFT G425 3-5

Hybrid   Ping G410 4H

Irons;    Ping G425 5-LW

Putter:  Ping Anser 2           

Ball:      Titleist Tour Speed/AVX

Bag:      Titleist

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On 4/26/2024 at 8:12 PM, poolpartypost said:

Question for those who use the watch. Im just a smuck with a range finder.
Do you use the other features that come with the watch outside of distances.
Kind of an open ended question... For garmin are you using the app as well to track everything and getting strokes gained etc ?
I also think some watches have a tempo trainer.
Maybe there are other things your watch does as well (golf related) that i am not aware of.

Yes, I use all of the shot tracking and club tracking stuff. I personally like the Virtual Caddie feature that suggests which club to use. It's a nice suggestion when dealing with wind, hazards, and elevation changes. All of the stats automatically show up on the Garmin Connect website and/or the Garmin Golf app on your phone. Since I love numbers I go through them all after each round and then again before a new round. My watch does not have the tempo training feature. I think the S70 has that, though. I like the pinpointer feature as well. It points to the green so you know where to aim. You can also tap on the hole map to get distances to specific hazards. It's incredibly helpful when helping to decide if you can carry a hazard or if you need to layup.  

As far as other things- I enjoy the leaderboard feature. There are weekly tournaments that are automatically created for all courses. You can see how you performed when compared to other Garmin users that play that course during the week. You can also create tournaments. This feature is nice for when you can not get to a course at the same time as friends. 

:taylormade-small: M6 clubs in the bag and a GARMIN Fenix 7 on the wrist!

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Rangefinder for me. I use a PrecisionPro NX9 slope. I tried using a watch/app but like making a Frosty at home, it just wasn’t the same. I find I’m better at judging distance as well, since I only take out the rangefinder sometimes. With the watch I used it before every swing. 

I’m just trying to live like Mr. John Daly. He seems to be living a good life. 

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I use a Garmin S70 watch and a Bushnell V5 Shift rangefinder. I like having both, but if I had to choose only one, it would be the rangefinder. 

Driver: :taylormade-small: QI10 Max
Fairway: :taylormade-small: Sim2 Max 3HL
Fairway: :ping-small: G425 Max 9 Wood
Hybrid: :mizuno-small: 2020 CLK 5 Hybrid
Hybrid: :PXG: 0317 6 Hybrid

Irons: :srixon-small: ZX4 7-PW
Wedges: :cleveland-small: CBX Zipcore 46° 50° 54° & 58°
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:
 Array F-3 
Ball:  :srixon-small: Q-Star Tour Yellow

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Sky Caddie SX 400. I have used several Sky Caddie products and love them. Can really help if you play holes backward from the green to figure out where to place t shots. Can't be beat when yardage is needed where a laser wouldn't work. It does require payment. I have a 3 year plan. With the proliferation of app products out there for the phone that not only show the hole with yardages etc, but also track shots, probably will be my last Sky Caddie product unless there is a serious upgrade to track shots etc. 

That being said I also have a laser. Shot Scope Pro 2 L2. Highly rated by several different web sites for under $150. Have had it for 3 months and love it. Replaced a 20+ year old Bushnell hunting laser.

Lasers have become very cheap on Amazon. No idea of the quality or accuracy. Would make an interesting long term test.

Driver: Callaway Epic 9 degree, stiff (set at 10 degrees with the movable weight in the center}

FW: Callaway Epic 3,5, heaven wood w/ regular shaft (driver shaft in 3 wood, 3 wood shaft in 5 wood, 5 wood shaft in heaven wood, all three set at neutral plus 1 degree)

Hybrids: Callaway BB19 4,6,7 (4 set at neutral plus 1 degree and 6 and 7 set at neutral minus 1 degree for gapping purposes)

Irons: Callaway Rogue ST Max 8, 9, PW 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM6 50,54,58

Ball: Titleist Pro V1, 1X, Vice Pro Plus or anything I find that day and try out for the fun of it (I haven't bought balls with my own money in at least 10 years)

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I've been slowly upping my tech on the course. For most of my playing career, I used no tech at all, unless a golf cart had a GPS. Then maybe 2 years ago, I started to use apps on my phone that had GPS. I don't mind having my phone in my pocket so was never an issue. Last year, I was selected as a MGS tester for the Garmin Approach S70. I've been very happy with the watch and it's now the only tech I use on the course.

I've never really seen the need for a range finder. The watch can give you fairly precise yardage. If I'm off 2 or 3 yards for the exact location of the pin, I really don't think it'll change how I'd play the shot.

Driver: :callaway-small: Epic Max LS

3 Wood: :PXG: Gen 5 0311XF 

Hybrid: :PXG: Gen 5 0311 XF 22 degree

Irons: :PXG: 2022 XCOR2 0211 5-GW

Wedges: :taylormade-small: R Series 54° & 60°

Putter: :odyssey-small:

2023 Test: ⌚Garmin Approach S70 47mm

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Rangefinder is unquestionably more accurate, so that's what I rely on. GPS watches are pretty accurate to the center of the green (unless you want to fiddle with pin position, still a guess and PITA), but on some courses (probably just a couple % overall) the files are way off, as much as 20 yards IME. I look at my Garmin S20 for a general idea of distance, but mostly I just use it for keeping score and stats. The only downside of a rangefinder is you have to have line of sight. I have never had an issue getting distance with my rangefinder, though I sometimes have to step sideways to sight - I am sure there are some courses with blind approach shots that could be more of an issue.

Edited by Middler
  • Titleist TSR2 11° HZRDUS Red CB 50 6.0 w Lamkin UTx Midsize
  • Titleist TSR2 16.5º HZRDUS Red 60 CB 6.0 & TSR2 21º HZRDUS Black 4G 70 6.0 w Lamkin UTx Midsize
  • Mizuno JPX923 HMP 4-GW, T22 54.12WS, T22 58.04DC w Lamkin ST+2 Hybrid Midsize
  • LAB DF3 w Accra
  • Maxfli Tour & ProV1
  • Ping Pioneer - MGI Zip Navigator AT
  • Payntr X 002 LE, Ecco Biom C4, Payntr X 001 F (Mesh)
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