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Frequently Asked Golf Rangefinder Questions

In this article we cover some of the most commonly asked questions when buying a rangefinder. We’ll do our best to provide the answers you need, but if anything isn’t covered just leave a comment at the bottom and we’ll get back to you.

How accurate is a golf rangefinder?

The best golf rangefinders are going to get you a measurement that is accurate to within one yard of the pin; however, many are capable of accuracy levels down ½ a yard.

The accuracy of a golf rangefinder is incredibly important. You may think that two or three yards won’t make much of a difference, but this is the difference between hitting the ball in the hole or having a 6-9 foot putt. When you look at it this way, accuracy is a very important factor when choosing a rangefinder. 

Are all golf rangefinders the same?

All golf rangefinders are not the same, some will read yardages less than 400 yards, and others will read up to 1000 yards. They also vary in terms of their function, some have pin-locking and slope technology and the capacity to turn features off to make them tournament legal.

The key is to find a golf rangefinder that has the features and functionality that work well for your game. Typically speaking, a clear visual image, some type of pin-seeking technology, and a durable outer body are all important characteristics to look for in a great rangefinder. 

From our testing more expensive rangefinders generally i) pick up the flag easier (rather than the background) ii) lock on, vibrate and give yardages quicker and iii) have an overall better build quality.

Are all golf rangefinders accurate?

Golf rangefinders on the market today are as accurate as they have ever been; as mentioned, most of the rangefinders can provide accuracy to within one yard. However, the cheaper versions require a steadier hand and a better focus on the target to give these readings.

Now and again we’ve tested rangefinders under $200/£200 that are 2-3 yards out, this is the worst we’ve found, and it rarely happens, but the manufacturers generally put it down to a faulty unit. Most rangefinders will have a return policy so if you are not happy you should be able to ask for a replacement or refund.

If you look at a more premium golf rangefinder like the Bushnell, you will find accuracy to within a 1/10 of a yard (30.6 yards). It tends to be human steadiness that it the limiting factor with most well-known rangefinders. Technology has improved greatly, and within that 200-yard range, you can expect the rangefinder to be very reliable. 

Does a high handicapper need a rangefinder?

When considering whether a high handicapper needs a rangefinder, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the cost. An affordable rangefinder can be a valuable investment for a high handicapper for several reasons:

  1. Accuracy in Distance Measurement: An affordable rangefinder can provide precise distance measurements to the green, hazards, and other course features. This accuracy is beneficial for high handicappers who are still learning to estimate distances by eye.
  2. Club Selection: Knowing the exact distance can help in making more informed decisions about which club to use. This is particularly useful for high handicappers who are still familiarizing themselves with their clubs’ range.
  3. Confidence Building: Using a rangefinder can boost a player’s confidence by providing clear, concrete data to base their shots on. This can be especially encouraging for high handicappers who might feel uncertain about their judgement on the course.
  4. Pace of Play: A rangefinder can speed up play by reducing the time spent estimating distances, which is beneficial not only for the player but also for others on the course.
  5. Learning and Improvement: For high handicappers aiming to lower their handicap, an affordable rangefinder can be a tool for learning and improving. It helps in understanding how different shots perform under various distances.

While a rangefinder is not an absolute necessity for playing golf, an affordable rangefinder can be a useful aid for a high handicapper looking to improve their game, enhance their course management skills, and enjoy their golfing experience more fully.

How accurate is the Bushnell rangefinder?

There are several models of Bushnell rangefinders; the more premium options are accurate to within a 1/10 of a yard. With the new Bushnell Pro XE, there is a slope with elements reading that takes into account barometric pressure, wind and slope. 

Do rangefinders zoom?

A rangefinder typically has a magnification of 6x or 8x, which will help make it much easier to spot the flag or the hazard that you are trying to shoot. There is usually a focus element on the rangefinder that also allows you to ensure that the picture you are viewing is exceptionally clear. This is generally controlled by twisting the lens piece.

Most golfers will just need to set the zoom/focus functionality once. Usually, this setting will then provide a clear view within the usual range golfers need (50 – 250 yards).

How long should a golf rangefinder last?

The average golf rangefinders will last three to seven years. If you purchase the more premium versions with extended warranties, chances are you will see closer to the 7 or 8-year time frame from the rangefinder.

The main reason people change the rangefinder they are using is not because the unit stops working but simply because technology has been improved or updated enough to make the switch. In addition, golfers will sometimes switch to a GPS unit, but most rangefinders hold up for quite some time.

If you use the protective case and the cleaning cloth, expect to get some great value from your rangefinder investment. 


Thank wraps up our quick guide on buying a rangefinder. If you want to learn how to use a rangefinder check out this guide.

Happy golfing.

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Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz is a former teaching and Class A PGA professional with more than 25 years spent with a golf club in her hand. Britt is a small business owner, author, and freelance golf expert that knows this game inside and out. She lives in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children.

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