All You Need To Know About The Best Golf Rangefinder

The Best golf rangefinders

Best golf rangefinder winners by category

Distance is King on the golf course. When you know how far you are from things like the pin, traps, and hazards, you are in control. To be certain, you need a distance measuring device with accurate yardage. Most golfers opt for golf laser rangefinders. Others choose a golf GPS watch, a golf GPS device, or a golf GPS app. Shopping for a new golf rangefinder can be quite overwhelming. If you type ‘best rangefinders’ in Amazon you get over a 1,000 results! You’re here because you don’t know what you need. We’re here because we know what you need.

Here’s our full list of best golf rangefinders that we narrowed down to get to our top winners:

Best laser rangefinders with slope

Callaway 300 Pro Slope Laser: Best Overall Rangefinder

Bushnell Pro XE: Best Premium Rangefinder (If Money Is No Object)

Precision Pro NX9 Slope: Best Value Golf Rangefinder

Bushnell Tour V5 Shift: Best Ease-of-Use Rangefinder

Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized: Best Rangefinder for Shaky Hands

Best laser rangefinders without Slope

TecTecTec VPro500: Best Budget Golf Rangefinder

Precision Pro NX2 Non-Slope: Best Simple To Use Rangefinder

GolfBuddy Laser 1: Best Rangefinder For Wide LCD Display

Best Hybrid Golf Rangefinders

Bushnell Hybrid: Best Hybrid Rangefinder for the Money

Voice Caddie Golf GL1 Hybrid: Best All-Around Hybrid Golf Rangefinder

Garmin Approach Z80: Most Accurate Hybrid Golf Rangefinder

Best golf GPS watch

Garmin Approach S62: Best Overall Golf GPS Watch

SkyCaddie LX5: Best For Accuracy and High-Quality Display

Garmin Approach S20: Best Value Golf GPS Watch

Shot Scope V3: Best for Game Stats and Analysis

Garmin Approach S10: Best Budget Golf GPS Watch

Best golf GPS handheld device

SkyCaddie SX500: Best Overall Golf GPS Handheld Device

Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS: Best Budget Golf GPS Handheld Device

Garmin Approach G80: Best Premium Golf GPS Handheld Device

Izzo Swami 6000 Golf GPS: Best Value for Money

Bushnell Wingman: Best for Convenience 

Best golf GPS phone app

Golfshot: Golf GPS + Caddie: Best Overall Golf GPS App

GolfLogix Golf GPS + Putt Line: Best for Game Statistics 

Arccos Caddie: Best Premium App

Keep reading and you’ll find out what separates each of these options from this saturated golf rangefinder market and how they’ll make you a better golfer.

The benefits of using golf rangefinders

Nowadays, most golfers have golf rangefinders. If you’re new to golf, it’s a tough question to ask, but you’ll ask what is it and how does a rangefinder work? Not only will we explain, but we’ll also help you to select the best rangefinder suited to your needs.

What is a golf rangefinder?

A rangefinder is a distance measuring device (DMD). Without overcomplicating things, a rangefinder will tell you how far you are from an object. Every golfer uses this to determine their distance from the pin. Many others will use it to figure out how much room they have to work with on every shot, from tee to green.

When will you get the most benefit out of using golf rangefinders?

The obvious answer to the question above is ‘shots into the green’. Using a rangefinder is ideal for choosing the correct club and hitting greens, rather than going long or coming up short.

The golf rangefinders are also great for shots off the tee. Say you’re playing a dogleg and are not sure if you should hit with a driver or iron, a range finder will clear that up. If there’s a trap you need to clear, a rangefinder will tell you how long you need to hit the ball to carry the hazard.

A rangefinder is also great anytime there is water. Nobody likes to lose a golf ball—especially when it can be avoided. Off the tee, in the middle of the fairway, hitting into a green, a rangefinder clears up any doubt you might have when preparing for a shot.

Key features to look out for in a rangefinder

When it comes to distance measuring device shopping, you need to know what you want. This is typically a purchase that you make infrequently and in ideal cases, only once. In order to make sure you’re not shopping for a rangefinder or GPS device every season there are some key features you need to consider. We have also used these features as selection criteria for finding the best golf rangefinder.

Accurate Distance Measuring

The most important feature of a golf rangefinder is its accuracy. If you don’t have the correct yardage to your intended shot, then it might as well not be used at all! This is less and less an issue nowadays with the latest technology being released the newest rangefinders but it’s still the number one priority when choosing any type of distance measuring device for use on the green.

Durability

Your golf rangefinder will need to be able to withstand the abuse that comes with being a golfer. It needs to be durable enough to cope with being knocked around and still give accurate readings within seconds. Rangefinders are not cheap, which is why you’ll want something that is sturdy and waterproof to ensure it will last for years on end instead of just one season or two!

Display

The best golf rangefinders provide crystal clear optics and have no blur so that you can easily pick out your target. The device should have a minimum of 5x magnification to make sure your viewing experience is top-notch. As far as display goes you want a highly effective reticle to make sure you’re aiming at the right target paired with clear yardage readouts.

Price

Buy what you can afford, but do not go cheap. Golf rangefinders and GPS units are expensive for a reason. Buying something that is a little more expensive means not having to replace it for years and being able to trust the yardage measurements it provides.

Storage

If your rangefinder doesn’t come with a case make sure you buy one. Some suggestions here. No matter how long you’ve had your golf rangefinder, treat it as if it were brand new and keep it stored safely. For more info on how to clean and maintain your golf laser rangefinder read this article.

Slope Compensation Technology (Specific to Laser Rangefinders)

Slope compensation features take the guessing out of uphill and downhill shots. Not every golfer has a caddie. With the slope compensation technology, you pretty much have the most accurate caddie you can find.

Some rangefinders on the market even go as far as measuring temperature and barometric pressure but some would question whether this is really necessary.

If you play in tournaments, make sure you get something that has slope switch technology, that will allow you to turn off the slope function.

Number of preloaded courses (Specific to GPS handhelds and watches)

Most GPS devices come with over 35,000 preloaded courses already installed on them. The number of courses featured on the device will vary depending on the company, but it would be wise to check ahead and see if your favorite courses are available on the device of choice.

Mobile app integration and membership fees (Specific to GPS handhelds and watches)

One key consideration when buying a GPS device is that it seamlessly integrates with your smartphone. Finding the right one will help you access post-round stats and data through an app or website for even more information on how to improve your game.

What type of golf rangefinder is best suited for your needs

The world of golfing can be a confusing place. There is more than one type of distance-measuring device on the golf market, but benefits tend to all fall into the same area – accuracy! You need to take your skill level and how often you play golf courses into consideration when buying because this will determine which device is right for you. To help with that decision process, we have listed different types of rangefinders below so check them out.

Golf Laser Rangefinder

Laser rangefinders are the most precise and fastest way to measure distance, they are used primarily for approach shots, but it’s important to remember you can’t shoot what you can see. If the pin is out of view on a blind uphill shot and there isn’t high ground nearby from which to get an accurate visual on your target then this approximation becomes more difficult.

Slope compensation technology is a notable feature that will find in some laser rangefinders – be prepared to pay a little extra for it. Most GPS devices don’t offer this feature at all – the exception being Arccos’ A.I powered GPS device that comes as part of its subscription-based platform package.

Golfers with GPS devices are used to having to charge the device, but laser rangefinders typically only need their batteries changed 2-3 times a year.

Golf GPS Watch

The convenience of a passive GPS watch is undeniable. All you have to do is look down at your wrist and see your yardages! Using a laser rangefinder is a bit more time-consuming, as you have to take it out of its case, wait a few seconds while it turns on before you get to see your distance.

Most GPS watches will provide you with font, middle and back distances to the hole, some will also provide you with a bird’s eye view of the entire hole from tee to green and allow you to find precise distance easily by moving the cursor across the screen. However, the small interface can prevent you from seeing what’s fully ahead. This is where the GPS handheld device comes into play.

Golf GPS Handheld Device

The Handheld GPS device takes the functionality of a golfing watch to a bigger screen with touch-screen features. You will get clearer hazard information and an overhead map of the hole too. If you are going for this type, you might also want to consider a golf GPS phone app.

GPS Phone App Rangefinder

Smartphone apps are a low-priced alternative to golf GPS units and enable you to carry around an extra device, but they don’t have the same level of functionality and you will be limited to a handful of courses if using a free version. To make it through 18 holes on your phone battery, you may need to lower your screen brightness which might impact visibility on sunny days.

Best golf laser rangefinders

To make your choice easier, we’ve broken down our best golf laser rangefinder shortlist into two categories – slope technology and no slope technology.

Slope vs no Slope

If you are planning on playing in tournaments consider purchasing a laser rangefinder without the slope technology or one with slope switch technology that will enable you to turn off the slope mode and clearly display that it is turned off.

Further reading: Do I need a golf rangefinder with slope?

Best golf rangefinders with Slope

Here is our rangefinder review of the best golf laser rangefinders with slope technology. We also included non-slope alternatives for each one.

1. Callaway 300 Pro Slope Laser: Best Overall Rangefinder

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From our assessment, the Callaway 300 Pro is the winner when it comes to the best golf rangefinder on the market with its incredible performance and affordable price. You’ll have a hard time finding anything better than this all-rounder that has all the features you need as a golfer.

Callaway is a name brand in the world of golf, a name you can trust. Whether it’s their clubs or rangefinders, a Callaway product is one of high quality.

Features like 6x magnification, 1,000 yard readings, Pin Acquisition Technology (PAT), and slope switch technology make it a great choice for golfers of all skill levels who are looking to trust their game with an established brand.

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Maximum Range: 1,000 yards (500 yards to flag)
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Slope Switch technology: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
Pros
  • Pin Acquisition Technology (PAT)
  • Acquires multiple targets

  • Magnahold technology

Cons
  • Two buttons on top could lead to accidental powering off when trying to change slope mode—a minor inconvenience

Alternative without slope: Callaway 200 Rangefinder

2 Bushnell Pro XE: Best Premium Rangefinder (If Money Is No Object)

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The Bushnell Pro XE is a high-quality rangefinder that is hard to compete with. The Bushnell Pro X2 was an excellent model, but this newest Bushnell model is even better. The Pro XE is lighter weight and I personally prefer its design to that of the Pro X2. The best thing about it though has got to be just how fast and extremely accurate it is!

When it comes to slope calculation technology, Bushnell rangefinders know what they’re doing. They took things a step further with the Bushnell Pro XE model and included temperature and barometric elements so you can get an accurate “plays like” distance every time.

Specs

  • 7x magnification
  • Range: 5 – 1,300 yards (500 yards to flag)
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Slope Switch technology: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Battery: CR2
Pros
  • BITE magnetic mount helps you can easily attach it to your golf cart
  • Pinseeker with visual jolt technology that displays a red light as it vibrates for greater feedback that you have locked onto your target
  • Slope with elements compensation which also measures temperature and barometric pressure
  • You can easily switch the device in and out of slope mode
Cons
  • One of the most expensive rangefinders on the market

Some reviews online have said that sometimes the jolt technology does not activate, and it is especially likely to happen when closer to the green.

While other reviews have complained that the crosshairs get blurry when trying to focus on further distances

The customer support for Bushnell rangefinders has also gotten some back feedback in the past.

3. Precision Pro NX9 Slope: Best Value Rangefinder

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Precision Pro’s latest model, the NX9, like its predecessor, the Precision Pro NX7 is the best golf rangefinder for the money that you will find on the market.

I’ve been playing golf for 10 years and Precision Pro has become my favorite brand when it comes to golf rangefinders.

The Precision Pro NX9 has a ton of features like an easy-to-read display, good battery life, and the best price-per-feature ratio in the rangefinder world; it’s no wonder why they’re quickly becoming one of the top brands in golf optics right now!

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Maximum range: 400 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Slope switch: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
Pros
  • Target Acquisition Technology locks onto the target and vibrates for confirmation
  • Magnetic grip technology
  • Pulse vibration
  • Lifetime guarantee on rangefinder battery
  • Comes with all the rangefinder accessories you need: a carrying case, lanyard, and cleaning cloth
Cons
  • Not that well suited for players with shaky hands

 

Alternative without slope: NX9 non-slope

4.Bushnell Tour V5 Shift: Best Ease of Use Rangefinder

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The Bushnell Tour V5 is so simple to use! To pick out the flag, just point and shoot, or toggle the Fast Focus System with the button on the side. Change between yards and meters in seconds too!

A Bushnell rangefinder is synonymous with the best in class when it comes to measuring accurate yardage, everyone knows that. The Tour V5 and Tour V5 Shift models are no exception. With a perfect blend of size, speed, accuracy, and Visual JOLT technology this new Bushnell rangefinder will create confidence on every shot you need to take on the golf course.

It’s tough to say whether the Tour V5 is miles better than the Bushnell Tour V4 or Pro XE. But that’s because, for years now, Bushnell rangefinders have consistently been making top-of-the-line products and it has become hard to improve year on year.

Specs

  • 6x magnification (an increase from 5x in the Bushnell Tour V4)
  • Max range: 1,300 yards (an upgrade from 1,000 for the Bushnell Tour V4)
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Slope switch: Yes
  • Waterproof: No

 

Pros
  • Pinseeker with visual Jolt technology which features pulse vibration technology and a red circle to make it obvious when the rangefinder locks onto its target
  • Built-in BITE magnetic cart mount
  • It has a new and improved slope algorithm
  • The Tour V5 is a more robust and chunkier golf rangefinder than the Bushnell Tour V4, making it fit for rugged outdoor use.
Cons
  • Expensive compared to other rangefinders
  • Not much change compared to the Bushnell XE

 

Alternative without slope: Bushnell Tour V5 (Standard)

5. Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized: Best Rangefinder for Shaky Hands

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When it comes to the best golf rangefinder for shaky hands, your search stops at the Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized thanks to its unique stabilization technology.

Nikon has been a market leader optics company for over 100 years, and the Coolshot Pro does not disappoint. Its 6x power monocular features Nikon’s innovative anti-glare coatings and high contrast lenses that are easy on your eyesight plus diopter adjustments for those of you who need it to see better!

Though a bit on the expensive side, this Nikon Coolshot Pro rangefinder more than makes up for it with quality and control. Whether this is your first or fourth rangefinder, you can pick it up and use it right away. If you struggle with locking onto pins, added stabilization and visual confirmation make it easy to find your target and lock onto it—never worry about shooting the trees instead of flag again.

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Max range: 1,200 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Slope switch: Yes (with LED confirmation to display compliance)
  • Waterproof: Yes
Pros
  • Optical image stabilization steadies your view and the rangefinder’s laser
  • The 8-second continuous measurement mode lets you scan the entire approach to the pin with a single click!
  • Hyper Read technology gives you accurate results within 0.3 seconds, so your game isn’t held up any longer than it needs to be!
  • The Dual Locked On Echo feature will place a green circle around the flag and emit a tone so you know when you’re locked onto it.
Cons
  • The device color can chip if not cared for or stored properly
  • Expensive

Alternative without slope: Nikon COOLSHOT 20 GII

Best golf rangefinders without Slope

When purchasing a golf rangefinder without slope, you can be assured of two things – the device will not cost too much and it will be tournament legal.

1.TecTecTec VPro500: Best Budget Golf Rangefinder

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The TecTecTec VPro500 rangefinder is the best budget golf rangefinder for golfers looking to find an affordable option that still provides accurate measurements.

The TeCTeCTeC VPro500 is one of the best cheap rangefinders available on the market. While you might not get some of the flashy features you find elsewhere, you get an accurate distance measurement. Moreover, you will find that it has comparable accuracy to more expensive brands like Bushell.

There is no slope feature, but there is confirmation your distance is locked in. For a golfer that simply needs a cheap rangefinder to know how far they when hitting into a green, they have what they need.

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Max range: 540 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Provides very quick readings and provides multiple readings for multiple targets
  • Great accuracy for a cheap rangefinder
  • The PinSensor technology enables you to measure accurate distances to pin while ignoring other objects in the way
  • Diopter adjustment, good for those with impaired vision
  • Tournament legal
Cons
  • Requires a steady hand to operate
  • No feature to help you lock onto the pin

Alternative with slope: TecTecTec VPRO500S Slope

2. Precision Pro NX2 Non-Slope: Best Simple To Use Rangefinder

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The Precision Pro NX2 rangefinder keeps it very simple and is best suited for golfers who want a quick and easy way to measure accurate yardages to their target.

The ergonomic design and simple interface of this Precision Pro NX2 device are perfect for newbies and veteran players alike who are not too fussed with spending too much on a fancy gadget and just want to get on with playing the golf game.

Unfortunately, unlike the Precision Pro NX9, the NX2 does not come with the Magnetic Cart Mount, nor the Pulse Vibration Technology.

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Max range: 400 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Waterproof: Yes
Pros
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Very affordable price
  • Shock proof
  • Target Acquisition Guidance (TAG)
  • Tournament legal
Cons
  • No Pulse Vibration Technology on this model
  • No Magnetic Cart Mount

 

Alternative with slope: Precision Pro NX9 Slope

3. GolfBuddy Laser 1: Best Rangefinder For Wide LCD Display

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The GolfBuddy Laser 1 is a compact and lightweight rangefinder for golfers of all skill levels. It features 3 targeting modes – standard, scan, and pin finder mode.

  • Standard mode will pick up the distance on the first object that it finds
  • Scan mode will be very useful when you have any type of dogleg or tree line that you want to scan across and continuously measure the distance for a 10 seconds interval
  • Pin finder mode will focus specifically on the distance to the pin. In the mode, the device will vibrate when the pin has been found.

The GolfBuddy Lase 1 LCD screen is wide and the numbers are large, clear, and easy to see. Those with bad eyesight will appreciate this feature!

Like the VPRO5000 and NX2, the GolfBuddy Laser 1 comes at a very affordable price

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Max range: 800 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Waterproof: Yes, IPX 4 water resistant
Pros
  • Pin finder with vibration
  • 3 target modes (standard, scan, and pin finder)
  • Automatically shuts off when not used for 10 seconds
  • Great battery life
  • Tournament legal
Cons
  • Some people complain that the mode button is too close to to the action button and inadvertently push the mode a lot
  • It sometimes takes time to focus on target

Alternative with slope: Golf Buddy Laser 1S

Best Hybrid Golf Rangefinders

One of the biggest complaints of rangefinder users is that they cannot measure hazards outside of their eyeliner. A hybrid Laser and GPS golf rangefinder is the best option for golfers who cannot decide between a laser rangefinder and GPS device.

1. Bushnell Hybrid: Best Hybrid Rangefinder for the Money

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Bushnell was the first brand to come out with the hybrid laser and GPS rangefinder. Its hybrid rangefinder is a high-tech gadget that can provide you with the essential information on your course, from where to aim for the flag to what shot will be most difficult. The laser function offers an accurate reading of anything in view and identifies exact points like flags or hazards; while the GPS provides valuable extra data such as distances between holes and which club would likely best suit each shot.

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Max range: 400 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Pre-loaded courses: 36,000
  • Slope: No
  • Waterproof: Yes
Pros
  • PinSeeker with Jolt technology
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Dual display technology
  • Reasonable price compared to other Hybrids
  • Features front and back measurements that have made GPS devices popular
Cons
  • No slope features
  • No visual confirmation of when a target is locked in, only a jolt

 

Alternative best budget hybrid rangefinder: Callaway Hybrid Laser GPS Rangefinder

2. Voice Caddie Golf GL1 Hybrid: Best All-Around Hybrid Golf Rangefinder

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The Voice Caddie GL1 Hybrid is a perfect combination of GPS and laser technology. The GL1 utilizes data from its GPS system to filter out background noise, making it easier for you to hone in on your target with pinpoint accuracy, as well as to measure distances to bunkers, hazards, and the front and back of the green! The Voice Caddie GL1 also includes slope compensation and the on/off switch technology, allowing you to turn off the slope for tournament play.

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Max range: 100 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Pre-loaded courses: 40,000
  • Slope: Yes (with slope switch technology and a red flag that attaches to the device to show when the slope is disabled)
  • Waterproof: Yes
Pros
  • GPS pin assist
  • Continuous scan mode
  • Image stabilization
  • Rechargeable battery via USB port
  • Includes clip to display slope is turned off for tournament play
Cons
  • Expensive

Alternative Voice Caddie Hybrid: Voice Caddie Golf SL1 Hybrid

3. Garmin Approach Z80: Most Accurate Rangefinder

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The Approach Z80 takes all of Gramin’s world-renowned GPS functionality and incorporates it into a rangefinder.

The Garmin Approach Z80 is quite a game-changer in the rangefinder world, as it’s the first rangefinder to allow you to measure distances with a laser and be shown an overlaid 2D image of the hole with GPS distances mapped out.

If you’re looking for a laser rangefinder that will give the most accurate readings possible, then Garmin’s approach z80 is your best bet. It’ll show distances to the front, back, and center of the green, as well as locations to the pin with an accuracy of up to 10 inches!

The Garmin Approach is different from other rangefinders as it shows you a digital view of the hole instead of using a magnifying lens. For those who are accustomed to the classic rangefinders, this may take some getting used to.

Specs

  • 6x magnification
  • Max range: 350 yards
  • Range accuracy: +/- 1 yard
  • Pre-loaded courses: 41,000
  • Slope: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
Pros
  • A 2-D course mapping is displayed in full color and overlaid on the viewfinder.
  • Image stabilization to reduce shakiness
  • Shows distance to front and back of green
  • Very precise accuracy
  • No monthly subscription fees and Garmin regularly update their courses
Cons
  • It’s true that the Garmin Z80’s operating system is a little different than other rangefinder brands, so you might need some time to learn how it works.
  • It’s expensive
  • Battery life not great

 

Best golf GPS watch

Garmin Approach S62: Best Overall Golf GPS Watch

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The Garmin S62 is a golf GPS that has every feature you could want from a golf GPS watch. It will tell you the wind direction, distances to hazards, and lay-ups off the course, and even measures your fitness level when not playing golf.

Garmin’s Virtual Caddie app will become your best friend! This innovative and intuitive smartphone accessory can help you find the perfect clubs for any shot. It provides recommended club recommendations based on wind speed, direction, exact distance to target, as well as a full map visualization of your course with touch-targeting that enables you to get an instant readout of how far away things are from where you’re standing.

The Garmin Approach S62 is one of the most expensive golf GPS watches but nowhere as expensive as a luxury golf watch.

Specs

  • Screen size: 1.3 inches diameter
  • Battery life when using GPS: 20 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 41,000
Pros
  • Easy to transition between golf mode and traditional watch
  • Touch screen with sharp and clear color display even in bright sunlight
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Durable and comfortable wristband
Cons
  • Larger display is good for some, but bulky for others
  • Expensive

SkyCaddie LX5: Best For Accuracy and High-Quality Display

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The SkyCaddie LX5 GPS watch is one of the top contenders in the golf GPS watch category. SkyGolf has taken all of the features from their SX500 handheld model (ranked as our overall winner for the best GPS handheld device category) and shrunk them into a sleek, lightweight package that fits on your wrist.

Thanks to a high-quality display and advanced technology, you will be aware of everything that lies ahead. Not only will you have yardages at the ready, but full visuals of holes and greens are right on your wrist. If you want an advantage when you stray a bit (or a lot) off the beaten path, you have it with the SkyCaddie LX5.

Pros
  • The largest and clearest display (HD graphics) amongst the golf GPS watches
  • Intelligreen feature provides you with exact shapes of greens from the perspective of your angle of approach
  • Multiple watch faces for when not in use on the golf course
  • Heart rate monitor and step counter adds versatility for service as normal watch
Cons
  • Quite a large watch compared to others and could be too big for someone with a small wrist

 

Garmin Approach S20: Best Value Golf GPS Watch

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The Garmin Approach S20 is one of the best value golf watches on the market. Designed with a minimalist design, this watch offers standard features like accurate distances to hazards and front, back, and center measurements to the green.

You can also seamlessly connect and sync the Approach S20 to your phone via the easy-to-use Garmin Connect app, so that you can receive notifications while on the course, as well as transfer for fitness data.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re a golfer looking for ways to improve your swing, the Garmin Approach CT10 can help. Connect it with Approach S20 and you’ll be able to see real-time your swing performance on every shot!

This product also has some great reviews online – so you know it’s worth checking out if you are new to this game.

Specs

  • Screen size: 0.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Battery life when using GPS: 15 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 40,000
Pros
  • Great feature-price ratio
  • Move Flag, which allows you to move the cursor on the screen for greater accuracy
  • Serves as fitness tracker when not golfing
Cons
  • Not touch screen and the buttons are a bit difficult to press one-handed
  • The navigation is not that user friendly

Shot Scope V3: Best for Game Stats and Analysis

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Shot Scope V3 is a lightweight and stylish golf GPS watch that fits pretty similar to an Apple watch, it is definitely a winner when it comes to design and comfort. The V3 is now 60% smaller than the previous model, and just 10mm thick.

The V3 automatically tracks each of your shots on the course and provides you with 100 unique statistics for review. You can access these stats through Shot Scope’s mobile app or online dashboard so that you can work on your game strategy and lower your scores.

To get the most out of this watch, you will need to attach all 14 tags onto your clubs, which can be a bit time-consuming but once installed you will gain key insights into your game performance.

Specs

  • Screen size: 1.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Battery life when using GPS: 10 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 36,000
Pros
  • The analytics platform is more advanced than most other GPS systems
  • Lightweight and stylish
Cons
  • More than 100 stats may be overwhelming to a beginner golfer
  • Setting up the 14 RFID tags on the clubs can be quite fiddly and time-consuming

Garmin Approach S10: Best Budget Golf GPS Watch

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The Garmin Approach S10 should be your choice if you’re looking for a no-frills golf watch that will give you the yardages you need, and keep track of your scores.

For those who can’t afford to drop $300 on an item like the Approach S10, it’s perfect! It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as other models but its accuracy is top-notch plus being comfortable while wearing makes up for any lack in functionality.

The Garmin Approach S10 is an excellent golfing companion for all your on-course needs. It comes preloaded with over 41,000 courses from around the world to track how you’re improving and it’s compatible with the free Garmin Connect app where you can sync and see stats about your performance.

Specs

  • Screen size: 0.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Battery life when using GPS: 12 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 41,000
Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • High-resolution screen which is readable in bright sunlight
  • Great price
Cons
  • To some golfers, the watch display is small, though others enjoy it is not bulky
  • Limited functionality

Best golf GPS handheld device

SkyCaddie SX500: Best Overall GPS Handheld Device

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With its five-inch HD screen, clear graphics and pin-point accuracy, the SkyCaddie SX500 is our winner for the best golf handheld GPS device.

The maps clearly display every hole you’re playing and you can quickly toggle between multiple views of each course – including closeups of greens to help make your club selection easier on those tight tee shots!

With the ability to zoom in on certain parts of the hole, it has never been easier to pinpoint how far a 7-iron will take you or how far a drive must go to clear any danger.

Specs

  • Screen size: 5 inches
  • Battery life when using GPS: 12 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 35,000
Pros
  • Intuitive and easy to use interface helps to read greens based on where you stand
  • Option to scroll through different shot distances (on the green and short)
Cons
  • Some people may find it too big
  • Expensive device and cost of annual membership fees after the first year

Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS: Best Budget Golf GPS Handheld

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The Bushnell Phantom has a really efficient and easy-to-use interface, which is perfect for beginners who want something simple and don’t want to pay too much for their first distance measuring device.

The small size means that it can attach to your belt, golf bag or cart – thanks to its BITE magnetic technology.

Beyond being simple in design, the Phantom also features some helpful functions like its ability to automatically pinpoint where you are on the course with just one click of a button! The device can also cycle through up to four hazards at a time.

Specs

  • Screen size: 2 inches
  • Battery life when using GPS: 10 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 36,000
Pros
  • Great price
  • BITE Magnetic connectivity makes this perfect for golf cart use
  • Connects to Bushnell’s free app
Cons
  • It’s plastic covering isn’t that durable
  • Sometimes loses it’s GPS signal when inside a pocket

Garmin Approach G80: Best Premium Golf GPS Handheld

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Garmin has been in the GPS and sports electronics game for a while now, but they’ve really outdone themselves with the G80.

To start off, it’s got everything you’d expect from any standard golf GPS device; yardage calculations to the holes and hazards on course as well as some helpful features like a launch monitor.

Another hidden gem of the Garmin G80 is the ability to pinpoint a spot on the hole and give you your lay up yardage in just seconds, something that most GPS watches cannot do.

The Approach G80 golf club also allows you to play a virtual round on its 41,000 pre-loaded courses. Don’t worry about paying for any new updates or courses like other golf companies do either!

Specs

  • Screen size: 3.5 inches
  • Battery life when using GPS: 15 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 41,000
Pros
  • High quality display, high quality measurements, high quality across the board
  • Practice modes extend benefits beyond 18 holes
Cons
  • High price means this is only for high-budget golfers
  • Large display makes this like carrying a second cell phone

Izzo Swami 6000 Golf GPS: Best Value for Money

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The Izzo Swami 6000 is a simple-to-use, feature rich GPS unit with an unbeatable price tag. It’s worth noting that it costs the same as its predecessor, the Swami 5000 and offers even more features for your money.

The Swami 6000 will not only provide you will accurate distances to the front, back and center of the green, but also allow you to save individual round scores.

The Swami 6000 like all previous devices can be updated via their website. The update tool is quite easy to use.

Swami handheld GPS can be used by golfers of any level but is particularly a great choice for new golfers or those who are looking to save money.

Specs

  • Screen size: 2 inches
  • Battery life when using GPS: 16 hours
  • Pre-loaded courses: 38,000
Pros
  • Compact and lightweight
  • No subscription fee
  • Auto-course recognition
  • Digital score keeper
Cons
  • Not touchscreen
  • Does not show the shape of the green

Bushnell Wingman: Best for Convenience

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Bushnell has made an interesting move with the Wingman. They combined a bluetooth speaker with a GPS device that tells you distances to each green’s front, back and center; this is a first of its kind in golfing.

As long as your smartphone is within 10 yards you can listen non stop music and audible GPS distances to the nearest hole on the golf course.

The Bushnell Wingman is a big winner in the convenience category. With this device, there’s no need to fumble around with screens or numerous buttons – simply press one button on the Wingman’s remote control and it will tell you what distance away from your target (such as the green). Compared to other golf GPS devices on our list of competitors, The Bushnell Wingman has perfect accuracy!

Consider using a protective pouch like this one for safe storage when not in use.

Pros
  • Very easy to setup and pair with your phone via bluetooth
  • Great sound quality
  • BITE strong magnet allows it to firmly attach onto the golf cart
Cons
  • Best suited for buggies rather than push carts

Best golf GPS phone app

Golfshot Golf GPS + Caddie: Best Overall Golf GPS App

Golfshot

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Golfshot is one of the most popular golf apps out there, offers the most amount features, and is available on all platforms.

The free version of the Golfshot app uses GPS and information manually inputted by yourself to track each shot you hit on the course, which club was used, as well as providing distance to center of green. This data can be great for personal improvement.

  • Pre-loaded courses: 40,000
Pros
  • Has a voice caddie option that lets you talk to your phone, great for someone who struggles to use the app by hand
  • Very well designed stats to help improve performance
  • Tried and tested by thousands of golfers with overwhelming positive golf rangefinder reviews
Cons
  • Can drain your phone battery pretty quickly
  • Can provide too much information for golfers who just want to get on with their game

GolfLogix Golf GPS + Putt Line: Best for Game Statistics 

golflogix logo

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For an advanced golfer in need of the most precise data to fine tune their game, it comes in form of the GolfLogix Golf GPS + Putt Line app.

Requiring a GolfLogix subscription, this is an app where value comes only in the form of what you make of it. Each week on tv you watch professional golfers and their caddie’s use a book with all kinds of lines and arrows. Prior to this type of app, this was only for the pros. Thanks to the folks at GolfLogix, now you can play like the best in the world.

Pros
  • Do not be fooled by the lower ratings and golf rangefinder reviews, this is an app that provides big time benefits
  • Available in the Apple App Store and Google Play
  • More than 35,000 golf courses are mapped with full greens books for nearly 15,000
  • May be best fit for use with the Apple Watch
Cons
  • Relies on the user being able to interpret data
  • Far too much going on for an inexperienced golfer, which explains many of the poor reviews

Arccos Caddie: Best Premium App

Arccos logo

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Arccos Caddie is the best golf GPS app and on the same level of many non-app distance measuring devices, and far above most other apps.

This all sounds great, but Arccos requires additional purchases to make it anything more than average. Sure it has advanced shot tracking and insight into your game, but this app is defined by how much you are willing to spend. To make anything out of the app, you need any one of the following: Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors, Arccos Caddie Smart Grips, Cobra or PING Smart Sets.

With the Arccos Caddie app you will play smarter and be able to study your game. The only question that rises is how much will you pay for an app?

Pros
  • Best golf GPS app for analytics and game tracking
  • One-year membership when you purchase smart sensors or smart grips
Cons
  • To get full benefits it requires additional purchases
  • Requires buying certain brands and products

FAQ

Laser Rangefinders

How does a golf rangefinder work?

The Laser Rangefinder uses a laser beam to accurately measure distances from you to any target. The time it takes for the laser beam to reflect back to the rangefinder will be used to calculate how far you are away from whatever object you’re aiming at.

Are golf rangefinders legal in golf tournament play?

Yes, rangefinders are legal in golf. Getting with the times, the USGA is now in support of distance measuring devices, which include golf rangefinders, as long as they are not using the slope feature.

As an example, Bushell Pro XE and Leupold GX-5i3 both have slope switch technology that can be used to turn off the slope mode and change the faceplate to make it tournament legal.

Do you need slope on a rangefinder?

Slope is an added benefit, not a necessity. However, having slope on your rangefinder provides more accurate yardages for the common golfer. Rather than force them to account for hills, the best golf rangefinder with slope will do it automatically.

Do pros use golf rangefinders?

Almost all professional golfers will use a rangefinder—during their practice rounds. When it comes to competitive professional play, golf rangefinders are hardly ever allowed. One of those exceptions is the 2021 PGA Championship.

How to maintain your golf rangefinder?

Rangefinders are delicate. Treat it with care and you can use it season after season. When it is not in use, make sure it is stored in the case it came with. What you do not want to do is let it sit freely between the cupholders of your cart. A golf rangefinder magnetic holder is key to easy access while playing and using a cart. Here are two of the best options for a golf rangefinder magnetic holder you can find:

  • ZOEA Magnetic Rangefinder Mount Strap
  • Frogger Golf Rangefinder Latch-It Golf Cart Attachment

If you are searching the market for a laser rangefinder, it’s worth considering laser rangefinders like the Bushnell Tour V5 and its BITE magnet or the Callaway 300 Pro and its Magnahold technology, which include a magnetic holder on the device itself, so you don’t need to purchase an extra mount strap.

Outside of what comes with your rangefinder and the extra golf rangefinder magnetic holder, keep it secure and clean and it will last for years.

Make sure you also remove the batteries from your laser rangefinder if you are not going to use it for long periods of time.

Read more about caring for your golf rangefinder here: How to maintain your golf rangefinder

Can you use the same rangefinder for golf and hunting?

Hunters and golfers alike can be quite particular about their gear. There’s no one right answer when it comes to rangefinders, they will all measure the distance between you and something else, whether it’s a flag or an animal! Some people use the same device for both hunting and golf, but others believe that each of these activities requires its own specific type. There are a lot of different options out there so you should find the best fit depending on your activity

Golf GPS watch

How accurate are golf GPS watches?

Let’s get it right out there, the best golf GPS watches are accurate. There are many variables that determine accuracy, such as weather conditions and cloud cover. But, you can trust the distances your watch shows.

With a lot of golf accessories you get what you pay for. Yet, there is a big difference between a $20 watch and more expensive options. If you spend a few hundred dollars, you’ll have the most accurate yardages around. If you go with the $100 option, you’ll be accurate within a few yards.

Are pros allowed to use a golf GPS watch?

During practice rounds, a PGA golfer can use a GPS watch. During competition, distance measuring devices have always been prohibited. However, as we mentioned in the section above, GPS devices are also being allowed at the 2021 PGA Championship and will become more common over time. While traditionalists and believers in a book of rules (written or unwritten) from the time golf balls were stuffed with feathers will complain about this, they’ll be the only ones.

Golf GPS phone app

Are golf GPS apps accurate?

Yes, golf GPS apps are accurate. Are they as accurate as an actual rangefinder? No. While technology has certainly improved over time, golf GPS apps can still be slightly inaccurate—only a couple of yards.

Which golf GPS app is best for iPhone?

We highlighted three of the top golf GPS apps for iPhone earlier, but our favorite is the Golfshot: Golf GPS + Caddie. We like this app due to its versatility and have found it to be as accurate as any other option on the market.

What is the best golf GPS app for iWatch?

When it comes to the best golf GPS for Apple watch, we’d have to again go with GolfShot. While many other apps are good for scoring and keeping stats, GolfShot stands above the rest. When we were deciding on our best golf GPS app for Apple watch, we looked at one thing, and that’s distance accuracy. For this feature, GolfShot is a clear number one.

Final thoughts

With all these categories and sections, it’s tough to determine a clear winner. For this reason, we’ll give you our selection of the two best golf rangefinders. Of the four categories we’ve reviewed, laser rangefinders and handheld GPS devices are a clear top two. To get even more precise, the Callaway 300 Pro Slope Laser and the SkyCaddie SX500.

These two categories share some key similarities but also differ in how they function and what type of golfer they are best for.

While each might be a bit expensive, the cost is easily made up for in how long you can use each of them. Even better, each are legal for tournament play as long as any slope feature, wind measuring or club selection suggestion functions are turned off.

If you want to learn more about golf gear, make sure to check out this link.