Best Golf Rangefinder Reviews: Our Top GPS & Laser Rangefinders for 2017

Rangefinders have revolutionalized many sports including golf.

rangefindersThe best golf rangefinders have earned their place in the sport by first, eliminating the caddie with the yardage book, and secondly, phasing out the need to depend on yardage markers and other landmarks.

Nowadays, it’s unlikely for many to be without a golf rangefinder when taking on the course, either professionally or leisurely.

If you’re reading this review, it’s obvious you don’t want to be caught empty handed, or worse, asking your buddy to pull a distance reading for you… every hole. You definitely don’t want to be “that” guy.

To help you decide which is the best Golf rangefinder for your needs, we have reviewed the ‘Top 3’s’ in a variety of rangefinder categories plus had a look at features to consider when buying a golf rangefinder.

If you’re in the market for a rangefinder, you’re most likely hitting the search engines for some detailed golf rangefinder reviews.

To make an informed decision before you buy shouldn’t mean spending hours hitting sites for a review here and a review there; that can be frustrating.

Well, I’m glad to tell you that you’ve found the right place if you want to get all the critical information you need on the best golf rangefinders. By the end of this review, I can guarantee you’ll leave fully satisfied that you’ll know all there is to know.

Best Golf Rangefinders of 2017

Are you up to date on what the golf pros are packing today? Being armed with the latest gadgets that might just help you improve your stroke and finally make that par!

But, don’t worry if you’ve been lagging behind in the technology world. Some familiar faces are sure to pop up while others have had a complete make-over!

Let’s welcome in the 2017 hits of the year!

  1. TecTecTec VPRO 500
  2. Leupold GX-5i3
  3. Bushnell Tour V4
  4. Bushnell NEO Ion GPS Watch
 Product NameTypeRangeSlopeStand-out Features
tectectec vpro500 100pxTecTecTec VPRO 500Laser5-540 YardsNo (but slope version is available)PinSeeker, PinSensor & ProScan Functions
Leupold GX-5i3 100pxLeupold GX-5i3Laser6-700 Yards (450 to the pin)Yes (can be turned off for tournament play)True Golf Range & Club Selector Functions can be turned off for tournament play.
bushnell tour v4 100pxBushnell Tour V4Laser5-1000 Yards (400+ to the pin)No (but slope version is available)PinSeeker with Jolt technology & fast focus system.
bushnell neo ion golf watch 100pxBushnell NEO IonGPS Watch35,000 CoursesN/AAuto Course Recognition & Shot Distance Calculator

#1 Golf Rangefinder of 2017

TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder

tectectec-vpro500The VPRO500 is definitely not new, but it’s more than earned its honored reputation as it’s the best selling golf rangefinder you’ll find for 2017! The masses have spoken and our experts concur!

Although this particular model doesn’t sport the slope measuring feature, it excels in every aspect it does have. Take for example its multi-lens diopter adjustment that cuts out the blur and fuzz of measuring long distances. It provides for an even clearer and brighter view regardless if you’re near or far-sighted!

Being able to measure out past 500 yards, the advanced Pinsensor can lock onto targets to within +/- 1 yard to give you unwavering confidence of accuracy whether you’re pointing at the hole, trees, or hazards!

As a time-honored model for Tec Tec Tec, it’s proven to be worth the small investment as it performs far beyond its price range. However, if you did want a waterproof unit with 60 yards more measuring distance, the new TecTecTec VPRODLX Golf Rangefinder might peak your interests.

But, there’s a classic feel about the small and compact VPRO500 even though it sports some ultra-new technology. Better yet, it’s tournament legal, comes with a 2-year warranty, and a few extra freebies to make it extremely portable and convenient to use.

Trust the golfing pros when they say the Tec Tec Tec laser rangefinder is exactly what you need for today’s highly competitive sport.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Golf Rangefinder of 2017

Leupold GX-5i3 Digital Golf Rangefinder

Leupold GX-5i3Trust Leupold to come out with a brand spanking new rangefinder that’s been beefed up with steroids to look like something out of a sci-fi flick!

You can tell by the rugged texture of the unit that it’s going to be grippy and stable to use without chance of slipping even if you’re wearing gloves! Forget about using a prop with this rangefinder. It’s incredibly stable as it ranges out to increased accuracy to the nearest 1/10 of a yard!

The True Golf Range and Club Selector functions bans it from tournament use. However, unlike past models where you were forced to leave the unit behind in the car, this 2017 model has the option to disable these awesome features to make it a legal unit during play. Now, that’s a win-win kinda situation!

It’s not like Leupold to only dish out one new entree at a time. They’ve also released two other new golf rangefinders that are making a name for themselves as some of the best selling units of 2017! The Leupold GX-1i3 and the Leupold GX-2i3 are both new have been upgraded with Leupold’s latest technology.

For a simpler unit, the GX-1i3 is fully waterproof with DNA, Fog Mode, and PinHunter laser technology. The GX-2i3 goes a step further and includes a Club Selector function. But, the GX-5i3 eats up both units and sports it all! That’s why it has a heftier price tag to accommodate for its gluttonous nature. It’s a good feeling to feel sated, isn’t it?

Check it Out >>

#3 Golf Rangefinder of 2017

Bushnell Tour V4 Rangefinder

bushnell tour v4Right on the heels of Leupold, Bushnell comes out with their new and improved version of their Tour series rangefinders and cleans up their inventory. The Tour V4 is your ultimate, tournament-worthy laser rangefinder that can range out to a mouth-gaping 1000 yards!

Don’t be fooled into thinking it won’t be accurate that far out. With PinSeeker Technology under its belt, you’ll be accurate to within -/+ 1 yard! You won’t have to wonder if your unit is on target either since this affordable rangefinder is clad with Jolt Technology to literally vibrate when it’s locked onto its target!

However, if you’re ranging out to the hole, the unit will lock in to 400 yards, plus some! It has 5X magnification with fast focus lens to allow you to see the green clearer than ever and with more stability than before.

Speaking of stability, the unit sports an ergonomic design with Stabi-Grip Technology and multi-coated lens to ensure your shaking hands won’t interfere with your view.

If you can’t help but feel the void of no slope compensation, the V4 still has you covered. The best-selling Tour V4 Slope model has the angle compensating mode to get you distances despite the inclines or drops that can affect your stroke.

And, because it’s Bushnell, you know it’ll be priced just right!

Check it Out >>

Honorable Mention for 2017

Bushnell Neo Ion Golf GPS Watch

bushnell neo ion golf watchAh, yes. The brand that offers everything you could ever want out of a rangefinder GPS watch without the pesky additional membership fees! With just the purchase of the GPS watch, you’ll have access to over 35,000 golf courses around the globe! That’s more than 30 countries for you to indulge your golfing hobby in.

It’s a tournament legal watch that you can have with you on the course at all times. If you’re worried about play time, this unit has 16 hours of battery life to get you through three games of play without batting an eye!

You’ll have distances in a jiffy with Auto Course Recognition and Hole Advance features to get you set as you walk or cart the course. The easy to read front, back, and center green distances will be on display as well as hazard and layup distances – up to four per hole!

Extra features also include a round odometer and a shot distance calculator so you can constantly improve your strokes.

The watch is super easy to charge since Bushnell throws in the USB cable that allows you to update your watch as well. Let it sit for 2.5 hours while you cat-nap and grab a bite to eat.

Complete with a 1-year warranty, Bushnell has you covered!

Check it Out >>

Range with the New Flow!

Technology moves faster than most people can empty their bowels! But, there’s nothing better than the daily grind on the green with the latest gadgets that can get you moving and flowing without the cramps of a bogged-down rangefinder.

While our new 2017 picks have the masses raving in delight, our other top rangefinders are classic buys as well – the Tec Tec Tec VPRO500 sure proves that! So, don’t shove your nose to older models reviewed below just yet as you may be missing out, more than by a yard or two!

3 Best Golf Rangefinders Overall (all categories)

When shopping for a golf rangefinder, there is a lot to take into consideration…

Do you want a laser or a GPS rangefinder? A model with or without slope? A handheld unit or a wearable golf watch?

Because the answers to these questions will be different for every individual, we have ranked our top 3 rangefinders in each of these categories – which means there is a rangefinder suited to every preference described in the content that follows.

We have then ranked our top 3 rangefinders overall, in case you are not sure where to start.

So without further ado, here our our top 3 overall…

  • Garmin Approach S6 GPS Watch
  • 1 inch screen
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Annual Fees
  • 4.1/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    High Resolution Color Screen
    Bluetooth Connectivity
    Waterproof: Submersible to 5ATM
    SwingStrength, SwingTempo, and TempoTraining
  • Leupold GX-4i2 Laser Rangefinder
  • 6-800 Yard Range
  • 6x22mm Magnification
  • OLED/Red Display
  • 4/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    DNA technology for prescision
    Pin Hunter & Prisim Lock technology
    Waterproof with fog mode
    Scratch-proof lens
  • GolfBuddy LR5 Laser Rangefinder
  • 5-880 Yard Range
  • 6x23mm Magnification
  • LCD/Black Display
  • 4.7/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Multi-coated lens
    3 modes: pin, standard, scan
    Small, compact, ergonomic
#1 Best Golf Rangefinder Overall

Leupold GX-4i2

gx-4i2-rangefinderThe most expensive of the 3 and yet, the best golf rangefinder to date has to be the Leupold GX-4i2. It may not be touchscreen, GPS enabled, or wearable, but it’s definitely the outstanding champion of golf rangefinders on the market.

Laser rangefinders still take first place in the golf rangefinder industry and the Leupold proves the excellent reasoning behind it too.

Expect nothing less than perfect when it comes to the GX4i2. As the newest addition to the GX line of rangefinders, it’s in a caliber of its own.

Its Smart Key enabled technology has you getting the benefits of two units in one. An interchangeable faceplate system allows you to have a distance only, tournament legal rangefinder when you want one and a first-rate, intelligent, and innovative rangefinder for when you’re not playing pro.

Leupold’s OLED display is better than ever when combined with the new and improved PinHunter 2 and Prism Lock Technology that hunts down the flag and fiercely locks onto it no matter what’s going on outside, thanks to their specially designed Fog Mode.

Additionally, with the Smart Key installed, you have instant access to True Golf Range (TGR) which is Leupold’s slope compensating technology that allows you to cater for many elements that can potentially pose a threat to an accurate range and to your swing.

Oh, and I’m not done yet. The Club Selection feature is the cherry on top. When you pre-enter your typical driving distances for the 4, 6, and 8 iron clubs, it will work in tandem with the TGR feature to suggest which club you need to successfully drive that ball into the cup. Pretty impressive, right?

As if I have to mention it also has Leupold’s superb glare-free and scratch-resistant optics. The Leupold GX4i2 has quite the resume, and while it looks stunning on paper, it’s twice as good out on the course.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Best Golf Rangefinder Overall

Garmin Approach S6

garmin-approach-s6That’s right, a GPS golf rangefinder watch has taken this spot. And, not just any watch – a 1 inch high-resolution color touchscreen watch that is the Garmin Approach S6.

Go ahead and re-read that if you need to.

Garmin has gone the extra mile and made the GPS watch that can literally do it all. I’m talking about a dedicated Green View button so that you can literally see the shape of the course – no more fumbling around in the menu trying to find it.

Of course it’s waterproof too, does 5 ATM sound good enough for you? Don’t rush to google that just yet, because here’s what it means. That’s 50 meters of water pressure that the watch can withstand. Perhaps that’s a little extreme, but hey, if you plan on taking a few laps around the pool after your round, you’re watch is covered.

Bluetooth connectivity has this watch syncing to your Apple iPhone so that you don’t miss a call, text, or email, let alone that calendar alert for the dinner date you have later on.

Now, let’s get to the really good stuff.

This watch has Auto Zoom to get you up and personal on the hole, a touch-targeting feature to get distances to any pre-loaded landmark on the course, manual pin placement, and Pin Pointer for your very own personal compass to the hole.

The SwingTempo, TempoTraining, and SwingStrength apps are one of a kind. If you’re trying to learn to swing like a pro, then these swing analysis features will win you over.

Although it seems like an upper-class device, and even with all its features, it still lacks slope compensation which boots it out of the overall premium rangefinder category. Instead, in an all-around evaluation, it’s definitely the best mid-level golf rangefinder.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Best Golf Rangefinder Overall

GolfBuddy LR5

lr5-golf-laser-rangefinderThe GolfBuddy LR5 has won first place as the top basic and entry level rangefinder because it has everything you need at such a wallet-friendly price.

It was a tough call between this one and Laser Link’s XL 1000, but overall, the good ol’ LR5 came out on top because of its very high customer review rating and its slightly cheaper cost.

It’s equipped to range out in standard mode or seek the flag in Pin Mode.

While other manufacturers are doing away with the scan mode, GolfBuddy stays true and keeps this handy feature. They even go a step further by activating the 10 second scan and pin mode with a one simple press of a button – no continuous depressing here.

It’s ease of use, budget-friendly factor, and basic, yet innovative features are what has the GolfBuddy LR5 so popular on here and on the course.

Read the Full Review >>

Laser Rangefinder vs GPS for Golf

As the sub-heading states, there are two different types of golf rangefinders: laser and GPS. It’s a much discussed and debated topic as to which type is better, and the race between the two is reasonably competitive.

In the end, it seems the deciding factor just comes down to personal preference.

Laser Rangefinders for Golf

laser-rangefinderThe laser units are handheld devices that emit invisible wavelength light.

An internal clock times how long it takes for the reflected light to return back to the unit. The result is converted to distance.

Golf laser rangefinders typically have the vertical handheld style construction, but you can also find them with a pistol-like design.

You have the flexibility to range to any target and get distances yourself, within, give or take, one yard accuracy with most conventional laser rangefinders.

They’re very easy to use: just line up the flagstick in the viewfinder crosshairs and shoot.

The battery life is so much longer than a GPS one, so you can definitely count on your laser lasting several rounds.

You don’t ever have to pay any sort of membership fee to use a laser rangefinder, and you also don’t have to deal with downloading maps or the like.

GPS Golf Rangefinders

golf-gps-rangefinderThese on the other hand, use satellite signals to first determine what course you’re playing at.

They’re preloaded with thousands of golf courses around the country, and even the world.

Additionally, you may need to pay an annual fee or membership fee to be able to access, download, and update these maps.

Secondly, the GPS rangefinders take out all the aiming and measuring work by giving you an updated distance to the hole from anywhere on the tee you’re standing.

GPS devices also have more features and functions than what a laser unit can offer.

They’re usually very small, handheld devices that you’d just stow away in a pocket or clip to your belt.

You also have the wearability factor if you wanted a GPS golf watch.

Touchscreen GPS rangefinders are also gaining popularity. Although it does take more set up time and device “learning” to get started, once that’s all done, it’s very easy to use.

Both GPS and laser rangefinders are convenient, user-friendly, and compact devices. Now that you know the differences between them, lets check out the best of each on offer.

Top 3 Laser Golf Rangefinders

  • Bushnell Tour Z6 with Jolt
  • 5-1300 Yard Range (450 to flag)
  • 6x21mm Magnification
  • LED/Red Display
  • 4.7/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    PinSeeker and Jolt Technology
    Fully Multi-Coated Lens
    Build-in Accessory Mount
    Vivid Display and E.S.P Technology
  • Bushnell Pro X7 Slope
  • 5-1760 Yard Range (550 to flag)
  • 7x26mm Magnification
  • LED/Red Display
  • 4.8/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    PinSeeker and Jolt Technology
    Slope Compensation
    Vivid Display and E.S.P Technology
    Fully Multi-Coated Lens
  • Laser Link XL 1000
  • 5-1000 Yard Range (300 to flag)
  • 6x Magnification
  • LCD/Black Display
  • 3.9/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    AccuFLAG Technology
    Waterproof with IPx4 Technology
    Small, compact, ergonomic
#1 Golf Laser Rangefinder

Bushnell Pro X7 Slope

bushnell-pro-x7-slope-with-joltThe fight for the top spot for the premium laser rangefinder was certainly that – a fight.

The other very qualified candidates were the Leupold GX4i2 and Bushnell’s own Tour X. In the end, the Pro X7 Slope won out, thanks to the great deal of support it got from a lot of very happy and satisfied reviewers.

This rangefinder has all of Bushnell’s notable, premium features such as the PinSeeker with Jolt technology, Slope technology, VDT, E.S.P. (Extreme. Precision. Speed) technology for superb half yard accuracy, and it’s fully waterproof to boot.

But, the two main features that set it apart from the rest would be its horizontal design which allows it to be built with 7X magnification to get the most out of the 1760 maximum yard range.

Let me do the math for you – that’s one full mile. Although it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever need that much yardage for golf, it’s still super awesome to have it!

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Golf Laser Rangefinder

Bushnell Tour Z6

bushnell-tour-z6-with-joltAs expected, there’s another Bushnell in the Top 3 category and according to its super high review rating, everyone knows why.

This is a really nice, mid level rangefinder that’ll probably never have you going back to an LCD again.

The Tour Z6 has more bells and whistles, starting with its LED Vivid Display Technology (VDT) and ending with its half yard accuracy.

All the stuff in the middle is the PinSeeker technology that works together with the “Jolt” vibrations that gives Bushnell’s golf rangefinders their appeal.

With 1300 maximum yard range and 450 to the flag, the Bushnell Tour Z6 has certainly earned this spot.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Golf Laser Rangefinder

Laser Link XL 1000

xl-1000If you’re wondering why this spot isn’t reserved for the top winning GolfBuddy LR5, it’s because it had a competitor right on its tail…

And, because it was by a very thin margin that the LR5 took its rightful place as the best basic rangefinder overall, the Laser Link XL 1000 definitely deserved a place to be mentioned.

Laser Link strayed from their renowned pistol-shape design to construct a vertical, conventional laser rangefinder that has the standard 6X magnification, 1000 maximum yard range, and AccuFlag technology to zero onto the pin.

It’s also fully waterproof, which is something you don’t often see for an entry level rangefinder at its going price.

Combine its hallmarked features with the fact that it fits right in with the “budget-friendly” price range, and we have a winner.

The Laser Link XL 1000 is an ideal rangefinder if you’re just starting out and want something that’s inexpensive, no fuss, and will endure time… and weather, with you.

Read the Full Review >>

Handheld vs Wearable (Watch) GPS

Size matters… you golf players know that. And, in this sport, bigger isn’t necessarily better.

The handheld GPS devices, whether it’s a touchscreen or conventional GPS unit, are small and compact in design. Even though both types of handhelds weigh barely anything up to a half pound, compared to a, pretty much, weightless watch, it’s obvious who wins the “who’s lighter” debate.

Which is More Convenient?

But, when it comes to handhelds, it’s all in the convenience of having it when you want it and putting it away when you don’t.

Handheld rangefinders are all palm size or smaller. With dimensions like these, they can be easily stowed away in the pockets of your golf slacks. Most of the time they also come with cases and clips that can attach to your belt or golf bag. Some of them can even attach to the brim of your hat or the hem of your sleeve.

Less frequently used are the neck lanyards that you can attach your handheld to. This isn’t a very popular option since it can interfere with your swing.

But, the wearable watch isn’t immune to this issue either. Sometimes the easily pressed buttons on a bulky GPS golf watch can be accidentally activated when swinging or simply using any movement that involves the wrist.

However, the watch is undoubtedly the easiest device to stow and pull out when you need it because it’s all available at the turn of your wrist. Its wearability factor makes it the most practical golf GPS rangefinder to have while on the green.

Which Has More Features?

But, if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned if there’s a difference in features between the two, it’s because there really isn’t any.

Although it may seem like the handhelds would have a lot more features, you’d be surprised to know that GPS watches have come a long way from their basic functioning days.

They’re now just as competitive as handhelds, including the touchscreen factor too. Intrigued? Read on to see what took first place as the best golf GPS watch.

But First...

I do have to mention that a qualifying factor to determine which were the best GPS rangefinders was if there were any annual or membership fees involved.

Since paying additional fees isn’t necessarily popular among most consumers, probably like yourself, it acted as a detriment. If there were fees involved, course coverage and availability as well as overall functionality was taken into consideration.

To have to pay more each year, you should expect the absolute best. So, did any of these GPS rangefinders with additional fees make the cut? You’re about to find out.

Top 3 Handheld Golf GPS Units

  • GolfBuddy Micro CT2
  • LCD Display
  • 40,000+ Preloaded Courses
  • No Membership Fees
  • 4.5/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Pin Placement Technology
    17 hrs Battery Life per Charge
    Statistical Tracking Features
  • Garmin Approach G8
  • 1.5 x 2.6 Inch Color Touchscreen
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Annual Fees
  • 4.1/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    PinPointer Technology
    PlaysLike Distance for slope adjustment
    Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity
    Club Selection and Big Numbers Mode
  • GolfBuddy Voice GPS
  • 1 inch LCD Screen
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Membership Fees
  • 4.5/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Voice Distance Readout
    9hrs Battery Life Per Charge
    Green View Feature
#1 Handheld Golf GPS

Garmin Approach G8

garmin-approach-g8-golf-gpsSince Garmin is a world leader in providing excellent quality GPS devices, it’s not a surprise that their Approach G8 has the premium spot for being the best handheld golf GPS rangefinder.

When it comes to Garmin, you should expect nothing less than top-notch functionality, superb accuracy, and the latest technologies to create a high-performing GPS golf rangefinder, and as expected, the Approach G8 has it all.

Trying to list all of its features would take another, give or take, 500 words – yeah, it’s that cool.

So, to highlight what makes it better than the rest starts with its 3 inch color touchscreen, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, Slope Compensation, and Club Selection features.

Luckily for you, it has a serious case of the “I’m-better-than-the-rest” attitude, and with confidence like that, there was no other choice than to place this bad boy at the top as the best GPS handheld rangefinder.

Again, there are no additional yearly fees with this device.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Handheld Golf GPS

GolfBuddy CT2 Micro

ct2-micro-handheld-gps-rangefinderOnce again, GolfBuddy claims another spot in the GPS rangefinder match.

The CT2 Micro is the sharpened version of its sibling, the Voice, but without the voice part.

As a mid-level GPS rangefinder it has all the standard features plus a little bit more, all without any membership or annual fees.

A digital score card, clock, GPS odometer, pin placement, and distances to hazards.

I think one of the most notable features it has that’s worth mentioning is that it displays the front/center/back of the green distances in one screen.

This smooth upgrade is indeed noticed by players and much appreciated because it means less finger action and more time playing.

Other praiseworthy features include water-resistance up to 10 meters, yeah, I know you’re impressed, but wait for it, there’s more.

It has 17 hours of GPS game time. That’s certainly one of the longest operating battery lives I’ve seen in a golf GPS rangefinder.

There’s no doubt here that the GolfBuddy Mirco CT2 deserves this spot.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Handheld Golf GPS

GolfBuddy Voice

golfbuddy-voice-gpsThis nifty little Voice GPS was the hands-down winner for being the best entry level GPS golf rangefinder. I bet you can guess why – it talks!

This feature alone is what attracts its many, and I mean many, fans.

It’s certainly very easy to use with its voice readout of the distance to the hole, distances to the front/middle/back of the green, shot distance measurement, and even a green view.

It’s equipped with all the standard features you should expect from a GPS unit, plus, it can speak in eight different languages.

It’s so unobtrusive during game play that you don’t even have to look at it if you didn’t want to, thanks to the voice factor. Just press the button and listen for the readout.

It also wouldn’t have won this spot if it wasn’t affordable. For less than $100 and no additional yearly fees, the GolfBuddy Voice is definitely a rangefinder worth trying out.

Read the Full Review >>

Top 3 Golf GPS Watches

  • Garmin Approach S4
  • 1 inch Touchscreen Display
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Annual Fees
  • 3.9/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Manual Pin Placement
    Bluetooth Connectivity
    Multiple Modes and 1ATM Waterproof
  • Garmin Approach S6
  • 1 Inch Color Touchscreen
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Annual Fees
  • 4.1/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Target and PinPointer Technology
    Swing Analysis
    Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity
    5ATM Water-Resistance
  • Bushnell Neo XS GPS Watch
  • 23 x 23mm Display
  • 33,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Membership Fees Required
  • 4.4/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Built-in Backlight
    16 hr Battery Life per Charge
    Inexpensive at approx $120
#1 Golf GPS Watch

Garmin Approach S6

garmin-approach-s6Garmin again sets itself apart from the rest, with no annual fees as well. Are we seeing a pattern here?

The Approach S6 golf watch seems like something too smart for its own good. But, you’ll definitely want it if you’re the type to crave high-tech and fully loaded devices.

Think of a watch combined with smartphone-like performance, and you have an innovative and first-class piece of technology called the Garmin Approach S6.

The S6 is by far the best golf watch you can buy.

It has everything the S4 has, and some! Its high resolution color touchscreen adds to the ingenious Auto Zoom to get a full, overhead view of the hole.

On top of that, Target Technology allows you to point to any landmark on the course and get a distance that makes for less time fiddling and more time playing.

The PinPointer is your compass to the hole, so you’ll never be lost over the hill and behind the woods again.

On top of the Bluetooth connectivity, it can connect to Wi-Fi too!

But, the focal points of the S6 are the Swing analysis features that just floats it way above the rest of the competition. You have a tutor, lessons, caddie, and super-duper, long tape measure all in one.

Should I remind you that it’s a watch, not a handheld? Wow, right? It really can’t get more sophisticated than that.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Golf GPS Watch

Garmin Approach S4

garmin-approach-s4-gps-golf-watchThe Approach S4 golf watch will serve you admirably if you’re in the market for a mid-level golf rangefinder.

It has touchscreen capability, manual pin placement, and a digital score card, stat tracking, and Bluetooth connectivity to pair with your Apple iPhone.

Although it does have pre-mapped distances to layups/doglegs, it doesn’t provide for hazards.

Despite that, its 10 meter waterproof factor and all the standard features you’d want from a golf watch put the S4 just one notch atop the Bushnell Neo XS.

Plus, like the Garmin S6, it has no additional fees.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Golf GPS Watch

Bushnell Neo XS

bushnell-neo-xs-gps-golf-watchIn the watch industry, Bushnell has the top lead on dishing out the best GPS golf watch to date.

Golf players love Bushnell for their laser rangefinders, and their watches are no exception.

It’s a pretty competitive market and the Neo XS stakes its claim by boasting of its long 16 hour GPS battery life and even providing up to four hazards or layups per hole.

That’s pretty fancy for an entry level GPS watch.

The Neo XS is very affordable and there are no annual or membership fees, ever! In fact, it’s one of the cheapest GPS watches you’ll find at barely over $100.

Its simple and handsome design, odometer, and shot distance calculator just add to the its already impressive scoreboard.

Read the Full Review >>

Tournament play comes down to needing accurate distances, and laser rangefinders are notorious for their precision.

Since GPS rangefinders are only accurate to within four yards and we want the best of the best for tournament play, which means being critical and petty about the slightest flaws, the laser rangefinders will be the show-stoppers for this category.

So, if it’s likely that you’ll want to use a rangefinder during tournament game play, then you’ll definitely need to know what the rules are before you even step foot onto the course. Having an “illegal” rangefinder can disqualify you, even if you’re not using the fancy features.

What Makes for a ‘Legal’ Device?

The USGA states in Rule 14-3 that you can use a measuring device during tournament game play, if it’s allowed by local rules first.

Now, here’s the nitty gritty. A legal rangefinder has the most basic feature – measuring distance only.

But just because it’s “legal” or basic in measuring function, it doesn’t mean it can’t be an exceptional device. A tournament legal rangefinder should have pin seeking features that can not only find and zero into the flag, but should be able to do it fast, like instantaneous kind of fast.

It should also be hair-splittingly accurate. You don’t want any room for error or it could cost you the par. In the end, all those basic features of a tournament legal rangefinder should be working at superior performance to get you tournament worthy.

What are the Disqualifying Features?

The rest of the jargon and lengthy word count of the 14-3 rule is pretty much for all the “Do Nots”.

The disqualifying features of a non-tournament legal rangefinder are slope compensation, club selection, measuring distance between two points that involves slope or other conditions that can affect the short distance, and any measuring feature that affects play like a barometer, temperature, etc.

Now that’s a way to take the fun out of a rangefinder, right?

Well, if you’re not in it for the tours, then having a decked-out rangefinder with all the latest features isn’t going to affect you one bit. But, if you’ve grown accustomed to all those features during practice rounds, you can’t have it anywhere near you while competing.

All of its fancy features are useless while it sits in the hot, stuffy front seat of your car.

Get Best of Both Worlds

But if you want the best of both worlds, some manufacturers have found a way around choosing one or the other to still appeal to both tournament legal and non-tournament playing crowds. For example, Bushnell with their Tour X and Leupold with the GX-4i2 can be classified as both tournament legal and non-tournament legal depending on the faceplate used.

Plus an update to rule 14-3 in 2016 means that you will only be penalized if you actually use the information that breaches this rule, rather than just because your device has those features.

You can see this rule update explained in the USGA video below:

Read on to see which rangefinders made the top three tournament legal rangefinders if you want to step your game up from amateur to pro.

  • Leupold GX-3i2
  • 6-800 Yard Range (450 to flag)
  • 6x22mm Magnification
  • OLED/Red Display
  • 4.6/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    DNA Technology
    PinHunter 2 and Prism Lock
    Fog Mode
  • Bushnell Tour X
  • 5-1300 Yard Range (450 to flag)
  • 6x21mm Magnification
  • LED/Red and LCD/Black Display
  • 4.7/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Exchange Technology for Slope values/tourmament play
    PinSeeker and Jolt Technology
    E.S.P Technology
    Dual Display andFully Multi-Coated Lens
  • Bushnell Tour V3 with Jolt
  • 5-1000 Yard Range (400 to flag)
  • 5x24mm Magnification
  • LCD/Black Display
  • 4.7/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    PinSeeker and Jolt Technology
    Multi-Coated lens
#1 Best Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder

Bushnell Tour X

bushnell-tour-x-rangefinderIf you want the creme de la creme of tournament legal rangefinders, then Bushnell pleases once again.

The Tour X is the combination of everything you want in a basic and premium laser rangefinder that you can use in the tournaments.

For starters, it has Bushnell’s revered Exchange Technology that allows you to use two different faceplates for play.

The red faceplate features Slope Compensation for when you’re hitting the practice rounds. This feature, as previously stated, is an illegal feature. Simple fix – leave the red faceplate at home on the big day! Insert the black faceplate, and voila, you’re tournie legal!

The other features that put this laser at the top of the game is the Dual Display Technology that allows you to toggle between an LCD and LED display depending on the lighting conditions, and of course, your preferences.

Since this is Busnell’s best, it has the latest E.S.P. 2 (Extreme. Speed. Precision.), half yard accuracy, HD optics, and the easily-lovable PinSeeker Technology with Jolt.

Although that was a mouth full, it’s everything that proves it’s the top legal rangefinder you’ll find.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder

Leupold GX-3i2

gx-3i2-rangefinderThis rangefinder has its competition beat, and not just because it has the Leupold name. The GX-3i2 is the epitomy of what a mid level tournament legal rangefinder should be.

It bears Leupold’s well-known Digitally Enhanced Accuracy (DNA) LED display and world-class optics to get accuracy to within 1/10th of a yard.

Even better, it has a specific Fog Mode to cut through all sorts of weather just in case the clouds roll in on your big day.

But, the pride and joy of the GX3i2 which makes it superbly appropriate for tournament legal play, is the PinHunter 2 and Prism Lock technology.

Think of these features like magnet technology; the way it seeks the flag is desperate and attracting. Once found, there’s no losing sights while it will audibly let you know you’ve got it.

The Leupold GX3i2 is the ultimate confidence booster for your tournament play.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder

Bushnell Tour V3 with Jolt

bushnell-tour-v3-jolt-standard-editionThis is definitely by far the best entry level golf rangefinder that you’d want while playing in the tournies.

The Bushnell Tour V3 focuses on the aspects that really make a difference on the course.

Outside of its standard ranging mode, it’s equipped with PinSeeker and Jolt so that you definitely know you’ve found the flag.

It’s accurate to within one yard, and although it has only 5X magnification, it makes up for it with its superb flag-seeking abilities up to 400 yards. For most entry level legal rangefinders, you’d see a maximum of about 250 to 350 yards to the flag, so this is a bonus.

Its large fan base and distinguishable flag seeking features has the Tour V3 with Jolt in the number one hot spot.

Read the Full Review >>

Top 3 Non-Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinders

  • 0-600 Yard Range
  • 6x21mm Magnification
  • LED/Red Display
  • 4.4/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    ID Technology (Slope Compensation)
    TruTarget Technology
    Continuous 8 Second Panning Mode
  • Leupold GX-4i2
  • 6-800 Yard Range (450 to flag)
  • 6x22mm Magnification
  • OLED/Red
  • 4/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Interchangeable Faceplate for Slope values/Tourmament Play
    PinHunter 2 and Prism Lock Technology
    DNA Technology
    Fog Mode
  • Bushnell Tour V3 Slope with Jolt
  • 5-1000 Yard Range (400 to flag)
  • 5x24mm Magnification
  • LCD/Black Display
  • 4.6/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Slope Technology
    PinSeeker and Jolt Technology
    Multi-Coated lens

#1 Best Non-Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder

Leupold GX-4i2

gx-4i2-rangefinderI suppose you could say that the Bushnell Tour X could have won this spot too, since it can also be a non-tournament legal rangefinder with the red faceplate.

However, by focusing on the all of the non-legal features that a rangefinder can have, the GX-4i2 certainly beat the Bushnell, but just by a hair.

To start off, the GX-4i2 has PinHunter 2 and Prism Lock technology so that you can easily find the flag, but not easily lose sight of it.

Secondly, it has an interchangeable faceplate that allows it to be tournament legal when the chrome place it installed, and “illegal” when the yellow faceplace, or Smart Key, is installed.

The Smart Key allows you access to the True Golf Range (TGR) feature that can not only get you the slope adjusted distance, but it also compensates for temperature and altitude. Wow, right?

Going a step further into the “no-no” world of the tournament legal agenda is the club selection feature. Your rangefinder will get to know you so well, that it’ll start telling you what club you need to make that shot.

I did mention earlier somewhere that you can get rid of your caddie, right? This is the one feature that made it just that much better than the Bushnell Tour X.

If you want one or if you have one, then you know there’s not much left to say about the illegal Smart Key of the Leupold GX-4i2 other than, you have the right to remain… loud and happy to brag.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Non-Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder


coolshot-asNikon finally makes an appearance with the AS from the COOLSHOT rangefinder series. As a mid-level rangefinder, it’s unquestionably the winner for this spot.

While not for professional play, the Nikon AS has a lot to offer for practice rounds.

It has half yard increment distance readings, it’s fully waterproof, and it has pin seeking and locking technology to eliminate any concerns about hand shaking effects that are common with laser devices.

The non-legal focus of this device is its ID (Incline/Decline) Technology that provides slope adjusted distances. Without it, you couldn’t be quite sure what club to select to get the right trajectory to make that par.

Another feature that helped the Nikon COOLSHOT AS win this spot is its Tru-Target Technology.

What’s that? I’m glad you asked. It’s Nikon’s name for being able to toggle between First Target Priority Mode and Distant Target Priority Mode.

Not all golf rangefinders have this second distance targeting mode, and it’s definitely a versatile feature to have.

With all these extra bonuses, there’s no way any other rangefinder could top this Nikon.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Non-Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder

Bushnell Tour V3 Slope with Jolt

bushnell-tour-v3-slopeYes, that’s right. The standard edition of this rangefinder won the entry level spot for the best tournament legal device. It was a hit with the consumers and it’s a hit on here.

When evaluating which rangefinder would make the cut for this spot, it was a no-brainer. It made a lot of sense that the slope version, the Bushnell Tour V3 Slope with Jolt, is the most ideal device to take this spot as the best, basic non-tournament legal rangefinder.

Its Slope Technology gets you distances to the hole while compensating for incline or decline.

That jolt confirmation setting that’s activated when the rangefinder has successfully found the flag while in PinSeeker mode is second to none.

It can range out much further than a flagstick, out to 1000 yards, and its multi-coated optics ensure you’ll get bright, clear, and crisp images. For a basic and non-legal rangefinder, it has everything you could want.

Read the Full Review >>

Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide

If you’re been reading all of the golf laser rangefinder reviews there are to read, then you’re definitely big on wanting to be informed as possible. Besides, when shopping for your next toy or tool, depending on how serious you are, you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth, or even better, more than what you paid for it.

Before spending any amount of your precious pennies on a golf rangefinder, you want to know what to specifically look for.

Laser Rangefinders

best golf rangefinder reviewsIn a laser rangefinder, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a few things:

  • Ease of use/functionality
  • Accuracy and speed of obtaining readings
  • Features
  • Cost/Value

Weigh these factors against each other and determine what’s more important to you. Is it worth more to pay extra for slope compensation if you’ll really never use it? Does accuracy mean more to you than any upgrade or feature? Does brand name have something to do with how happy you’ll be with the rangefinder?

Laser rangefinders tend to be preferred over the GPS units, for now, but it’s a very tight competition between the two. They last longer than a GPS, they’re versatile, and they’re also more accurate.

But there are benefits of the GPS rangefinders if you wanted to explore that world too.

GPS Rangefinders

When it comes to a GPS golf rangefinder, there’s a few more things you’ll want to consider before buying:

  • Ease of use/functionality/navigation
  • Accuracy
  • Speed of operation
  • Setup/syncing
  • Any annual fees or membership dues
  • Setup/syncing
  • Available charging equipment
  • Course details and availability
  • Features
  • Cost/value

GPS devices are increasing in popularity in the rangefinder industry and more innovative as technology evolves. You will need to ask yourself if you prefer a watch, touchscreen, or audio capable device.

They tend to be cheaper than a laser rangefinder with more jam-packed features too. This may be the convincing nudge you’re looking for when trying to decide between the two.

Which is the Best Golf Rangefinder for You?

The beauty of rangefinders is that they can appeal to all skill levels of all types of players who share their passion of golf. Knowing which one is right for you can depend on a lot of factors.

Do you plan to play in tournaments? Do you play leisurely at the same course all the time? Do you travel the world to best the courses that are foreign to you?

Although I can’t tell you which one will change your golfing experience to the heights that you’ve never reached before, I can point you in the right direction to which one can suit your needs right now.

Starting Out?

If you’re just starting out to golf or to rangefinders in general, you’re going to want a basic and entry level rangefinder that’ll get you what you’re looking for – the distance to the hole.

There’s no need to have every feature available at this point. As a novice, you want to learn the game and master target acquisition.

These rangefinders are also great even if you’re a seasoned player just looking for a casual round.

For an entry level rangefinder, check out the unit that has taken out position number 3 in any of the ‘Top 3’ categories above. To recap, here they are again:

Best Entry Level (Low Budget) Rangefinders from Each Category

  • Best GPS Watch: Bushnell Neo XS
  • Best Tournament Legal: Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt
  • Best Non-tournament Legal: Bushnell Tour V3 Slope
  • But, if you consider yourself a little more adept at the game, a mid level rangefinder, either GPS or laser is the way to go. Check out the section below for a recap on those.

    Halfway There?

    Mid level rangefinders completely satisfy almost all golfers needs. You have basic measuring distance as well as a feature or two, say, slope compensation and a few more hundred yards to range out.

    Note here that a mid level laser rangefinder is typically better in durability and cutting through bad weather to still acquire a range.

    A mid level GPS device would offer more distances to hazards and maybe even a manual pin placement feature so that you could input distances yourself.

    Mid level rangefinders are great for all types of players and are usually the last purchase that you’ll ever need to make. Focus on the rangefinders given 2nd postion in the tables above for a great mid level unit. To recap, here they are again:

    Best Mid Level Rangefinders (Medim Budget) from Each Category

  • Best GPS Watch: Garmin Approach S4 GPS Watch
  • Best Tournament Legal: Leupold GX-3i2
  • Best Non-tournament Legal: Nikon COOLSHOT AS
  • Go Pro!

    But, then there’s always people that want the best and no price can deter them. If you’re a pro, a serious player, or you simply enjoy having all there is to have in a pocket-sized device, then the premium rangefinders are definitely not offlimits to you.

    It might take a little bit more “learning” to comfortably get used to using the rangefinder, because it’s equipped with much more than a standard unit. But, once you’ve mastered the learning process and have grown accustomed to premium-level rangefinders, you’ll probably never look back to another device again.

    You should remember though, that high-tech golf rangefinders tend to be non-tournament legal, so you can’t play with it in the tournaments. However, you can shop amongst the rangefinders that have the interchangeable faceplate to change that illegal status to legal when you want it to be.

    Check out our number 1 rangefinder for each of the categories above and you are looking at pro level rangefinders. To recap, here they are again:

    Best Mid Level Rangefinders (Medim Budget) from Each Category

  • Best GPS Watch: Garmin Approach S6
  • Best Tournament Legal: Bushnell Tour X
  • Best Non-tournament Legal: Leupold GX-4i2
  • Range and Swing!

    Once you’ve found the perfect buddy-for-a-rangefinder, you’ll no longer be “that” guy. You’ll now be the one everyone wants to ask, “Hey, what’s the distance?”

    With a savvy rangefinder in hand, you’ll have that satisfaction.

    If it gets annoying to be asked that every hole, throw them this way, to a rangefinder review that can educate them. Or, you could just pretend yours doesn’t work.

    The bottom line is, there’s a rangefinder for everybody, and if you find you’re ready to evolve, you can always come back to see what’s next in store for you.