Golf Rangefinders: Are They a Benefit or Hindrance to the Game?


Golf rangefinders, whether GPS or laser, are changing the way players interact with their environment and helps to improve game play while on the course, professionally or leisurely. You may use one, you may not – yet.

And, depending on your personal opinion, rangefinders could be a good thing or a hindrance to the game. Where do you fall on this scale? Do you already take advantage of the many benefits of golf rangefinders?

It’s hard to say “no” to a convenient device that makes getting the distance you need fast and accurately.

In fact, a poll done in 2012 revealed that about 69 percent of golf players that participated in the poll use a rangefinder. The other 31 percent… don’t.

Because of the many benefits golf rangefinders offer, you’d think that every golf player would be pro rangefinder, but it just doesn’t always work out that way. If you’re a traditionalist and you much prefer the go-with-your-gut or ask-the-caddie method, you’re probably not going to embrace the rangefinder as readily as someone else.

Heck, you probably have a thing about golf carts too! Well, I’m not going to hold it against you as long as you take a second to see if rangefinders have earned their place in the golf game or not.

To first appreciate how a rangefinder can help you in the sport, let’s go over some of the benefits:

Benefits of Golf Rangefinders

  • They’re convenient to have, carry around, and to use.
  • They’re fast and accurate.
  • You can take them with you anywhere on the course.
  • They speed up game play.
  • They can even be wearable.
  • You don’t have to consult a yardage book or depend heavily on yardage markers.
  • You can use the right club to attain the best ball trajectory based on the distance.
  • You can avoid hazards based on the accurate distance.
  • You can get out of blind spots easier with GPS rangefinders.
  • You can know the distance to any target or landmark, not just the flagstick, on any point on the green and the course as a whole.

With benefits like these, what’s all the fuss about? Well, let’s remember what it is that we like about the game, and ultimately, how you could possibly have an issue with such nifty little things…

On a clear, early morning, you’ve put your golf shoes on at your favorite club and you’re ready to hit the course. With cell phone on silent and tucked away, you and your buddy head out on foot to enjoy the comfortable pace of a leisurely game.

There’s something therapeutic about “feeling” the distance or walking the extra 20 paces to walk off yardage. You might even be toting around a yardage book, lugging your golf bag behind you, and hitting the course the old-fashioned way – on foot.

When you see those small trees in the 150 yard distance, you probably even sport a frown. But, you flip those sun-glasses down, peer at the yardage markers on sprinkler heads, estimate your distance, choose your club and ball correctly, and you enjoy every part of that 3:1 swing ratio.

Now, that’s a golf game worth getting up early for.

This is as old-school and enjoyable as it gets. And there’s no reason a rangefinder should negatively impact this scenario. If anything, they help to enhance enjoyment and game play.