We pick out the best laser rangefinders 2016, all designed to give you accurate distances to the flag and fit perfectly in your hand for easy use.
Laser rangefinders are usually chosen by better players and elite amateurs for their detailed accuracy. They offer precise distances to the flag but also feature technology that picks out the flag from any trees or bushes behind the green, letting you know the distance you want.
Lasers aren’t for everyone. Higher handicappers won’t need such precise information, which is why a basic GPS device will be better suited to their needs while also saving a few pounds in the process.
Traditionally, as a laser rangefinder user you had to make a choice between whether you wanted a standard laser to use in competitions or a slope-adjusted laser, that gives you altered distances based on how uphill or downhill the flag is located, to use in practice rounds.
But following a change to rule 14-3 regarding artificial devices, slope lasers can now be used in competitions providing the function is disabled and there is a local rule in place allowing distance measuring devices.
Here are the best laser rangefinders of 2016…
Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT £269 (£315 Slope version)
GM says: The new Bushnell Tour V4 laser rangefinder boasts a faster, smaller and more ergonomically designed shape than the Tour V3 model it replaces. It is also available in Slope Edition, which utilises Slope Technology to provide yardages that take into account and adjust for elevation changes uphill and downhill. This can be disabled for competition use. As well as being 30 per cent smaller, the Bushnell Tour V4 laser also features JOLT Technology for a reassuring vibration when you’ve successfully measured the flag from the background. It also has a 5-1,000-yard range (400 yards to a flag), a 5x magnification, a new ergonomic grip, a waterproof case and a two-year warranty.
GM says: Bushnell has once again pushed the envelope with the introduction of interchangeable faceplates. The black faceplate represents the device is legal for competition use while the red faceplate activates its slope-adjusted technology. So in one device, you have everything covered. It has a range of 1,300 yards, or 450 yards to a flag, with half-yard measurements when you are within 125 yards. It’s pretty expensive, but understandably so given the accuracy and versatility on offer.
GM says: Nikon’s latest competition-friendly laser has Hyper Read Technology, which displays the distance within half a second while First Target Priority mode picks out the flag from the background. There’s good value for money here when you consider the range and the level of detail and the 650-yard range. It fits perfectly in your hand and the speed the yardages are shown mean you shouldn’t slow down you pace of play. Coming in at a similar price, the Coolshot 40 is a worth competitor to the Bushnell Tour V3.
GM says: Nikon’s Angle Compensation (slope) technology makes this illegal for competition use, but it is a comprehensive, ergonomically-shaped device that should become a useful companion for practice and non-competitive rounds and is ideal when playing hilly courses. The styling is modern and fit for purpose while the speed at which the distances are displayed along with the accuracy can’t be faulted.
GM says: The Z6 also features JOLT technology, speeding up the process and offering reassurance that you have found the flag. It boasts one of the longest ranges around and the compact design means it fits into small pockets in the golf bag with ease. The red numbers and target show up very clearly and the laser works well even in foggy and very bright conditions.
GolfBuddy LR5 £219.95
GM says: Replacing the GolfBuddy LR4, the new LR5 has a range of up to 880 yards and has three operational modes: Standard, Pin and Scan for different situations on the course. ‘Scan’ provides a continuous 10-second display of all objects located; ‘Pin’ homes in on the flag and factors out background noise from trees etc, to give precise readings; and ‘Standard’ provides a single distance to any chosen target from flag to dogleg point or hazard edge. There’s also a battery meter and a flip ‘n’ twist cap to access the battery.
GM says: If you’re looking to purchase your first laser, the Coolshot 20 could be the ideal choice. It is light, easy to use and fits snugly in a small pocket in the bag. The First Target made helps to ensure you pick up the flag stick rather than anything behind the green, particularly useful if you aren’t used to a laser, and the 550-yard range is ample for most golfers. Given the price it is a very impressive offering that comes in a neat and stylish body.