As a relative newcomer to golf, the distance measuring device (DMD)
has developed at a rapid pace. The information has become more accurate,
devices are easier to use and the good news is, they’re also becoming
more affordable. With this in mind, we tested 12 models that have been
launched since our 2011 test. Not only have top-end models improved the
quality of maps and the amount of information on offer, but there has
also been an influx of stripped-back versions that are easy to use and
provide basic information.
The major laser brands have also
refined their products to make them easier to use. All this means there
are more options out there than ever before, with products designed to
meet the needs of different golfers. In this test, we aim to help refine
your search and identify the best products on the market.
The Golf Monthly staff conducted the test at the beautiful Liphook Golf
Club in Hampshire, number 79 in the Golf Monthly Top 100 list. It was a
course that the vast majority of testers had never played before and
features a number of blind shots, as well as holes that require a club
other than driver from the tee. The course offered the perfect
opportunity to test each device to its fullest.
begin with, the test team went through the set-up process for every
device to compare how easy it was to get the unit ready for play. Each
member of the team then tried out two units on the course. The test
team’s handicaps varied from five to 24, and ranged from long-time DMD
users to those who had never used one before. This helped us to test the
suitability of a unit for different golfers. After the round, the team
compared the features and benefits of each model and awarded points for
Value: The initial price and download costs comparative to the quality of the unit.
Set-up: How easy the unit is to set up initially and download courses on to.
Ease of use: How easy it is to read yardages, as well as use any other additional features.
Information: The quality and quantity of information provided on the unit.
Ergonomics: How the unit feels in the hand, the button design and the bag clip.
Accuracy: How the yardage readings compare with other units, yardage markers and course guides.
An overall rating including how robust the unit is, the battery life,
the clarity of the screen and how the unit attached to a golf bag.
'GREAT ALL-ROUND LASER' Unit price: £299 Download costs: None Key technology: First Nikon laser device to use LED illumination, which is designed to offer clearer viewing of the display in all light conditions. The Coolshot features a high-quality zoom and Nikon?s First Target Priority mode, which assists location of the flag and gives a yardage to it when there are other objects behind it. Vastly improved ergonomics compared to previous Nikon laser devices. Information is very clear and the laser still works effectively in dull light conditions. But... Laser devices take longer to get used to than GPS units. The all-white design gets dirty quickly. Carry case could be improved. GM Verdict (Stephanie Atkinson - 24 handicap): It was interesting for a high handicapper to try out a laser device alongside someone who has used one for a long time. It?s difficult for a first-time user to pick up targets to begin with, and for a higher handicap player the specific yardages weren?t as useful as an overhead map of the hole. The screen is clearer than previous Nikon models, and for those who want exact yardages to the pin, it?s up there with the best units on the market. Value: 12/15 Ease of use: 14/15 Information: 12/15 Accuracy: 14/15 Set-up: 10/10 Ergonomics: 9/10 Performance: 18/20 Total: 87/100