Golf Range Finders

golf rangefinders

If you play golf, what is the most common question you ask? The answer is simple, "what is the yardage to the pin?" For many years the answer had always been an educated guess or estimate. Modern technology has changed all of this. Read below to find out how.

What are rangefinders used for in golf?

Rangefinders have taken a lot of the guesswork out of golf and made players more accurate. While the rules of golf don't allow PGA Tour players to use them, they do allow the rest of us casual golfers the luxury. There are two types of golf rangefinders: one uses lasers to measure distance, and the other uses GPS. The distance provided by a rangefinder will surely be more accurate than looking at your ball in relation to the 150-yard marker and then trying to figure out how far it is to the pin. So, if you want to make this difficult game a bit easier, you should invest in a rangefinder.

Things To Consider

When looking for a rangefinder, you'll want to consider the following:

  • What kind of rangefinder are you looking for?
  • How much are you looking to spend on a rangefinder?
  • What level of golfer are you?

What are you looking for in a golf rangefinder?

  • Affordability
  • Durability
  • Accuracy
  • Portability
  • Magnetized


There are two main types of golf rangefinders; a handheld version that uses lasers to measure distance or watches that use GPS.


golf rangefinder handheld

The handheld rangefinder is a distance measuring device that uses lasers to show the yardage to a specific target, usually the flagstick on the green. The user holds the viewfinder to their eye, matches the crosshair to the target, and pulls the trigger; the yardage will quickly show up in the viewfinder. They are quite small in size, about 4"x1.5"x3" on average, but can be very expensive. Good quality models can be purchased for around $250-$350, but the elite models with premium optics and accuracy will cost $600-$700.


  • Accuracy
  • Can target any object
  • Compact


  • Expensive
  • Takes time to shoot yardage
  • Less portable than alternative


golf rangefinder watch

The watch rangefinder measures yardage by use of GPS. You wear it on your wrist, like any other wristwatch, but it contains a GPS antenna inside that connects to multiple satellites that locate you in relation to the nearest golf course. Most top models have about 40,000 preloaded golf courses mapped out; however, that doesn't cover all courses, so you may not be able to use it on certain courses. Quality watch rangefinders range in price, typically $140-$500, with the high-priced models offering more information, courses, and options.


  • Portable
  • Less expensive than alternatives
  • Gives yardage quickly


  • Relies on GPS signal
  • May not give yardage to areas other than the green
  • Doesn't have every course map


There are a number of companies that make quality golf rangefinders, but Bushnell, Blue Tees, and Garmin stand out with the accuracy and quality of their products.


Bushnell is the leader in producing handheld laser rangefinders. Their models are consistently ranked as the top in the industry due to their accuracy, speed, slope technology, and ease of use. Bushnell offers four different models of handheld rangefinders that range in price from $300-$550, and they are all among the best in class. They also offer two different models of watch rangefinders that are pretty basic and at the low end of the price range.

Blue Tees

Blue Tees is known for producing quality handheld rangefinders at a more affordable price. They offer three different laser rangefinders at prices from $190 to $260. Their models are water-resistant and have a range of 800 yards, with the top model offering slope calculating technology. For golfers on a budget that really need a rangefinder, Blue Tees has the answer.


Garmin is well known for their quality watch rangefinders, always among the top-rated products. They offer four models of golf watches available from $150 to $550, with the top model offering a touchscreen, a large map, and even wind speed and direction. Their watches have a large database with over 41,000 courses preloaded. Garmin also offers a high-quality handheld laser rangefinder that includes GPS technology. This model, which sells for $600, is loaded with information and is extremely accurate.


How much do rangefinders cost?

Golf rangefinders are available in a wide price range. Handheld laser rangefinders are available from a number of companies and will cost from roughly $180 to $700. The basic models are on the low end of the scale, and the more expensive models have better optics, more options, and are usually more compact. Quality watch rangefinders will cost $140-$550, and the more expensive models will offer more information, preloaded courses, and user interface.

Are rangefinders allowed in PGA Tour tournaments?

Golf's two governing bodies, the USGA and R&A;, that make the rules of golf have outlawed distance measuring devices for professional competitive play. They do allow tour players to use the devices in practice rounds to learn the course. However, the PGA of America hosts a major tournament every year, The PGA Championship, and they allowed the use of rangefinders during competition for the first time in 2021.

How do you use a rangefinder in golf?

The two rangefinders we've discussed are used very differently. The handheld model is used in a simple point-and-shoot method. You hold the eyepiece to your eye, match the crosshair to your target and pull the trigger. The distance to your target will light up near the crosshair. The watch, or GPS, rangefinder constantly calculates the yardage to the green as you walk or ride a cart. This rangefinder's accuracy depends entirely on the GPS signal and satellites.