Are Golf Rangefinders Accurate?

The accuracy of golf rangefinders is often asked in comparison to golf GPS or when someone plans to get one for them. The answer to this question are golf rangefinders accurate?  is ‘yes.’ Accuracy is the one feature to choose golf rangefinders over GPS devices. Overall, golf rangefinders are the most accurate in determining the distance you are standing from the green. However, the accuracy varies from model to model and is influenced by other factors such as slopes, hills, trees that make the result murkier.

Let’s discuss this further by talking about golf rangefinders in detail, their uses and the different models available in the market!

Golf Rangefinders and Their Accuracy

how accurate are rangefinders

A rangefinder is a device that helps determine how far away an object is. It does this by measuring the time for the laser to reach the object and converting it to distance. In golf, rangefinders measure the mileage of a shot and measure the slope and the wind. It is very useful in determining the choice of the club based on where the ball is located. It can also be called a laser range finder or golf binoculars.

Most high-end golf rangefinder brands offer very high accuracy, for example, to near a yard. Others offer accuracy to near half of it. Laser rangefinders are more accurate, convenient, and versatile compared to golf GPS as they work on all golf courses, unlike GPS.

What Affects a Golf Rangefinder’s Accuracy

Rangefinders’ accuracy is also in terms of the perfect yardage they deliver. It enables golfers to easily verify the target without the need to download the map. However, to give the yardage, a rangefinder requires aiming. It doesn’t immediately give the yardage; a golfer needs to aim. This is an inconvenience for people with shaky hands and could lower the rangefinder’s accuracy as well. That’s why some prefer to use GPS over rangefinders despite being faster, easier, and more accurate.

The fact that rangefinders give readings in visual also affects their accuracy. While they offer readings for the distance to the green, the distance to the front, middle or back of the green may not be accurate. Beginners often face this problem, but pro golfers know how to navigate.

Other factors that affect a rangefinder’s accuracy are the slopes, hills, tree areas, etc. A rangefinder’s accuracy is not guaranteed in such cases, which is understandable.

However, holding all the factors, we can say that rangefinders are the most accurate.

How a Golf Rangefinder Calculates the Distance

A rangefinder measures distances through telemetry, which involves using optical elements – such as a laser – to accurately determine the distance to a distant object.

In golf, you aim at the target with a laser rangefinder that sends a laser beam that hits it before returning to the device. The rangefinder will then calculate the distance between the target and the emitting device by calculating the travel time of the light. It works a bit like a GPS, except that the light replaces the sound.

accuracy of rangefinder

The best rangefinders no longer just provide distance measurements but also provide information on the angle of the terrain, its altitude, or the force of the wind.

PGA Tour has recently authorized the use of rangefinders for its three major competitions. Its use is also frequent on the courses, between amateurs and pros, for being much more precise than a GPS device.

 How to Use a Golf Rangefinder?

To get the most out of the tool, you need to understand how it works and how to use a golf range finder. It is very easy, especially since the most recent models always facilitate the task of their users.

  • Place the rangefinder in front of your eyes, like binoculars, and aim at the target (ideally, the flag)
  • Trigger the sending of the beam, which will hit the target before returning
  • Check the measured distance on the screen

For hilly terrain, the angle of the terrain is important, and the efficient rangefinders will give you indications on it while allowing you to make the necessary adjustments and then obtain the most precise measurements possible. Also, be aware that you need to be stable, and some models have an anti-vibration function to help you not shake when measuring.

The rangefinder uses light to calculate distances, and you must therefore play when the weather conditions are mild for the device to be effective. Generally, this is not a problem since golf is played on a clear day. Likewise, you need to be able to see the target for it to work correctly.

Tips to Choose a Golf Rangefinder

Go for Range and Accuracy

Accuracy is the most important criterion of choice. Depending on the measurement established by the rangefinder, you will choose the club and determine the force you need to make a successful blow.

The range is variable (from 500 m to 1000 meters in general) depending on the golf rangefinder chosen. It’s up to you to see what kind of courses you practice on frequently. As the prices go up with the range, buying a long-range device is not necessarily useful if you only play on short courses.


Apart from the quality of graphic display, which is comfortable for the eyes, look for the display yards/meters that interest you. Many rangefinders display distances only in yards, and you might prefer a model that displays in meters.

 The Weight and Size

The dimensions of the golf rangefinder are essential to carry it easily with you on the course, in your pocket, for example. Some models are very ergonomic and designed to be practical. In addition, a light model will be more manageable and less tiring in use, allowing you to keep your strength for your swings.

Its Autonomy and Functionalities

Some rangefinder models are battery-operated. So, monitor the battery life to ensure that the device won’t let you down during the course. To understand the features, compare models: zoom type, vibration function, scanner mode, etc. Depending on the range you’re looking for, there are more or less complete models.

Are Golf Rangefinders Accurate Final Thoughts!

In conclusion, golf rangefinders are pretty accurate, but their accuracy depends on several factors. With the tips discussed above, you’ll certainly find the best model depending on our range need. Do not forget to share how this information worked for you!

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