If you are a golfer, you must have heard of golf rangefinders. In case you don’t know what they are, rangefinders are devices that can measure the distance between you and the target. In golf, they are used to measure how far away the flag is so that a player can know how hard to swing.
So, can golf pros use rangefinders during competition?
At first, it might seem like those devices will provide you with a lot of help, and that it might be unfair to use them. However, they are completely legal in most tournaments. Most professional golf players use them, and they represent an essential part of their equipment. However, this doesn’t apply to every single tournament, and rules can vary between tournaments.
On the other hand, there are specific features that some rangefinders provide and that are illegal in almost any tournament. You might have heard of golf rangefinders that have a slope feature. So, what is that? Basically, the golf terrain is not always even. It is not like a football stadium. It might have certain slopes that make your measurement a bit more difficult.
So even though the rangefinder can measure the distance between you and the flag, you will still have to do some calculations on your own, since the slopes might interfere with your shot. That’s why the slope function is provided in some rangefinders. Instead of waiting for the laser reflection to come back, it also tracks the angle of the reflection and therefore includes the slopes in the final calculation. However, those devices are banned in most tournaments.
In some tournaments, they will ban you and you won’t be able to join the game. In some other tournaments, however, there will be devices that will automatically disable the slope function on your device, so you can continue using it only as a classic rangefinder.
We can conclude that if you are a professional, you shouldn’t buy a rangefinder with the slope function. However, assuming that you are a professional, you should definitely get yourself a classic golf rangefinder. On the other hand, if you are an amateur and like to play golf with friends, then you might be interested in a rangefinder with a slope function.
How do rangefinders work?
Some people don’t know how rangefinders actually work, and it may seem like a mystery to them. However, the principle is very simple. Basically, when you press the button, the device will shoot a laser beam in the direction of the target. Now, below the point from which the laser is fired, there is a special sensor that waits for the reflected laser to come back.
The device then calculates the time needed for the laser to get back from the moment it was fired. According to that measured time, the distance between the device and the final point of the laser is calculated. The faster the signal comes back, the closer the target is. That’s how most laser devices work, including golf rangefinders. Also, there are various types of rangefinders, such as hunting rangefinders.
Before you start using a rangefinder
Since you are reading this article, you might be interested in getting a golf rangefinder. The fact is, although these devices are very useful, you will need some time to completely adapt. Sometimes it might be hard to lock in on the flag if your hands are shaking. That’s why most people use tripods. Furthermore, there are some rangefinders that will automatically vibrate once the flag is locked in on the screen.
You should also know that if you want a rangefinder to have multiple cool features, you will need to pay more. Basically, the more features you want to have, the more you will have to pay. However, note that none of these functions are essential. They will just make the job easier and less time-consuming. The main goal of these devices is to measure the distance between you and the target, and each one of these devices does that job perfectly. They all simply differ by the features that they provide.
So let’s sum up the answer to the question of can golf pros use rangefinders? Basically, golf rangefinders are allowed in almost all tournaments. There are some special tournaments now and then that ban these devices, but they are mostly legal to use by professionals. However, if the device has a slope function, that it is not legal in most tournaments.
While rangefinders make the job much easier, the actual spirit of the game might lose its meaning. On the other hand, many golfers own these devices for recreational purposes, since they can be very interesting to use if you are just playing golf with your friends. All and all, we can say that these devices are legal, as long as they don’t have the slope function.