Consumers generally recognize the Nikon brand to be among the best builders of professional photographic equipment with some of the world’s best optics. You might expect a great maker of high-end cameras to be equally expert at making a golf rangefinder, you and would be correct. The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Golf Laser Rangefinder is the camera-maker’s effort to provide a relatively affordable and effective Nikon golf rangefinder at an affordable price, similar to some of its competition. Nikon succeeded very well with a great golf rangefinder that delivers accurate readings at up to 800 yards.
Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Golf Laser Rangefinder Compact, Ergonomic and Durable Construction
The unit has the traditional one-handed construction with a single ocular lens on one side and the laser mechanism and outer viewing lens on the outer end. It measures just 1.5 inches wide thanks to its use of a CR2 battery instead of a larger, bulkier rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The Nikon Coolshot 20 also measure 3.6 inches long by 2.9 inches high, which makes it a perfect fit for just about any adult golfer’s palm.
No bulky battery reduces the weight to about 4.5 ounces. You can use it equally well with either your right or left hand while two buttons on top provide power and change modes. The button nearest the ocular handles the power distribution while the second button is space further away toward the front of the rangefinder. The buttons generally are located where a user’s forefinger and ring finger naturally come to rest on top when using either hand.
Get Your Club and Swing Right
The greater degree of accuracy within 100 yards also helps you to better determine which approach shot would work best. When you use a driver or clubs, you mostly are covering a relatively long distance and want the ball to lay up in a good spot with a great lie. You really do not need anything more than a close approximation of the fairway, green and any nearby hazards.
When you are in close enough for an approach shot, that extra accuracy within 100 yards makes all the difference. Combined with the 6X magnification, you get a very close and detailed look at the green and hole and can determine whether you can go aggressive and roll the ball uphill or need to put more backspin on the ball and make it stick with a high and shorter pitch shot. Getting the right information can mean the difference between a high-percentage put and rolling the ball off of the green.
Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Golf Laser Rangefinder Accuracy to Within a Yard
A golf rangefinder generally tells you two things: How far it is to the flag and far it is to nearby hazards. You do not need to know the precise distance to the flag when you are outside of your club and swing range. You just need to have a good idea of how far you need to hit the ball to set up a better approach shot. The rangefinder gives you quick readings that are accurate to within 2 yards when viewing objects that are more than 100 yards away.
An 8-second scan mode and the 2-yard measurement accuracy enables the rangefinder to give you quick readings of different objects as you scan the hole for hazards, rough, trees and the green. The looser reading at longer distances still tells you which club you need to use to get the ball there and the best swing. The ocular provides 20 mm of eye relief so that you can hold the golf rangefinder to your sunglasses and still see clearly.
Highly Accurate 100-Yard Readings
When you are within 100 yards of the flag or are viewing hazards and other objects that are no more than 100 years away, the golf rangefinder’s accuracy improves to within a yard. The 20 mm objective lens provides an effective 6×20 monocular for magnifying objects at a reasonable distance. That can help you to see if any water has pooled onto the fairway after a short cloudburst and provide similar critically important readings to make the best and most-informed golf swing.
- Excludes background to ensure true flag distance.
- Continuous measurement provides multiple distance readings.
- Adjustable 6X diopter finely tunes image.
- Rainproof construction keeps moisture out during wet playing conditions.
- Wholly legal for tournament use.
- Maximum accuracy to within a yard not as precise as many others.
- No slope reading or elevation adjustment.
- Must buy CR2 battery to get it working.
First-Target Priority Programming
The Nikon Coolshot 20 does a great job of telling you where various objects are and locking in on the flag for precise measurement when you are close to the pin. The first-target priority disregards background objects and automatically targets the nearest object with the laser beam. Something larger and a bit more distant will not distract the rangefinder and give you readings that you cannot use or might even cause you to choose an iron and swing based on incorrect data.
Advanced pin-identification technology enables the golf rangefinder to immediately lock on to the flag and disregard background objects so that you get the actual measurement to the pin. Many lesser rangefinders will read nearby trees, ball washers, benches and other objects while overlooking the relatively svelte flagpole marking the hole. The Coolshot 20 does not. It locks in onto the flag and disregards the rest for the best level of accuracy.
When you want to measure the distances to other objects, the 8-second scan mode does that nicely. The ability to give you exceptionally accurate readings to the pin while also allowing you to take a quick 8-second scan to get the hole’s entire layout makes the Nikon Coolshot 20 a truly indispensable tool for the serious golfer.
Many current rangefinders include a slope reading and adjustment function that tells you the adjusted distance to the hole based on the elevation change to the green. That function makes those rangefinders illegal to use in tournament play – unless you turn off the slope adjustment. The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Golf Laser Rangefinder does away with the slope measurement and adjustment altogether, which helps to make it legal for tournament play as well as more affordable for everyday golfers.
Automatic Shut Off Preserves Battery Life
So that you can get the most service life out of the CR2 battery that powers the Coolshot 20, the rangefinder automatically shuts off the power after it goes unused for eight seconds. An indicator light tells you when it is time to replace the battery to ensure the rangefinder will last for nine or 18 holes of golf. The widespread availability of CR2-type batteries and their very lightweight and compact design make them the perfect power source for the golf rangefinder.
Should You Buy One?
Whether you are a fan of Nikon cameras or just an avid golfer who wants to lower your score by getting accurate distance readings, the Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Golf Laser Rangefinder is a truly great buy. Its cost place the rangefinder about in the middle of the pack, which means it is affordable. Its performance elevates it to a well-deserved place among the best. The combination of affordability and exceptional build quality add up to a great golf rangefinder that any golfer would be happy to own.