What is a Golf Rangefinder? Types of Rangefinders For Golf

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By William

As it says by its name, it’s all about golf and golfers. A golf rangefinder is a tool that helps you find the distance to various objects on the golf course. Golfers widely use these to analyze their shots and determine whether they will hit their targets. Golf rangefinders are one of the integral parts of your golf journey for so many reasons.

For example, if you want to hit a ball into a tree but are unsure how far away it is, using a golf range finder can help you determine how far away the tree is from where you stand.

They are also helpful for measuring distances in other ways, such as determining how far away an object may be if it appears to be very small or large concerning your body size.

It works by using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate an object, which is then reflected off its surface and used to calculate its distance.

This article aims to give you a complete understanding of everything you need to know about Golf Rangefinder.


How Does A Golf rangefinder Work?

When you’re on the golf course, you can use a golf rangefinder to determine how far the flagstick is from your position.

Light pulses are measured by measuring the time it takes the device to reflect them. The amount of time required for the reflected beam to return gives you an accurate estimate of where that target lies concerning your location.

Golf rangefinders have so many features in it:

  • It measures the distance between yourself and your ball (to see if it’s close enough for an easy putt)
  • It calculates the distance between yourself and another player’s ball (to see if they will beat you into the bunker).
  • It analyses the distance off landmarks around each hole, so you know which club
  • would be best suited for hitting from there.


How to calculate distances off the tee and to hazards?


With the advancement in technology, especially for golfers, it’s essential to know how to calculate distances off the tee and to hazards. With a rangefinder, you can also find the distance required to hit a shot from a particular location.


Your distance and club selection is crucial on every hole. Understanding how to use your Rangefinder will help you determine distances accurately so you can make an informed decision on how to play each hole.


There is a question that creates a lot of ambiguity, which Rangefinder should a Golfer use to find the Gold? It would be beneficial to evaluate optical and GPS rangefinders for that purpose.


Types of Golf rangefinders


There are two major types which we will discuss here of golf rangefinders: laser and GPS (Global Positioning System). Laser rangefinders are more accurate, but they’re also much more expensive than GPS ones. ( We will discuss other Golf Rangefinders in the coming articles as well)

A good laser rangefinder can easily cost you $400+, while a decent GPS finder will only set you back around $100.

GPS models are easier to use and less expensive than their laser counterparts but don’t have the same level of precision.

When it comes time for putting or pitching off the green, a few yards won’t matter. Still, suppose you’re trying to hit a 200-yard drive with your driver and need perfect accuracy from tee to green.

In that case, we recommend using a Laser model instead of one whose accuracy relies on satellites orbiting overhead!


Laser Rangefinder or a GPS Rangefinder


  • Laser rangefinders are the simplest type, and they use a laser to determine the distance to the target. The user points it at the target and looks through an optical lens with crosshairs. A laser beam bounces off a reflective point on the object (such as its flagstick) and returns to your device, generally indicating how far away it is. This method works best in sunlight because there’s enough light for reflection, but it also requires good conditions like rain or fog.
  • GPS-enabled devices come with a built-in GPS receiver that uses satellite signals from multiple satellites orbiting Earth above you to calculate your exact location on Earth’s surface by triangulation (using trilateration). With the help of Using a satellite signal, these devices determine how far away something is based entirely on its position relative to where you are standing.
  • In most cases, a GPS Rangefinder device can accurately measure the distance over long distances within half an inch. However, this can vary based on atmospheric conditions like humidity or precipitation.


Laser Golf Rangefinder with a Laser Beam

Laser beams and reflectors are used in Laser Golf rangefinders to measure distances. The laser beam is sent out, and once it reaches the object, it is reflected in your device.

The device calculates the distance based on how long it takes for this ray of light to return. Most rangefinders are handheld devices with LCD screens that display readings in feet or meters (or both).

Golfers commonly measure distances from tee boxes, greenside bunkers, fairway hazards, and flagsticks from anywhere on the course, even behind trees!


Is GPS Rangefinder Supreme?

A GPS rangefinder does not require a reflector to measure distances but relies on satellite data.

It makes the device more accurate and reliable since it doesn’t rely on an object as a reference point.

However, these rangefinders are also more expensive than laser ones and can be less effective in rugged terrains, such as dense forests or foggy weather.

Legal Issues

The legality of using these devices can vary from club to club, so always check the rules before using one.

If you’re unsure, ask the club professional, or don’t use one. You could be asked to leave if you violate the rules.


 Golfers May Also use an App.

Many golfers may also use an app on their smartphone as a substitute for a traditional rangefinder.

Even though these apps may be helpful in some cases, they are not as accurate as a traditional rangefinder.

As such, you should only use them as a backup if your primary Rangefinder breaks during play or if you like practicing with your phone at the driving range.



Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there are always ways to get better at golf. If you’ve ever wondered how far it is to the green or how far you can hit the ball, then a rangefinder should be one of your go-to golfing gadgets.

Even though they’ve existed for some time, they’ve only recently become more affordable for the average person.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this golf rangefinder article. If you are interested in learning more about how to use it or which ones are the best to buy, then look out for our next blog post, where we will share more information!



 Do I need a rangefinder?

Every golfer has the same problem. They struggle to get the proper distance in golf. If you are a beginner, it’s a must-have instrument.

Even though the Pro Golfer also has Rangefinders with them.


How to Measure Distance on a Buggy in a Golf Course?

Measuring distance to the green requires a good golf rangefinder that is accurate and reliable. It will minimize your calculations and give an absolute expert level.

You need to know the distance between you and the pin and be confident whether you have enough room to clear any hazards on your way to the flag.


What does slope mean on Rangefinder?

The slope is the angle at which the target is positioned about your position. Knowing the slope is essential when using a rangefinder because it allows you to adjust the angle and make your shot more accurate.


Do Golfers Prefer Lower Slope or Higher Slope?

Golfers looking for a more straightforward hole will prefer a lower Slope (possibly more Fade). Meanwhile, golfers looking for a more challenging hole will favor a higher Slope (possibly more Draw).


How do laser rangefinders calculate slope?

Cosines of the angle, slope angle, distance to a target, and horizontal distance between target and laser rangefinder can be used to determine the slope angle.


How do you adjust the slope?

By changing the elevation, you can modify and adjust easily accordingly. It’s about using the device more often to get a better user experience.

It should be a smoother hit if you try to play the ball down.


Is a rangefinder worth it for golf?

Rangefinders are helpful to have in golf. They help you accurately gauge the distance of your shot, allowing you to play more confidently and better control your game.

A range finder is an excellent tool for golfers who want to improve their accuracy.