Which golf rangefinder performs the best?

There is so much information out there: social media, forums, shopping sites and many more. It has become nearly impossible to make a decision on even the essential tools needed in every golfers bag. It can be frustrating. It’s time consuming, exhausting and confusing. Our mission is to provide you a #datacratic scientific measurement system and analysis empowering you with information you can trust.

Today we put 12 of the top laser rangefinders from the top manufacturers head-to-head to determine which one deserves the title of Golf’s Most Wanted Laser Rangefinder.

The Contestants

lasers-1

Features (Click To Enlarge)

Most Wanted Laser Features

How We Tested

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As always, Golf’s Most Wanted! testing at MyGolfSpy is #Datacratic. We don’t base our rankings on brand names and desirability, we base our scores on data. Each of the lasers tested had an equal chance to earn the title of Most Wanted, and the laser that does, has the numbers to back up its title.

To determine Golf’s Most Wanted! Laser Rangefinder, we scored the following four categories: Accuracy, Speed, Optics and Display

Test Parameters

Prior to measurement, our group of 12 testers was given as much time as they required to become familiar with the operation of each laser. Once comfortable, testers measured distances to three targets (flags, no reflectors). One was close (100 yards), one was moderately distant (150 yards) , and  one was distant (200 yards). Targets were measured from the closest to the farthest for each unit; measuring all three with the same laser before moving on to the next unit.

New batteries were installed into all rangefinders prior to the first round of testing. Lasers with optional slope features were set in “no slope” mode.

This year’s tester cohort included a wide variety of golfers. We had a range of ages from nineteen to seventy, both male and female golfers, current laser users, and people using a laser rangefinder for the first time.

Measuring accurate yardages is a critical feature of any rangefinder, laser or other. As such, accuracy accounted for 30% of a given laser’s total score. Testers were told to give the number that they would enable them to confidently select a club to cover that distance. As mentioned above, the testers targeted flags without reflectors at 100/150/200 yards. Prior to the first tester and after the last tester, distances to the test flags was measured with a control laser. Accuracy values were then calculated as per deviation from the control.

*A Note About Accuracy: All of the units tested are extremely accurate. Some do struggle with target acquisition, but once measured, the numbers are correct. All of the lasers are well within their published accuracy margins (typically plus or minus a yard at most), and those margins are so insignificant that club selection would not be impacted. As a result, the units were all scored at the maximum value for accuracy.

The use of a laser rangefinder, or any range-finding device, has the potential to slow down the pace of play. As such, the Most Wanted! Laser Rangefinder must be able to acquire the accurate yardage rapidly. This is very important to course usage and as such, speed to confident reading also equated to 30% of the overall score.

The unit with the fastest average measurement time for the twelve testers at the three distances was awarded the maximum score of 30, with the other units scoring proportionately less relative to the degree that they were slower.

The speed to a confident number also takes into account many other aspects of laser design. Button position, eyepiece shape, case ergonomics, and other factors all influence the speed of operation. A well-weighted and balanced laser rangefinder will allow the user to acquire a confident yardage quicker than one that is hard to hold steady in your hand due to a poorly balanced design. Speed is definitely affected by design. Remember, this year we have hands of all sizes and ages firing the lasers.

*A Note About Speed: This year’s laser cohort excels at target acquisition. The range of average speeds at the three distances measured ranged from 3.49 seconds  (Leupold GX-4i2) to 5.55 seconds (Nikon Coolshot 20). In just a matter of seconds, any of the test units can give you an accurate number.

Testers scored the Optics of each unit as well as the Display quality for each unit using a ten point scale, with ten being the best. Testers based their Optics score on factors like lens magnification and clarity of image. Display scoring was based upon the readouts shown during operation. Size of numerical readout, display contrast, and quality of targeting reticule all factored into the display score.

The Optics and Display combined represented the remaining 40% of the overall score, though display was weighted slightly higher at 25% vs. 15% for optics. We skewed the data this way knowing that a quality display is more important to a good measurement than perfect optics. In other words, and yardage you can’t read is more of a problem than a flag that’s not quite in focus.

Winner: Leupold GX-4i2

Leupold GX-4i2 badge

Testers were impressed with the speed and the bright display of the GX-4i2. The unique green tint of the optics that the GX-4i2 shares with its GX-3i2 counterpart was a bit of a shock at first, but most testers warmed to, and even came to appreciate the tint after using the laser.

What You’ll Like:

  • Bright display and extremely quick measuring capability.
  • Interchangeable face plates to convert between slope and non-slope configurations.
  • Programmable features to adjust yardage for temperature and altitude, and to make club recommendations.

Runner-Up: Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt

Bushnell Tour V3 badge

While both the Tour Z6 and the Tour V3 had identical speed and accuracy scores, our testers ranked the Tour V3 higher in both Optics and Display, thus providing the Tour V3 the slight edge in the overall score.

What You’ll Like:

  • Comfortable fit and smooth operation.
  • Frequent vibrational feedback letting the user know that the laser had locked on to the pin.
  • Excellent optics and at a competitive price.

The Rest of the Field

Bushnell Z6 Jolt

Bushnell Tour Z6

Feature You Want

  • Blazing speed, clear optics, and bright red display. [Buy Now]

Leupold GX-3i2

Leupold GX-3i2

Feature You Want

  • The same quick measuring ability and tinted optics as the GX-4i2, without any of the non-tournament legal features of the GX-4i2. [Buy Now]

Bushnell Tour X Jolt

Bushnell Tour X

Feature You Want

  • Interchangeable faceplates allow easy switching between slope and non-slope modes. Simple one-click switch changes between red and black displays to match light conditions. [Buy Now]

Callaway 300

Callaway 300

Feature You Want

  • A very fast and accurate laser with a unique tapered body design. [Buy Now]

Leupold PinCaddie 2

Leupold PinCaddie 2

Feature You Want

  • A significantly improved from the original PinCaddie. Performance and optics on par with the GX units for only $199.[Buy Now]

Leupold GX-1i2

Leupold GX-1i2

Feature You Want

  • Customizable reticle and clear optics in a entry-level device. [Buy Now]

Precision Pro Latitude

Precision Pro Latitude

Feature You Want

  • A small company laser that holds its own for speed and accuracy. [Buy Now]

GolfBuddy L5R

Golf Buddy L5R

Feature You Want

  • Compact and light unit featuring three different range measurement modes. [Buy Now]

Nikon Coolshot 40i

Nikon Coolshot 40i

Feature You Want

  • Outstanding Nikon optics, accurate slope adjustments, and very comfortable ergonomics. [Buy Now]

Nikon Coolshot 20

Nikon Coolshot 20

Feature You Want

  • The most compact unit we tested features crystal clear Nikon optics and 8-second continuous measurement. [Buy Now]


Most Wanted Laser Scoring

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