GPS buying adviceNovember, 2011
It goes without saying that rangefinders are incredibly valuable pieces of equipment, but should you buy a laser or a GPS? We help you decide...
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question, as both types of device have their advantages and disadvantages.
Lasers are ideal if you need to know the exact yardage to the pin, and also excel if you want to find the distance to a tree on a dogleg or a mound at the back of a green for example.
You can use one everywhere you go, and never have to worry about pre-loading courses.
On the downside, some, especially those with an unsteady hand, struggle to zap their targets reliably.
And when facing a blind shot or if you’ve sprayed one offline, you must walk to where you can spot the flag and attempt to work out the yardage by firing back to your ball and adding up the numbers.
A rangefinder of any kind will help improve the games of any golfer – and soon teach you how far you really hit each club in your bag! Lasers also give you no indication of the shape of a hole if you’ve never played it before. This is where GPS devices come in – they show you exactly what is ahead of you and give you numbers even if you’re 70 yards into the cabbage.
However, they can be fiddly to use (those who aren’t tech savvy may struggle) and are obviously useless in winter when on temporary greens.
They also require regular charging so are not ideal for those of us who are forgetful and disorganised.
GPS devices also fail to give you an exact distance to the pin, which for the many is the be-all and end-all.
They just give figures to the front, middle and back) so there is still an element of arithmetic and guesswork when using one.
That said, for many golfers, hitting a shot to within five yards of where they want is a decent
effort – so there is a lot of sense in taking the ‘middle green’ number and hitting your club for that yardage.
One thing beyond doubt is that a rangefinder of any kind will help improve the games of any golfer – and soon teach you how far you really hit each club in your bag!