The best golf rangefinder for 2020
Golf watches and handheld GPS units are great, but nothing beats a golf rangefinder for sheer accuracy of yardage to the flag. Here’s our pick of the best golf rangefinders for 2020.
Bushnell Pro XE – £449
Golf rangefinders don’t come much better than the Bushnell Pro XE. It can shoot the flag at distances of over 500 yards and provide a yardage accurate to within one yard. It also offers 7x magnification, the best of any golf rangefinder on the market, making it even easier to focus on the flag. A red ring around the target flashes while the rangefinder unit vibrates slightly to let you know that you have locked on to the flag.
The Bushnell Pro XE comes with a magnetic mount that allows you to stick the rangefinder to the frame of a golf buggy or your trolley (assuming it's made of metal, of course).
But perhaps the cleverest part is the Bushnell Pro XE’s ‘slope with elements’ feature, which means it will take into account not just how uphill or downhill your shot is, but also the air temperature and pressure. A change in elevation may mean your shot is playing 10-20 yards longer or shorter than the actual yardage, so it’s vital information and enough to get Bryson DeChambeau excited.
You can’t use slope modes in competition, but they can easily be switched off to turn the Bushnell Pro XE into a normal rangefinder for competitive play. Use the 'slope with elements' mode enough in practice and you’ll start to get used to how the slope and weather conditions affect distances, which will help you hit the right yardage more often even when you're not using it.
The Bushnell Pro XE is also fully waterproof and comes with a two-year warranty.
Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized – £499
If you’ve ever struggled with locking on to your target while using a golf laser, the Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized could well be the best rangefinder for you. The vibration reduction system reduces image vibration in the viewfinder (caused by hand movement) by around 80%.
There’s also no danger of accidentally getting a yardage for something directly behind your intended target, as the Nikon Coolshot Pro will always display the distance to the closest target. Once the target is identified, the locked-on sign will turn green, so you know you’ve got the right target.
All of this happens in double-quick time thanks to Nikon’s ‘hyper read’ system, meaning it takes just 0.3 seconds to get your yardage.
Slope-adjusted distances tell you how long an uphill or downhill shot will actually play, helping you adjust your club selection accordingly. This feature can be turned off to make the rangefinder legal for use in competition, with the clever addition of a green LED on the front that flashes so others know the slope function is not in use.
Easygreen 1300 – £179
The Easygreen 1300 may not have some of the advanced features present in more expensive rangefinders, but for the price, it’s a very solid option.
It’s simple to use and features slope technology, which can be turned off for competition play.
The Easygreen 1300 offers 6x magnification, which rivals most of the leading brands and makes it easy to lock on to the flag. The unit will vibrate to let you know it’s locked-on. The maximum yardage is 400 to a flag, which isn’t as long as some, but should be plenty far enough for even the biggest of hitters.
Be aware that unlike some of the higher-priced rangefinders, the Easygreen 1300 is only splash proof, not fully waterproof, but unless you’re planning to use it in the bath, you should be fine. It comes with a carry case and clip to attach to your golf bag, which will help keep the rangefinder safe and dry.
Precision Pro Golf NX9 HD Slope – £250
The Precision Pro NX9 HD Slope rangefinder’s 7x magnification and wide LCD make it easy to locate the flag, and a pulse vibration will help you be certain you’re locked on to the right target.
The NX9 HD Slope also offers slope-adjusted distances, and has a magnetic grip for easy attachment to golf buggies.
One of the best things about Precision Pro Golf is their free lifetime battery replacement service. Plus, if you decide to upgrade to a newer model at a later date, Precision Pro Golf will give you a 30% discount for trading in your old one. Precision Pro Golf are clearly trying to attract golfers using lower price points before turning them into lifelong customers through top-notch customer service and rewards for brand loyalty. It's an admirable approach.
GolfBuddy aim L10V with voice & slope – £269.99
The Golfbuddy aim L10V with voice & slope is the world’s first talking rangefinder. It works like a normal rangefinder, displaying the yardage on the LCD screen, but for added convenience there’s a voice button on the side which, when pressed, will make the unit read out the measured yardage. It’s not just a gimmick, many older golfers are put off rangefinders because they find it hard to read the measured distances, meaning the Golfbuddy voice function could make all the difference.
Besides the voice function, the Golfbuddy aim L10V offers 6x magnification, vibration to confirm target lock-on, plus slope settings that can be turned off for competition rounds.
It's also available without the voice function, if you prefer your rangefinder to keep shtum.
Garmin Approach Z80 – £579.99
The Garmin Approach Z80 is the most expensive rangefinder in our list, but it does have unique features to justify the higher price. The viewfinder displays a 2D, full colour course map, with yardages to the front, middle and back of the green, making the Garmin Approach Z80 like a rangefinder and GPS all in one. It can even give you a yardage suggestion for your tee shots, which is a neat feature.
The Garmin Approach Z80 is a great option for anyone who can’t decide between a golf rangefinder and a GPS, as it gives you the best of both worlds.
Volvik V1 – £179.99
The Volvik V1 is a very good rangefinder at a competitive price point. It’s easy to use, gives accurate distances, and includes a slope function to give you both the actual yardage and the ‘plays like’ yardage on the screen at the same time. It’s available in a range of bright colours. It’s perhaps not quite as fast as some of the most premium laser rangefinders, but it’s certainly not slow, and it offers great value for money.
One slightly disappointing omission is the fact there’s no way for others to tell whether the slope mode is disengaged during competition, which most other golf rangefinders now include to ensure you don’t receive any suspicious glances.