Golf Tech Faceoff: GPS vs. Rangefinders

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It’s July, which means that those of you living under snow and ice for four months of the year have finally gotten out on the course enough to develop some consistency. The ball is flying off the tee, your approach shots are landing, and you’ve finally gotten some semblance of control on your irons. Now is the time to take your game to the next level, and there are two tech innovations that can help you do that. Rangefinders and GPS are devices used on the course to improve handicaps by getting accurate readings to the green. Which one is right for your game? Keep reading.


The same navigation technology that is used in cars is now being applied to handheld devices you can use out on the course. GPS devices have thousands of course maps loaded onto them, and they can pinpoint your exact location on the course. You can download the maps you want for the courses you play, and the minute you step out on the course your GPS knows exactly where you are. Many of the new models are loaded with extra features as well.

The iGolf NEO XS is preloaded with 33,000 courses, four hazard points per hole, and a shot distance calculator.


These futuristic gadgets can help you determine the distance from your location to the green using lasers. Simply hold the device up to your eye and get an accurate reading. There’s no need to download any maps; just take it out and point it at your target.

There are a number of drawbacks with rangefinders that makes them problematic for some people, though. They require steady hands to get an accurate reading. Plus, you won’t always have a line of sight, in which case these devices aren’t useful. It also can be challenging to get a reading on foggy days.

If all you need is a device that can tell you your distance to the pin as quickly as possible then these products can be very useful. The Bushnell 2014 Tour V3 Patriot Pack Rangefinder comes with five-times magnification, a range from 5-1,000 yards, and is legal to use in tournament play.