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How To Use A Rangefinder

A golf monocular rangefinder (or a golf scope) is a device that allows golfers to determine the distance to their next target.

Once you’ve acquired a rangefinder you’ll no longer have to rely on guessing how far away you are from your target, or using the bare minimum distance markers on the course, which tend to only mark 100 yards, 150 yards, and 200 yards from the next hole.

But it won’t be much use if you don’t know how to use it.

The following article will break down all you’ll need to know in order to make the most out of your golf monocular rangefinder, of which there are more than one type.

We’ll also be answering some of the most frequently asked questions regarding golf rangefinders.


How Do You Use A Golf Rangefinder?

Before we break down each specific type of rangefinder on the market, let’s look at how to use the majority of rangefinders. They tend to be very easy to use.

All you’ll need to do to use a rangefinder is turn the device on, locate your target on the ground, aim the device at said target, activate your rangefinder, and then get your yardage (or the distance between yourself and the target).

Some rangefinders will also have a slope setting, which will allow you to calculate the elevation between yourself and the target.

You’ll need to be breathing steadily in order to accurately pinpoint your target on the rangefinder, but you’ll probably be used to this if you’re a golfer.

Try to relax as much as you can, holding your rangefinder in one hand and resting your elbow against your chest.

You’ll know that the rangefinder is ready to use when the eyepiece is lifted to eye level. That’s when you should be aiming at your target and pressing the button to lock on.


The Most Common Types Of Golf Rangefinders

Now let’s look at the three most common types of golf rangefinders, which include the laser rangefinder, the GPS rangefinder, and the optical rangefinder.

Laser Rangefinder
Example of a Laser Rangefinder

Laser Rangefinder

These are the most popular, and often the most accurate, types of rangefinders. They use laser beam technology in order to calculate the distance between yourself and the target.

Essentially, the laser beam zooms in on your target and measures the time the beam takes to bounce back off your target.

The more reflective the surface, the more accurate the target acquisition will be, and thus the more accurate the reading.

Some golf courses even attach reflective pieces to flag sticks in order to improve the accuracy of rangefinder readings.

One thing to be aware of, though, is that ambient temperature can interfere with the rangefinder’s diode, which will lead to less accurate results.

You should wait roughly 40 minutes after the sensor has powered on, or until it has reached a stable temperature, before using the rangefinder.

Using a laser rangefinder can be tricky if you’re not used to the device, but eventually it’ll be second nature.

GPS Rangefinder

These rangefinders use pin seeking technology, which requires the device to have a map of the golf course that you’ll need to have loaded onto it prior to the game.

A lot of GPS rangefinders have as many as 41,000 different golf courses pre-loaded, and this can be updated to reflect changes that might be made to said golf courses.

You’ll need access to the internet in order to update your pin locations.

The map of a golf course will also contain the coordinates of not just pin placements, but hazards too.

Both of these factors allow the rangefinder to calculate the distance from yourself to your target as accurately as possible.

Optical Rangefinder

The final most common type of rangefinder is the optical rangefinder- although it’s probably the least popular of the three on this list.

Still, it tends to be reasonably accurate. With optical rangefinders, all you have to do is look through the sight of the device, adjust your focus until the target is clear, and then the device will use the height of the pin in order to convert it into the distance from said pin.

When Should I Be Using A Golf Rangefinder

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Golf Rangefinders

When Should I Be Using A Golf Rangefinder?

If you own a rangefinder, you should be using it before every stroke where you’re in any doubt about how far you are from the target.
You should also be using a rangefinder when you’re wary of obstacles, because if you hit any obstacles you’ll need to give a penalty for this.

Some of the more advanced golf rangefinders even recommend which club you should be using in order to cover the distance to your target.

It should be noted, though, that this feature is not allowed in certain tournaments, so make sure you’re aware of the relevant rules if you’re participating in a tournament.

Can A Golf Rangefinder Be Used In Other Sports?

Yes, you can indeed use a golf rangefinder for other sports, so long as the rules allow it. There are a number of activities you can use the device for, including archery, hunting, beach combing, and bird watching. Bear in mind though that when it comes to laser rangefinders, results will be less accurate if there’s no reflective surfaces.

Conclusion: How To Use A Golf Rangefinder

Rangefinders can not only make the game of golf easier, but also more enjoyable. It’s important not to be completely reliant on it, though.

An experienced golfer won’t need to rely on a rangefinder to play a good game of golf- evidenced by the fact that a lot of competitions don’t even allow the use of rangefinders, or at least limit their use.

If you always use your rangefinder and then one day you forget it or it runs out of battery, you shouldn’t be completely at a loss.

Honing your distance control organically will take lots of practice, and this should not take a back seat to the rangefinder.

By Andrew Barrett

Hi, my name is Andrew Barrett, and I have been a keen golfer for the last 15 years. As a teenager, I used to attend my local golf club and resort with my father, and I quickly realized that it was the perfect sport for me. From here, I decided to take the sport more seriously, and have been playing regularly with family and friends since.

Over the years, I have picked up many useful skills and tips about golf. I have decided to set up my site, Golf Link, as a way to share my knowledge and tips with other keen golfers. Through this site, I will be talking you through general golfing knowledge, and I will also be reviewing golf clubs and equipment too.