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greenail

GPS vs Laser Range finder

210 posts in this topic

Which is better? Being able to see realtime distance on a hazard which is blind, or where a good place to layup would be and how far out it is, but some seem to prefer dead on accuracy (my swing ain't good enough for that) of a range finder. i also don't like the idea of lugging around another piece of gear.

Thoughts?
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greenail,

Since you brought it up this time, in my book, a range finder is a much more useful piece of equipment than any GPS unit.

1. There are not maps to download. Just keep it in your golf bag and pull it out when needed.
2. There are no yearly fees or maps to buy. The only maintenence needed is a new set of batteries every year.
3. You select the yardages you want hazards, bunkers, trees, doglegs can all be measured.
4. Distances are exact, no approximate middle, front, and back.
5. You can use it to get yardages at the driving range, improving your knowledge of your own game. This is possible with GPS but practically impossible unless you tresspass at night or risk getting hit by golfers during the day.
6. You don't have to wait for the company to map your course and make it available for your GPS unit. Any course will work as long as it has flags.

Give one a try, I think yo'll be very surprised. Modern rangefinders aren't much bigger than GPS units.
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Gas_Can is right. I use the Bushnell 1500 Pinseeker (w/out slope) and it is awesome. The driving range aspect is my favorite, as mentioned in point #5 of gas_can's post.

Sure, it is another piece of equipment to "lug around", but worth the extra 10 ounces.

In addition, I use a Mac and Skycaddie does not support Mac at this time, so I opted for the Bushnell.
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greenail,

I agree that the minimal maintainance is nice.

3. You select the yardages you want hazards, bunkers, trees, doglegs can all be measured.

You can't tell how far your next shot for a layup would be, but you can with a good GPS software package. To see around a dogleg you'd need to do a lot more walking.

4. Distances are exact, no approximate middle, front, and back.

Modern GPS software (not skycaddie)can in fact track all your club distances on the course which is more valuable in my mind, it generates a lot of stats which I think there have been other threads about how valuable the stats can be.

6. You don't have to wait for the company to map your course and make it available for your GPS unit. Any course will work as long as it has flags.

you can map your course with most GPS software.

Give one a try, I think yo'll be very surprised. Modern rangefinders aren't much bigger than GPS units.

I'd love to give one a try, perhaps Erik can send me a set and I can do a bakeoff review when I get my GPS setup.

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I agree that the minimal maintainance is nice.

Good

You can't tell how far your next shot for a layup would be, but you can with a good GPS software package. To see around a dogleg you'd need to do a lot more walking.

Yes, you can. A tree, bush, yardage marker, bunker lip, blade of grass, all can be measured with a range finder. If it reflects light you can measure it.

How many blind shots do you play? If every shot you're making is blind, then by all means, use GPS, but as I've said before, if you can see it, you can shoot it.
Modern GPS software (not skycaddie)can in fact track all your club distances on the course which is more valuable in my mind, it generates a lot of stats which I think there have been other threads about how valuable the stats can be.

You've got me there, I'll stick with pencil, paper, and golfq.com's software when I enter my round for handicapping.

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I can weigh in on this. I received the SkyCaddie for a Christmas gift, and I was pretty excited about it. My excitement was muted when I got to my home course and found that the yardages were off by as much as 15 yds (as compared to a friends Bushnell Pinseeker 1500 and the on-course yardages). The reason apparently has to do with crappy signal strength in the area. On other courses I've played, the yardages have been pretty good (though not always), but with my SkyCaddie useless at my club it's mostly just been taking up space on the shelf in my bedroom.

I agree with the other posts that the rangefinder is way more versatile, and better for use in practice. The only time the rangefinder sucks is for blind shots or when you are deep in the gunch, but then again you probably shouldn't be trying to hit the green from there anyway...

I definitely need to get me a Pinseeker and stop mooching off my friend...anybody looking for a SkyCaddie?!?
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I definitely need to get me a Pinseeker and stop mooching off my friend...anybody looking for a SkyCaddie?!?

When you get to 25 posts you can post it for sale in the Marketplace.

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I was under the impression that the use of GPS or range-finders during a round was against the rules of golf?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Not illegal anymore... as long as it does not adjust for wind/elevation, etc, then it may be used for handicap rounds. For tournaments, check with tournament officials before using, but most will allow.

The Bushnell 1500 pinseeker pro "Tournament Edition" may be used, the "Slope Edition" may not be used for "handicap" rounds.


The rules may differ in New Zealand, but the USGA allows approved rangefinders, now.
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Not illegal anymore... as long as it does not adjust for wind/elevation, etc, then it may be used for handicap rounds. For tournaments, check with tournament officials before using, but most will allow.

I didn't know that - will have to check here, and if that's the case I'll definately be getting myself a rangefinder.

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I was under the impression that the use of GPS or range-finders during a round was against the rules of golf?

More info

here .
The Bushnell 1500 pinseeker pro "Tournament Edition" may be used, the "Slope Edition" may not be used for "handicap" rounds.

Not true. The 1500 (without slope) may be used

if okayed by the tournament committee (via a local rule). The "slope edition" may be used for handicap rounds, but never, ever in tournament play. Basically, in handicap play, you can use all sorts of funky equipment you can't use in a "tournament." Before range finders were made (optionally) legal, you could use them in handicap rounds too.
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Is this the same for the R&A; as well as the USGA?
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More info

Erik... I got this off of PGATOUR.com and ihave read similar on USGA site... maybe I am missing something:

The USGA decision was widely praised, to the relief of many amateurs and local pros seeking a faster and more accurate distance-measuring technique than trying to locate a hard-to-find plate in the ground or making a rough judgment based on a distance stake at the side of the fairway -- not to mention trying to figure yardage to the front of or to clear a hazard. But, as players flocked to test and purchase the electronic devices, golf’s governing bodies issued a clarification. Not all rangefinders are OK. In a clarification announced early last month, it was stated that “under the Rules of Golf, golfers must not use distance-measuring devices for handicap purposes or in competition that are capable of gauging or measuring other conditions that might affect play, even if such a function is not used.” Such a function might entail measuring wind speed and direction, or the slope of terrain.
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It says pretty much the same on the R & A website http://www.randa.org/index.cfm?cfid=...measuredevices

Decision 14-3/0.5 in the 2006-2007 Decisions on the Rules of Golf enables a Committee to introduce a Local Rule permitting golfers to use a distance measuring device to obtain distance information during a round. Without such a Local Rule, the use of such a distance measuring device is a breach of Rule 14-3, the penalty for which is disqualification.

The R&A; is not advocating the introduction of a Local Rule permitting the use of distance measuring devices and is not introducing such a Local Rule for any of its own amateur championships or matches, or The Open Championship. It is for each individual Committee to decide whether it wants to allow the use of distance measuring devices for play on its course or in certain of its competitions. In the absence of a Local Rule, the use of such a device is contrary to the Rules of Golf. If the Committee wishes to introduce such a Local Rule, the following wording is recommended:

Distance-Measuring Devices:
[Specify as appropriate, e.g., In this competition, or For all play at this course, etc.], a player may obtain distance information by using a device that measures distance only. However, if, during a stipulated round, a player uses a distance measuring device that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect his play (e.g., gradient, wind-speed, temperature, etc.), the player is in breach of Rule 14-3, for which the penalty is disqualification, regardless of whether any such additional functions are actually used.


It should be noted that any Local Rule, regardless of the wording, must prohibit the use of a distance measuring device that is capable of gauging or measuring other conditions that might affect play, even if such a function is not used.

So basically unless your club's Competition Committee has introduced the local rule they can't be used.
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I can weigh in on this. I received the SkyCaddie for a Christmas gift, and I was pretty excited about it. My excitement was muted when I got to my home course and found that the yardages were off by as much as 15 yds (as compared to a friends Bushnell Pinseeker 1500 and the on-course yardages). The reason apparently has to do with crappy signal strength in the area. On other courses I've played, the yardages have been pretty good (though not always), but with my SkyCaddie useless at my club it's mostly just been taking up space on the shelf in my bedroom.

From the research I've done there are some big differences between the various GPS chipsets which leads to big accuracy and performance differences. I've played with someone who had a skycaddie but I think the device is pretty dumb because it just gives you pin distance (i think you can buy a more expensive map for your course that has more stuff on it), you can't pick a target out on a touch screen map and get a distance. I couldn't find what chip the Skycaddie uses. Here is an interesting article on accuracy.

http://www.gpspassion.com/fr/articles.asp?id=185&page;=7 I would imagine that a course in florida would have a much more accurate reading than say a course in PA/NJ heavy woods. Newer chipsets don't seem to have as much of a problem with foilage however, and since most times you are not in a rockey canyon you are good. I'd be interested to know if your home course that has the accuracy issues is any where near a military base.
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I used to play with the skycaddie for Palm GPS thingy and I found it very helpfull, never near as accurate as range finder though. You're right - it's only as good as the map for it - and this was a reason why I'm not using it anymore - it's hard to get maps for it...
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I have both. i will share thoughts..

GPS Advantages:
1. ALOT more accurate than laser finders as the distance increases. (harder to focus in on the target with the range finders.

Range finder Ad:
1. Cheaper
2. Easier to use
3. Convenient (pull out, shoot and know instantly distances all around you)

They are both pretty much as accurate, within +-1-3yds.

My conclusion. The range finder is alot more versatile than the GPS unit. Its also fun to hit cars with it as they go by. Those with radar detectors hit their brakes pretty damn hard thinking there is a cop nearby!
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GPS Advantages:

I disagree. I can lock onto a flag from 250, and from any further, I'm only ever pointing at larger things (trees, lips of bunkers, etc.). And the yardage is accurate... not +/- 3 yards like with GPS.

They are both pretty much as accurate, within +-1-3yds.

+/- 1 yard is a lot better than +/- 3 yards. Imagine a 100-yard shot. Wouldn't know rather know it's 100 and not 103? That's 9 feet more putt you're gonna have to make.

Also, since GPS can't give you the yardage to the pin itself, you're introducing guesswork into the equation as well. So that +/- 3 yards gets even bigger.
My conclusion. The range finder is alot more versatile than the GPS unit. Its also fun to hit cars with it as they go by. Those with radar detectors hit their brakes pretty damn hard thinking there is a cop nearby!

I hadn't thought of trying that. Hmmm. They'd have to have the laser detecting kind though...

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