Jump to content
IGNORED

Laser Rangefinder Expectations


Note: This thread is 1098 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Recommended Posts

  • Administrator
I just think it may not be able to keep up with the Bushnell in terms of pin-finding technology (of course purely a guess at this point), or I just need to get more practice at it.

it's B. It's not A. They're basically using the same technology, and that "technology" can be summed up as this: of all the pulses you get back, take the shortest one.

That's it. I do think some of the Bushnells might have a wider beam than the Leupold - maybe. I seem to require less visibility and can shoot through narrower holes with the Leupold than I could with the Bushnell. But yeah, I've still never had a problem with either. You guys are making me feel like I'm a rock. Maybe my photography hobby's paid off - maybe I am that much steadier than some people.
There's a big difference between 67 yards and 77 yards, when I'm hitting a sand wedge, but they might look about the same when you're standing there.

Biggest difference for me, too, is knowing exactly what the carry yardages are. 77 to the flag is one thing, but is it 67 or 62 to carry that big bunker in front?

Also, holes without trees can really throw off your eye, so once you get a good number just trust the yardage. It helps to provide a good level of consistency where the designer will try to trick you.
If I had a GPS unit that worked and was as accurate as a rangefinder, I'd definitely prefer that, since you don't have any line-of-sight issues.

GPS will not be as accurate as laser. GPS is +/- 6 yards or so at best (3 each when measuring both times and sometimes +/- 10 yards - 5 each). And even more if you can't guess exactly where the pin is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Replies 72
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I agree with @iacas.  I have a slope-enabled Bushnell that I don't use any more.  I did use it at times, and I wasn't overly impressed with the "play like" distance, it wasn't any different than I'd h

You quoted me from 2010. The USGA now allow rangefinders that have slope so long as you turn it off. Before, it used to be that it wasn't even possible. The original Leupold completed a circuit t

GPS will not be as accurate as laser. GPS is +/- 6 yards or so at best (3 each when measuring both times and sometimes +/- 10 yards - 5 each). And even more if you can't guess exactly where the pin is.

You need to do some research and the problem is there are a lot of very old articles out there on the internet that do not address all of the advances that have taken place in regard to GPS and the use of DGPS and WAAS that brings the accuracy level much tighter. The top of the line receivers used by SkyGolf and Golf Guru are really quite sohisticated.

GPS technology can actually get as accurate as a laser (survey grade can get within a few cms) but the cost is currently prohibitive for use in consumer devices, but that will change over time. Who thought just a few years ago that a home computer would be utilizng quad core microprocessors. That is a lot of computing power! The golf GPS devices in use today are not as accurate as a laser but are more than adequate for your typical golfer. I can use the SmartGreen feature on a Golf Guru or the Intelligreen on a SkyCaddie and be within two yards of my buddy's laser reading every time and that is with the limitations of that technology in regard to just how precise you can position the pin indicator.
Link to post
Share on other sites

The golf GPS devices in use today are not as accurate as a laser but are more than adequate for your typical golfer.

This can only be consistently accomplished if:

a) The GPS is reading the optimum number of satellites b) The course was accurately mapped in the first place c) You can see the location of the hole on the green The larger the green, the less accurate the GPS is in comparison to the laser for flagstick measurements. I've done one on one comparisons and even with a daily pin sheet that lists the approximate location, the GPS was off by as much as 6 yards, due primarily to the size of the green and the potential for error with estimating the hole location on the GPS. With a GPS that doesn't have the Intelligreen or similar feature, the error was at times more than 10 yards. I have yet to see a pro (I play with a few club pros now and then), or a professional caddie using anything but a laser. I carry both and use one or the other depending on the information I feel that I need for the shot.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Administrator
You need to do some research and the problem is there are a lot of very old articles out there on the internet that do not address all of the advances that have taken place in regard to GPS and the use of DGPS and WAAS that brings the accuracy level much tighter. The top of the line receivers used by SkyGolf and Golf Guru are really quite sohisticated.

And yet two SkyCaddie SG5s, side by side, can be off by five or six yards relative to each other. I'm aware of the changes and improvements in GPS. We're not down to "centimeter precision" yet.

I wasn't talking about or predicting the future. Learned a long time ago not to do much in that area.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

My dad's SG2 was every bit as accurate as a laser, but it only lasted 2 years, and cost $250 plus 3 $30 memberships. So it was $340 all in all, and only lasted about 26 months, which means it's over $100/year. A $300 laser should last long enough to cost much less per year than my experience with the GPS.

Anyway, I will play a couple more rounds this week and try to update you guys on whether I just need to be more stable or if I end up trying out a Bushnell. Thanks for all the help.
Link to post
Share on other sites

This can only be consistently accomplished if:

I guess I have been lucky these last many years that I have used GPS devices, picking up the optimum number of satellites under this big Texas sky, on accurately mapped courses with easy to see pin locations or detailed pin sheets.

If you are seeing that much error then I would attribute it to either an inferior device, a broken device or user error. I can see pros using lasers, but they have the game for it and make their living at it. Even then, look at the proximity stats for the PGA Tour. With exact distances they still can't consistently "knock the pins down" as there are too many other variables. They also use shafts and equipment (blades) that are not best suited for typical amateur golfers either. One thing I notice with those around me who use lasers is that they become "flag bound" and tend to be poorer at managing their game given that they can't get a lot of distances that a GPS shows at a glance. Most golfers I know would be far better off forgetting about the pin and playing to the center of the greens if they really want to improve their scores. Even on the biggest of greens you will rarely be that far away from any pin if you are in the center of the green. I have a laser and used it extensively in the past, still will pull it out on occasion for a round, but I honestly think my scores have improved and my handicap has definitely gone down using a GPS because of the quick availability of more information, even if it is only within 2-3 yards in accuracy. If I am going to lay up or want to carry a hazard I will try to leave a lot more cushion than that anyway, and I much prefer to know what my target "zone" is for landing the shot to the green as opposed to the exact distance to the pin. But that is just the way I play. YMMV You also have to realize that I am good "eyeballing" distances and playing by feel as I grew up and learned this game when the only yardage indicators you had on the course were stakes or bushes 150 yards from the center of the greens. Therefore I am used to playing with estimated and highly inaccurate (by today's standards) yardages. It is good we have choices.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Costs between lasers and GPS devices are getting more comparable as many of these GPSs can be had without any annual fee. The new Garmin Approach G5 has no annual fee. I believe the Sonocaddie V300 has a one time fee of $30 or $50 depending on if you want courses just for the US or the world. uPro only has per course fees if you want their "pro mode" courses. Golf Guru has no annual fees but they have just introduced a new unit that is touch screen and has graphical depictions of the hole. Those courses also have a per course fee but the basic courses and information is more than adequate and still free.

I am not familiar with all of the companies out there but SkyGolf may be the only one left with a true annual fee anymore.
Link to post
Share on other sites

GPS will not be as accurate as laser. GPS is +/- 6 yards or so at best (3 each when measuring both times and sometimes +/- 10 yards - 5 each). And even more if you can't guess exactly where the pin is.

I checked a SkyCaddie SG1 when I was caddying vs. the reported yardages on sprinkler heads (which are very accurate at the course where I work...I checked them against a laser and a pin sheet). The GPS was within 3 yards every time. I was next to a 204 marker...GPS said 205. I've even checked it against the front and back yardages on the sprinkler heads...pretty much dead on. In my experience, the GPS are just fine in terms of accuracy. But, I really don't want to start that debate.

Just a question (and it's just out of curiousity): when you guys say you lase the top of a bunker to get the carry distance, isn't that going to be off most of the time? There's usually a bit of rough between the top of a bunker and the front edge of a green. I can think of a bunch of holes that this is the case anyway. And what about false fronts? But seriously, to the OP...try the LaserLink Gold. It's the most user friendly laser on the market. It's literally point and shoot and in my experience takes the least amount of time for a laser.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I really didn't mean for this to get into a GPS vs. laser argument. As for the person who suggested some other GPS brands: Bushnell, igolf, Golf Buddy, Garmin, Sonocaddie, etc. All of these have gotten mediocre, at best, reviews by most users. Most of them also do not have many of the local courses mapped. That was the big bonus with skycaddie: they had almost everything local mapped. The uPro didn't have as much mapped, but the flyover view thing is pretty cool, especially with the $100 rebate going on right now. Realistically, the GPS offers enough accuracy for the average golfer, and much more info than the laser. The laser offers the versatility of getting the distance to any item you can see, as long as you're stable enough to laser it. The laser can even work on driving ranges.

All that being said, I've dealt with some issues with both, and I'd take a working GPS over a laser, but reliability and durability are part of what you're paying for when you get the laser. I've had two GPS units in just over 2 years, and neither of them are working now. The laser has it's issues, but the reliability, versatility, accuracy and lack of down-the-road costs make them very attractive options.
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Administrator
Just a question (and it's just out of curiousity): when you guys say you lase the top of a bunker to get the carry distance, isn't that going to be off most of the time? There's usually a bit of rough between the top of a bunker and the front edge of a green.

If I told you it was 147 to carry the bunker and 161 to the pin, would you honestly try to carry the ball only 147?

I think everyone who measures bunker lips automatically adds a few yards. Sometimes that's written down or memorized (in the case of a home course), other times it's just acknowledged. And if it's off the tee, the difference between 234 and 240 isn't going to make or break the shot. If I carry the ball 265, I'm not going to try to fly a bunker that measures 264 because I think I have one extra yard in me...
But seriously, to the OP...try the LaserLink Gold. It's the most user friendly laser on the market. It's literally point and shoot and in my experience takes the least amount of time for a laser.

You need the flagsticks or the little prisms for that system to work though, right?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

One of the courses I play in my area has the little mirrors on the tip of the flagstick. It makes getting a measurement so much easier. I was able to instantly get readings on flagsticks 400+ yards. Could not believe it.
Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to do some research and the problem is there are a lot of very old articles out there on the internet that do not address all of the advances that have taken place in regard to GPS and the use of DGPS and WAAS that brings the accuracy level much tighter. The top of the line receivers used by SkyGolf and Golf Guru are really quite sohisticated.

My dad's SG2 was every bit as accurate as a laser,

KEY POINT: The accuracy of a civilian GPS device is not controlled by the quality/price/design or anything else to do with that receiver. The accuracy of a civilian based GPS device is controlled by the government. Bottom line: A civilian based GPS is not as accurate as a laser. Never has been and probably never will be.....
Accuracy of GPS
GPS was conceived in the 1970s, and is controlled by the United States Department of Defense. Although GPS was initially envisioned for military use, the Government realized early on that there would be numerous civilian applications as well. Subsequently, the Department of Defense (DOD) created two transmission codes; the P code (Precision code) for military use, and the C/A code (Civilian Access code) for civilian use. The highest accuracy levels were to be reserved for the military so as to prevent hostile enemy attacks against the U.S. using our own navigational system. However, once in operation, the civilian GPS receivers using the C/A code proved to be more accurate than the DOD had intended. Consequently, the military developed a system for randomly degrading the accuracy of the signals being transmitted to civilian GPS receivers. This intentional degradation in accuracy is called Selective Availability or S/A. This reduced the civilian GPS accuracy levels to being within 100 meters or less, 95% of the time. However, typical accuracy for most users averaged between 20 and 50 meters the majority of the time. You could easily see the effects of S/A on a GPS receiver when you were not moving. Typically, there would be random movements in speed, altitude and position readings, along with slow position "wandering" on the plotter trail. This was easily seen when you were on a .1 or .2 mile zoom range and not moving. For example, while parked at the dock in your boat, you would see unexplainable changes in your digital speed readings up to a few miles per hour, even though you were not moving. SOURCE Now that doesn't mean your GPS system is useless, just don't assume 100 is really 100 yards. For many people that's close enough.
One of the courses I play in my area has the little mirrors on the tip of the flagstick. It makes getting a measurement so much easier. I was able to instantly get readings on flagsticks 400+ yards. Could not believe it.

If you look carefully at those mirrors, they are probably labeled Laserlink. On the few courses around here that have them, flags can be measured instantly with any laser. I wish they were standard issue at all golf courses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that doesn't mean your GPS system is useless, just don't assume 100 is really 100 yards. For many people that's close enough.

Selective Availability was turned off by the military after a presidential order from Bill Clinton. That decision made civilian GPS go from 100M accuracy to 3-5M. This change also gave rise to the spot of Geocaching.

The WAAS Wide area augmentation system makes the accuracy come even closer all the way down to around 3M. survey grade units even take advantage of ground based augmentation and can achieve sub 3-meter accuracy. The biggest problem a golf GPS will face is that the Aerial photography grids are sometimes off their reference points by a little bit. Add in the inaccuracy of the person digitizing points off that map, plus the +/- 3-5 meters of the GPS itself. Then add in the changing pin positions and you've got yourself some issues. Now mind you, for the majority of golfers, the error in their club distances is greater than the error of the GPS reading. That is certainly the case for me. As such, GPS is good enough for most.
Link to post
Share on other sites

"The accuracy of a civilian based GPS device is controlled by the government."

Like I said in an earlier post, there is a lot of old, inaccurate and misleading information out on the internet. As Lordhamster pointed out, SA was turned off back in 2000, I think it was.

Although 2-3m is typically what is quoted as the theoretical accuracy, the FAA conducts periodic tests of the WAAS system and observed accuracy will range from less than 1m to a little under 2m. That is with 95% certainty. That is still not quite as accurate as a laser and a laser will be accurate probably a little better than 95% of the time, the error being introduced by the operator who sights on the wrong target. :)

Both technologies have their place. People into "flag hunting" and who can consistently hit their irons fairly specific yardages are probably best aided by a laser. For those who aren't quite as skilled or who play more by "course management" may be better aided by a GPS.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Would those of you who use a range finder recommend them to a beginner who is starting to get consistent shot length?

I'm a beginner with both types of units. Currently I prefer the Laser.

I'd say with 90% certainty that if I can't laser the flag from a short walking distance of where I'm hitting, there is a very slim chance I'd be able to hit to it. If I want yardages to specific hazards I can get them. Also, I can use the laser on the driving range to see how far the flags actually are. In my area some courses are marked correctly, others are as much as 30 yards off. Either type of unit will do you a world of good IMO. Example, if your GPS tells you you are 130 yards out and you hit your 8 iron and consistently overshoot the green, then you know maybe you should hit a 9 for this distance.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Costs between lasers and GPS devices are getting more comparable as many of these GPSs can be had without any annual fee. The new Garmin Approach G5 has no annual fee. I believe the Sonocaddie V300 has a one time fee of $30 or $50 depending on if you want courses just for the US or the world. uPro only has per course fees if you want their "pro mode" courses. Golf Guru has no annual fees but they have just introduced a new unit that is touch screen and has graphical depictions of the hole. Those courses also have a per course fee but the basic courses and information is more than adequate and still free.

I use FreeCaddie on my phone. There is a free version for which you can map any course you want to play, if it isn't already (and a surprisingly large number already are because it's clearly a tool a lot of people use). It's totally free, and uses my phone hardware (Windows Mobile phone with built in gps - in my case a HTC Touch HD). Actually I paid for the pro version, which is under 30 dollars, and allows me to score and analyse my card without having to connect my phone up to a computer, along with some other features.

There is no subscription required, and you buy the software once only (or use the free version if you're only interested in gps). I have a take on gps vs laser, that is a personal opinion, and not intended to offend anyone. That is that unrealistic precision is misleading. Why do I say that? Well, even if a device may tell you that it is 147.57 to a flag (and they could...), there is no way you could absolutely guarantee to hit to that precision. Under identical known conditions a pro can group balls with a level of precision only dreamed of by you or I....but we're still talking about multiples of feet over 150 yards, even under ideal conditions....but add in some lie of the land, variations in wind, and how exposed a shot is....then add unknowns in terms of the condition of the landing area, and some little variations in spin.....then only allow yourself one shot at it......and I bet there are few people here who could ever guarantee to hit a ball within a ten foot circle around the hole (guarantee as in have to chop off a finger for every shot you miss - have ten goes. On average how many fingers would you come back with?). In fact even the pro's cant guarantee it. The closer you are, the more of the green you can see, the better you'll do - predominantly because the brain-eye-hand computer that your body naturally is, gets to work better. So does it really matter how precise the thing is. For pro's it's different. They hit balls a lot, and know for an optimum shot (which they are normally pretty close to) exactly (within a few feet) how far they hit a particular club, with a particular swing. It's not like that for me. I know I hit my seven iron about 150. Sometimes that turns out to be 160, sometimes 140, and there are a hole range of things that affect that. I get information from my gps seamlessly. I don't break stride, nobody is even aware that I'm using it in terms of my routine. I get all the information I need. I'm happy. Maybe it's because I'm a crap golfer.....but I'm pretty sure the most effective $300 I could spend on my game wouldn't be on more accurate distances.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Note: This thread is 1098 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...