A good golf rangefinder is like having your own caddy on the course: it will help you to calculate the precise distance to each flag or hazard and will fit comfortably in the palm of your hand (or on your wrist).
A really good rangefinder can knock shots off your score, giving you confidence in your distance control and allowing you to attack pins.
Typically, they come in GPS and laser versions. Laser models are more commonplace – you point and shoot at the flag or obstacle, and the rangefinder gives you a distance.
GPS golf rangefinders give you a visual representation of the course on your watch, including distance, although smartphone apps like Golf Pad can replicate some of the features at a fraction of the cost.
These products are available at a variety of price points, with the cheapest models coming in at around the £100 mark, while you can easily find others that are more than £500. While you do get enhanced features on the more expensive models, there are plenty of value-for-money versions that do the job well.
How we tested
We’ve taken these products on various golf courses across the UK over the past couple of months. As well as using them ourselves, we’ve been getting feedback on their pros and cons from various golfing partners. Note: check before buying which rangefinders (or settings) are legal for tournament play.
The best golf rangefinders for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Easygreen OLED rangefinder: £249.99, Mailordergolf.com
- Best for the golfer that has it all – Bushnell tour V5 shift slim edition: £359, Golfonline.co.uk
- Best features – Motocaddy pro 3000 rangefinder: £249, Americangolf.co.uk
- Best value for money – Golfbuddy GB laser lite rangefinder: £129.99, Golfbuddy.co.uk
- Best GPS watch – Shot Scope V3 GPS watch: £179.99, Shotscope.com
- Best budget buy – Ben Sayers LX laser rangefinder: £99, Golfonline.co.uk
- Best for standout looks – Volvik V1 rangefinder: £179, Thegolfshoponline.co.uk
- Best Splurge – Garmin approach Z82: £579.99, Clubhousegolf.co.uk
Easygreen OLED rangefinder
Superbly lightweight, this rangefinder really impresses with its visibility: we were golfing in the rain with it more than once, and pin seeking was still very possible. The slope function is intuitive and easy to use, and the red-and-green OLED display offers best-in-class clarity, especially in the UK, where a lack of sunlight can be a problem. It’s also very reasonably priced against the other top-of-the-range options.
Bushnell tour V5 shift slim edition
Best: For the golfer that has it all
Bushnell is a leader in the field when it comes to rangefinders, and this slimmed-down ergonomic laser fits comfortably in our palm. We were particularly impressed with the quality feel and ease of turning the slope on and off. It vibrates when you land on the flag thanks to the “visual jolt” technology, which is a nice touch. Our one quibble? The performance in the rain was a bit disappointing considering the price point.
Motocaddy pro 3000 rangefinder
With 7x magnification, an easy-to-read display and a compact fit in our palm (thanks to comfortable rubberised grips), Motocaddy’s pro 3000 rangefinder was one of our favourites to use. It also has an impressive range of more than 1,000 yards – realistically, well within the longest shots – and vibrates whenever you lock onto the pin. Golf obsessives will love how the case has a special attachment so this rangefinder can clip onto the widely popular, high-end Motocaddy electric trolley. The case also has two zips – a small convenience, but one we appreciated.
Golfbuddy GB laser lite rangefinder
Best: Value for money
Easy to use and great quality for the price, Golfbuddy’s latest laser model has a range of 880 yards and is accurate down to one yard. Compact, lightweight and suitable for use in the wet thanks to an IPX4 splash-proof rating (essential considering most of our recent golf days out have left us soaked), it has three modes – normal, scan, and pin – to measure multiple targets and accurately track distance even with obstacles behind the pin. It’s really good value for money.
Shot Scope V3 GPS watch
Best: GPS watch
The Shot Scope V3 is a popular GPS watch that helps you to track distances across your round, like distance to the flag, green and hazards. You can use detection tags to register your shots, and upload stats after your round to help you analyse your play. It has tens of thousands of courses preloaded without any additional costs or subscriptions, an appealing colour screen, and it’s a convenient addition to the keen golfer’s accessories arsenal. Our tester enjoyed wearing and using this item, noting they especially enjoyed the representation of the hazards. The battery lasts for two rounds of golf. For those on a budget, it’s worth noting you can get some similar features from a smartphone app.
Ben Sayers LX laser rangefinder
Best: Budget buy
This one does the job if you’re looking for a budget rangefinder, and it’s available in 600m or 1,000m ranges. The LX1000 goes up to 330 yards and while using it, we managed to get an eagle followed by a birdie. However, we did notice inconsistencies on a couple of holes by a few yards.
Volvik V1 rangefinder
Best: For standout looks
This is another relative value-for-money buy that’s perfect for the golfer who likes a bit of colour on the course: the Volvik V1 comes in a bold selection of hues including red, mint, orange and the yellow one we tested, which elicited lots of comments from interested golfers on the course, and makes quite a change from the usual black or white rangefinders available. We found that it was reliable, solid, sturdy and accurate.
Garmin approach Z82
The Garmin approach Z82 is the perfect addition for the golfer that has everything. Bluetooth-enabled and synced with your phone, it provides a digital map view of the course (in colour) alongside the shot of the course when you use it. The enhanced view also provides yardages to key hazards such as bunkers. The rangefinder’s enhanced view is particularly useful when you play new courses with blind shots or obscured views, so proved outstanding when tested on a golf tour in Ireland. An expensive – but fantastic – piece of kit.
The verdict: Gold rangefinders
The Easygreen OLED rangefinder is our top pick: it’s accurate, easy to use and works well in inclement weather. Motocaddy’s pro 3000 rangefinder is another choice we’d wholeheartedly recommend as a solid rangefinder that performs well and looks good. If you’re looking to spend under £150, then Golfbuddy’s GB laser lite rangefinder is our pick.
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