There is a general belief that using a laser rangefinder is difficult because it needs to be held very steady. That’s not necessarily true, but it may take a little practice to get the hang of it. We think most golfers should be able to get pretty good at using a laser rangefinder within the first few rounds of trying it.
These 7 tips for using a laser rangefinder will have you successfully gauging accurate distances to the flag in no time… even if you have trouble holding your rangefinder steady.
Make sure you are using a rangefinder designed for golf. Laser rangefinders for hunting and other activities aren’t designed to pick up something like a golf flag. They can do it, but it’s usually more difficult.
- Watch videos on how to use your laser rangefinder. Go to YouTube and search for your rangefinder. Try to choose videos that have lots of “Views” or choose videos made by the manufacturer. It may take a few tries to find a decent video, but a good video can be more helpful than just about any other type of instructions. For example, take a look at this one about the Bushnell V2 laser rangefinder.
- After you’ve watched a video or two, read the instructions (even if none came in the box). You may have to go online to the manufacturer’s website to get them, but it should help clarify anything that wasn’t fully explained in the video. If there are pictures, study the information that it shows on the display. Then aim your laser at a big target 20 – 30 yards away and make sure you understand what you’re seeing in the display.
- Pinseeker, PinHunter and First Target Priority Mode, are the terms used by the three biggest manufacturers of golf rangefinders to describe a technology that “figures out” distance to the flag verses things behind it. These technologies are extremely helpful and make it possible for golfers who aren’t as steady with their hands to use a laser.
Try this technique to make the most of this technology… Aim your rangefinder at the ground first and give a quick press to the ranging button. This should bring up the reticle in the display. Now you can aim right at the target and push the button. This will reduce the chance of error, by eliminating the possibility of hitting hills or bunker that may be in front of your target.
- Practice on large targets that are within 50-100 yards. Go outside at your house or take your new laser to the driving range. Take aim at any large target, whether the house across the street, or Big Bertha practicing at the other end of the range. It shouldn’t take long at all before you get the hang of acquiring distances to big targets that are close. If you have trouble with this step, re-read the instructions. If you still have trouble, this would be a good time to return your rangefinder, however you might want to have someone else try it too, just in case you happen to have a defective rangefinder.
- Practice on pins that are close. If your driving range has flags on it, take your laser rangefinder to the range and practice shooting the flags. Start with the closest flags and don’t move on until you consistently get the right distance. Make sure you that you target the “flag” and not just the pin. The flag is much easier to hit. Most driving ranges with flags, will have some indication of how far it is to each flag, so that you can verify your distance.
- Don’t expect it to be super easy the first time you try it. For many users, it takes a little practice to get solid and consistent readings. During your first round, go ahead and determine yardages the way you always have, whether it’s from yardage markers on the course or from a GPS device. If you have time before or after your shot, pick up your rangefinder and give it a try.
- Even after you have mastered your laser rangefinder, it’s always a good idea to make sure the distance you get, matches with what you know about your location. If you’re 5 yards in front of the 150 marker and you get a reading of 98 yards, you might want to laser the target one more time.
If you’re asking, “Why bother?”… Well, there are several advantages to using laser, not the least of which is that it’s more accurate than GPS. They also don’t have to be regularly charged, so you can leave it in your bag all the time. Laser rangefinders work on every golf course anywhere in the world and provide distance to any target you can see.