What is a Golf GPS and a Golf Rangefinder

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A golf GPS and a golf rangefinder are both designed to determine the distance from where the golf ball is hit to the hole being aimed at. The purpose is to help the golfer determine how hard to hit the ball and at what angle. However, there are some differences.

What is a golf GPS and What does it do?

Golf GPS is a small gadget designed to help the golfer pinpoint the distance from where they are standing to the green where the hole is. The GPS works through satellite technology. The golfer inputs the golf course coordinates into the device and the GPS does the rest; accurately calculating the distance from where you are to the green. The golf GPS is small and accurate, give or take a meter.

What is a golf rangefinder and what does it do?

A golf rangefinder is another small gadget that helps determine the distance from the golfer to the hole. This process is conducted through the use of a small laser. The golfer points the device at the marker where the hole is and turns on the laser, which then displays the distance to the golfer. The golf rangefinder is handheld, small and usually accurate.

How does the golf GPS work?

The golf GPS is a global positioning system device designed for the use of golfing. That may have been common knowledge, but it’s good to specify. There is a basic set of rules that one should follow in order to get the best reading from their golf GPS.

  • Make sure the GPS device is fully charged.
  • The GPS will then display a couple golf courses in the area; choose the one you are playing on.
  • Select the aerial view if you want to be able to see the course you are on and zoom in on your target.
  • Click on measure my shot in order to calculate the distance to the green.
  • Make your shot!

That’s it! It’s actually a fairly simple product to use.

How does the golf rangefinder work?

The golf rangefinder uses a laser to determine the distance of the green from where the golfer is standing. A simple point of the laser will get you a fairly accurate distance in a quick time. The steps below will help you get the most accurate reading possible form the golf laser rangefinder.

  • The object being aimed at must be in view from the location of the golfer. If it’s not, then you will not receive an accurate reading. So, that’s the first step.
  • Once the marker is in view, aim the laser device at it and pull the rangefinder trigger, activating the laser beam.
  • View the distance read on the view screen of the laser rangefinder. However, try not to shake your hand or the reading will not display.

What is the better a golf GPS or a rangefinder?

This is a matter of personal opinion. There is no definite answer as to which device is better, but there are some factors that one device has and the other does not. Since both devices are small and handheld, there is no need to worry about size or portability. However, the golf GPS does come in a watch format, which can easily attach to the wrist of the golfer and glanced at to determine the target distance. The golf rangefinder does not have this option; it’s more of a simple handheld device that the golfer can keep in his/her pocket until the device is needed.


Accuracy is a very large factor in these distance – tracking devices. Golfers want the most accurate distance possible, so where do these two products fall in that perspective? The golf GPS is about as accurate as the everyday car GPS: providing distance down to the last meter. The problem with these GPS style devices is that sometimes they are wrong, by a lot. Anyone who uses a phone or car GPS knows that sometimes the distance is off or the location is off, so there are times where a simple movement can throw the device off. It does not happen often, but it can definitely make or break golfer’s game. Now, the golf rangefinder has its own set of problems. Although the readings are accurate due to the simple point of a laser, if it’s a windy day or the golfer just has shaky hands, the distance reading can be off by a few millimeters or a few inches. This can also make or break a golfer’s game.


Both devices can provide inaccurate readings if malfunctions occur. No technical malfunctions have been reported, but malfunctions in regards to the golfer’s movements have been.

The Golf GPS is known for fluctuating your location. As you walk closer to your put area, the GPS counts down, pinpointing your exact location, However, after you have arrived at the locations you need to be at, the GPS will still be counting down because it has not realized that you’ve stopped moving. If you don’t wait a few seconds for the GPS unit to catch up to you, the reading will be off by a meter or two. Sometimes the GPS doesn’t catch up and the distance is off regardless, so be aware that accuracy can be off by a single meter or two sometimes.

The golf rangefinder also has its malfunctions with movement. It’s actually a bit harder to work with. Even though pointing a laser at a target seems easy enough, if you have a shaky hand or the laser doesn’t connect to the marker, you will not receive a reading at all. An error message will display instead and you will have to keep trying to get an accurate reading.

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