Month: June 2016

Golf Rangefinders vs Golf GPS: The Showdown

neo xsGolf Rangefinders and Golf GPS Products have the same goal, to help us navigate the course and work out distances vital for shot selection, club selection and ultimately improving your game. These two technologies work in two very different ways in spite of having a very similar end result, so which is the best to take to the course with you? Do you even have to choose between them or can you use both? We’ve got some answers for you here in the ultimate showdown of GPS vs Rangefinder.

Gone are the days when you’d have to look at landmarks on the course to work out yardages or worse, have to guess. Looking for targets from a distance is tough, and thankfully technology has been introduced to help make it a little simpler. We live in the age of the ‘smart’ device, and a golf GPS can even be put into a watch or a device on your phone, and while introducing these types of products has been done for over a decade now, it is easier than ever to take something onto the course which lets you measure distances and work out the distances around the course and ultimately find the pin!

Check out our recommended model of golf Rangefinder

Price Comparison

Genuinely, we’re not looking at huge differences here, the price ranges are pretty similar and as with any product, there are budget models as well as much more expensive, high end models which you can show off at the golf club! The GPS models are marginally cheaper in general, but really, the difference isn’t so huge that it will make a massive impact on your decision, and it more boils down to what features are on offer.

As you may have guessed by the name of this site, we’re more focused on Rangefinders, but I’m being unbiased for the benefit of this review and have taken a lot of the opinions of this independent review of the top 10 models in order to make sure we have a fair fight, so with that in mind…

Pros of the GPS

As already mentioned, a marginal cost benefit comes into play with the GPS, but not huge money. Put it this way; the savings won’t buy you a new set of clubs.

What is wonderful about the GPS is versatility, you can get apps on your phone, a palm held, reader style device, something that clips on to your buggy and even things you can wear such as the GPS watches which are becoming so popular. Whatever format you want for your yardages and distance readings you can likely get something which suits you.

While a rangefinder gives more info on what you can see, and may even enhance what you can see, it doesn’t give a full overview of the hole or the course which you get more of with the GPS, allowing you to plan ahead and see hazards on the course. Not the most important thing if you’re used to the course, but if you’re playing golf in a new area, this can be really useful.

Cons of the Golf GPS

The GPS Units for golf do have their negatives though, and they are what lead us to recommend rangefinders instead. Firstly, it is down to the companies who make them to map the golf courses and keep them updated, which is tough considering how many destinations there are in the world to go and play golf, and the courses you play on aren’t guaranteed to have been mapped.

Secondly, the accuracy isn’t as good. GPS technology has come a long way, but doesn’t do what the laser style rangefinders do by using optics, and don’t give the most accurate readings possible. We’ve also found usability to be a bit more difficult, you’ve got more buttons and things which can go wrong than with a rangefinder, which option have a function to just point and go.

Comparison With the Golf Rangefinder

The Pros of rangefinders really line up with the cons of the GPS units. You can use them anywhere, and don’t have to rely on software to do so, you can simply point and go. They’re useful for golf and for hunting so if you have both of these hobbies you’re in luck. Rangefinders work using totally different technology and while you can’t see the whole course with them, they measure distances amazingly and accurately to ensure you’re getting the best on the course.

So, is the answer to the question of “Which is better, a rangefinder or a GPS?” Simply “Rangefinder”. Well, no. In my opinion, if it comes down to a choice between the two, you may be swayed to go for a rangefinder depending on your needs, but I present a third option…

The Hybrid

Yes, there’s a twist in the tail of our showdown. While there are many great Rangefinders and GPS units we can recommend, if you’re wondering which of the two to go for and simply can’t decide, this is an amazing option for you.

Bushnell Hybrid Laser-Gps Rangefinder Review

Bushnell are one of the most prolific companies manufacturing golf electronics, and their Hybrid model is exceptional. It was only a matter of time before someone noticed that there would always be differences and put both into one single model.

The features include 30,000 installed courses which you don’t have to pay extra for (some manufacturers need a membership but these do not) and a reliable rangefinder to go with a reliable gps! Bushnell provide some of the best golf rangefinders out there, so you know that you’re getting quality optics and accurate readings to the pin. It can tell you a distance to the front, center, and back of the greens you’re playing on (whichever greens on whichever course). It can work up to a massive 1,000 yards and the quality is exceptional.


If you can’t go with the Hybrid, best of both worlds option mentioned above, we’d advise that you consider your needs. If you’re playing a lot of courses and are certain they’ll all be on the GPS device then it may well be a good option for you, but for ease of use as well as versatility, not to mention the most important feature, accuracy, we recommend rangefinders.

Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder Review

aculonNikon are a brand with a wonderful reputation in the world of visuals, lenses and optics, and their forays into the world of rangefinders have been pretty successful. While you may be more used to seeing their name on camera gear, this compact, high quality and well reviewed golf rangefinder proves that they can do the business in other areas too. While we focus on golfing here on the site, this product is also a superb option for hunting, and we talk more about that below.

Nikon describe themselves as the best in the world when it comes to optics, and while that depends on your opinion, they certainly have a reputation when it comes to these types of products, and as such, you don’t need to worry about the quality of the viewfinder and optics within the Aculon 8397, the quality is undeniable and you get a great feel for just how well made this product is as soon as you start to use it.


Perhaps the ‘USP’ of the Nikon rangefinder is how compact it is. Lets face it, on the golf course you’re carrying so much equipment around most of the time, anything you can do to reduce the load is welcome, and the Aculon certainly does this. Described as ‘palm-sized’ it is just 3.6 x 2.9 x 1.5 inches. This is really pretty small, and can fit within one of the pouches or compartments of your golf bag with ease and not weigh you down as you stroll around 18 holes!

In terms of visuals and tech specs, the rangefinder has an impressive 6x magnification and is designed with ‘coated optics’ – in layman’s terms, this means that light isn’t lost because of reflection and you get a clear view of what is out in front of you.

The use of the rangefinder is really simple, just the push of a button on the intuitive design gives you a clear view of the target and instant distance reading. The display is really simple and doesn’t clutter up your view as you’re looking to the target. Their technology includes the amazing ‘priority’ mode which looks beyond things like bushes and other obstructions which may be between you and your target, whether that’s the pin on your golf course or whatever you’re hunting (yes, the product is popular with hunters too and provides just as effective an experience here).

  • Choose between 1 meter or 1 yard Increments on the display
  • Coated Optics
  • 550 yard range
  • Simple LCD display providing clarity and simplicity
  • Long Eye Relief
  • Simple Operation using just one button
  • Compact, handheld size
  • Water Resistant so usable even when conditions aren’t the best
  • Comes with a case, strap and cleaning cloth

What Others Have Said

The reviews of the Nikon Aculon 8397 have been largely favorable among both golfers and hunters. The product provides a compact, easy to use and reliable option at a reasonable price tag. It isn’t cheap, but that is the nature of these products, and the use that you can get out of this product over a course of years means that the Aculon does represent value.

At the time of writing, the average rating of the product on Amazon’s review system is around 4.4/5 stars, which makes this one of the best reviewed products of its type available. People have been full of praise for how reliable and easy to use it is, but the main thing people seem to be talking about is accuracy. This product can really improve your performance by showing accurate readings helping you to understand the course you’re playing.


It is really hard to see a downside to this product, and though it will cost a bit of money to get your hands on it, it can definitely be worth it when it comes to improving your golf game or your hunting. The reviews of this product on amazon and elsewhere on the product are hugely positive which tell you everything you need to know about the Aculon. It is tournament legal according to our guide here, and although it doesn’t have the slope function of some of the more expensive products on the market, it offers everything most of us need. A top rangefinder from an exceptional brand in Nikon, which comes with our top recommendation.