Rangefinder or GPS for Golf?

There are so many important aspects of gold, and one of them is knowing your yardage. Before now, golfers had to estimate their exact distance and how far their aim should be. This affects accuracy immensely. With technological improvements, measuring yardage has become fast, convenient, and more accurate.

Various devices help measure distance in golf, but the most common of them is the Rangefinders and the GPS. While these two devices are equally accessible, the dilemma lies within choosing which one of them to use. 

Lots of people ask this question a lot. Which should I choose between the Rangefinders and GPS? We’ll read on to find out everything about these two devices. After weighing their pros and cons, we’re sure your decision would be easier.

What is a Golf Laser Rangefinder?

The range finders are very easy to use and do not require an external mobile app or ensuring that it is charged. It is one of the most popular distance tools. You can use it by simply taking out the rangefinder and pointing it towards the end flag. This immediately gives you the exact distance between the ball and the flag. It works fast, is accurate, and doesn’t require much manipulation. This gives you the idea of which gold club to use to achieve said distance. The target distance doesn’t necessarily need to be the flag. You can point it towards any other point of interest and get your exact distance.

We guess range finders are the best choice to prevent water hazards or playing into bunkers.

What is a Golf GPS Watch?

The GPS is more technical than the rangefinder. They offer more technical details and information than rangefinders. Nevertheless, they function in the same way as the rangefinder. It offers an accurate distance between a point and the target. While they offer more very vital information that could help make a player’s game, they sure rely on applications and must be charged to function. 

A good golf GPS watches offer up-close green views, detailed sky view maps, hazard information, and location of the holes to give you a better understanding of your terrain. Golf GPS watches have other features that help in a game due to its advanced technical features.

Rangefinder vs. GPS

Now that we have a clear idea of what these two distance tools are, and what they have to offer, how about we compare them? While these two distance tools serve the same purpose when it comes to golf, they are completely different products. This is why most people may be having difficulty in choosing between them. They both have their advantages and disadvantages over each other. We would be highlighting them to make your decision easy.

Pros and Cons of Golf Laser Rangefinders


Extremely Accurate

One of the reasons the rangefinder is commonly used is its accuracy. It does not rely on GPS or map information. Once you at lock into the target distance, you get your accurate mileage immediately.

Faster Results                          

For the laser rangefinder, you get your mileage immediately after locking into the target. This is another advantage over the GPS watches. With this device, you get faster play.

Very Easy To Use

This is another feature where the rangefinder my override the GPS. For people who have difficulty maneuvering high tech devices, this is as simple as can be. All you need to do is aim the device at the flag or target, and your distance will be recorded.


The laser rangefinder is small and lightweight, which means that it can be stored easily in a bag and carried around without difficulty.



For the technical build of the rangefinder, it is expensive. It offers fewer features than the GPS for a close to a similar price.

Requires Line of Site For Distance

The rangefinder may not be the best device when it comes to totally knowing what lies ahead. To measure your distance, you have to see the target. This means that if you cannot see a hazard, there is no way of preparing for or avoiding it. This is only possible to be overcome in a laser rangefinder with an inbuilt GPS.

Needs Steady Hands

To use this device without any hitches, you would need to have steady hands. It is very difficult for people with shaky hands to use this perfectly. This is because the laser needs to be tightly focused on the target.

Does not Work Perfectly in All Weather

This device is affected by different weather conditions because it uses a laser. It is impossible to get this device working perfectly in a fog or while raining. If it cannot lock in on the target, there cannot be a result.

Pros and Cons of Golf GPS Watches

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Offers Quicker Use

While golfing, your GPS watch is strapped on your hands. This means you can easily lift your hand and take a glance. It automatically calculates your distance, which means that you don’t need to focus on a target to get the yardage.

High Accuracy

This is another factor that makes decision making harder for people. The GPS offers very high accuracy, just like that of the rangefinder.

Does Not Slow Down Play

The GPS watch offers quick results, which means that it doesn’t require you to stop and wait for the yardage. 

Post Round Analysis and Shit Tracking

The GPS watch comes with software or applications that help to review your play. You get to see your shots, score, and distance. This is the best way to improve your golfing skills.

Sky View Hole Layout

Unlike the rangefinder, the GPS offers a sky view layout, which lets you manage your course effectively. You get a clear idea of where every hole, bunker, and hazard is. With this, you can prepare for the right shot.


Asides calculating your yardage, the GPS watch offer other smart features like receiving calls, emails, and texts 

Not Affected by Weather

The GPS watch’s accuracy is not affected by rain or fog. There are some waterproof GPS watches that would not get spoilt from contact with water. This is a feature that overrides the laser rangefinder.


Calculating Distance To Hazards could be time-Consuming

Obtaining the map distance to hazard could be very slow because the device may take some time to get it right. This could cause a delay in okay.

Could be Uncomfortable Golfing with a Watch

This disadvantage depends on the player. Some golfers are not comfortable playing with a watch on their hands. However, the recent make for the GPS watches are very lightweight and are barely noticeable. 


Holes may be inconsistent. This detail may have been made better with upgrades, but there is still a chance of it happening.


The rangefinder and GPS have proven to be essential in golf. As hard as it is making a decision between the two of them, we have made it easier. We understand that you may have been expecting a straight answer, but you are in the best position to make a perfect decision. All you have to do is to consider the pros and cons of these products and choose the one that best suits your needs. Any way you go, you would be making the right choice.

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