How Does A Golf Rangefinder Work

Golf Rangefinder
How Does A Golf Rangefinder Work

Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by

A golf rangefinder is one of the best tech gear a golfer can have on the golf course. With a golf rangefinder, you will know exactly how far you are from the hole, allowing you to pick the perfect club for each shot. Having a golf rangefinder can be a bit like having a caddy with you at all times. If you make a perfect swing but are unsure of the yardage, that effort will have been wasted. There are several types of golf rangefinders on the market, including a laser rangefinder, golf GPS watch, golf GPS handheld, and a golf GPS app. We will look at all of these and better understand how a golf rangefinder works. 

Types of Rangefinders 

Laser Rangefinders

A laser rangefinder can give golfers direct yardage to a pin. This is a point-and-shoot type system with tremendous accuracy for the golf game. 

Golf GPS Watch

Golf GPS watches can be worn at all times and will track things like steps, strokes and give golfers yardage to the front, middle, and back of a green. 

Golf GPS Handheld

A GPS rangefinder is a great choice for those that like simplicity and visualization. GPS rangefinders will show golfers a picture of the hole and give yardage to the front, middle, and back of a green.

Golf GPS App 

The golf GPS app can be added to your phone to help you determine yardage. 

How Does a Golf Rangefinder Work?

How does a laser golf rangefinder work?

A laser rangefinder is sometimes known as an optical rangefinder. When you look through the scope of laser rangefinders, you will find the pin using the laser beam on the device. Some golf courses will have special receptors in the pin to help the optical rangefinders work more accurately. 

When it comes to golf rangefinder technology, the optical rangefinders can have systems like sound or vibration to help a golfer know they have locked into the flag. Knowing you are focused on the flag helps to improve overall accuracy with the laser rangefinder.

Most laser rangefinders will be accurate to within about a yard. Although you will probably only need the laser rangefinder to measure the distance from around 250 yards and in, some will work from as far away as 600 yards. 

How does a GPS golf rangefinder work?

The GPS rangefinder is a bit simpler to use as it does most of the work for you. Instead of finding a pin with a laser beam, you simply keep the GPS rangefinder with you on the golf course, and it will continually provide the information you need. 

GPS rangefinders are available at many golf courses as part of their golf cart system, but having one with you will certainly help you choose the right golf clubs on each hole. Having an understanding of the distances to the green, as well as the distances to the hazards, can really help you get more accurate distances and shots. 

The GPS golf rangefinder takes advantage of the global positioning system and moves from one hole to the next while playing golf. The preloaded maps make it quite easy to determine the distance measurement as you move from one hole to the next. 


Deciding whether or not to use range finders can be a difficult decision. Here are a few answers that can help make the decision a bit easier. 

Are golf rangefinders legal for tournaments?

Golf rangefinders are legal for tournaments as long as they are not providing any type of slope calculation. Some laser rangefinders will give you adjusted yardage based on the elevation changes on the golf course. This technology is too advanced and is not allowed during tournament play. 

Will a golf rangefinder improve my game?

If you struggle with measuring distance and you miss greens quite often, the rangefinder is a great way to calculate the distance to a golf hole. A range finder won’t help you fix a slice or slow your tempo down, but it can certainly help with course management. 

Should I use a GPS or Laser rangefinder?

The laser rangefinder is beneficial because it gives an exact distance. Many lower handicap players enjoy this option. However, when it comes to course mapping and visualization, GPS technology tends to be a better solution. 


Hopefully, you now understand the way a GPS and a laser rangefinder works. There are positives to both types of rangefinders. Finding the best golf rangefinder for your game can take a bit of research and trial and error. In the end, most golfers are happy just to have a solution that helps them get the golf ball a bit closer to the hole. Great players will always want an accurate reading and precision before they swing the golf club. The game of golf is hard enough, don’t make it more complicated by avoiding the latest technological advances. 

Read More: Learn Approaches For Enhancing Your Golf Swing

Apart from that, if you are interested to know about Physical Benefits of Playing Golf then visit our Gaming category.