By Joy Gregory

Rangefinders have helped golfers for a number of years to improve on their overall performance. They work by computing the distance from the ball to the pin. Rangefinders are engineered to provide crucial information such as the course elevation, and direction which are necessary in determining a golfer’s next shot. The latest GPS (Geographical Positioning System) range finders use Global Positioning to assist the golfer by producing more accurate and reliable data without the golfer necessarily being able to see the target.

A non-GPS golf rangefinder applies eye safe lasers in determining distances but has the disadvantage that the target must be in sight so that the yardage can be calculated from point to point. A GPS golf rangefinder uses the same satellite mapping technology as used in motor vehicles, With this technology the exact ball and hole location can be accurately pinpointed on the golf course without needing line of sight. These gadgets will then use previously recorded course information for computing the distance between a golfer’s current positions and other course locations, like front or back of the green, water hazards, trees, and bunkers (traps). If you’ve never played the course before this is a very useful feature.

GPS golf rangefinders come in a number of models with features such as satellite course imaging that can be used by golfers to improve on their game performance. Such features can be used by golfers to lower their golf scores because golfers can easily find the exact distance to the pin, distance to course hazards, and land layout, so that the best club can be selected for the next shot. Other GPS golf rangefinder devices come embedded with features that enable shot statistics to be documented electronically in order to automatically calculate the average distance that has been achieved with specific clubs.

GPS rangefinders have improved on distance calculations from yardage measurements to real satellite mapping which enables precise pinpointing of exact locations on the course. The chief advantage that these GPS gadgets have over traditional range finders is that their main target does not have to be in sight because the pre-stored course information can be applied electronically as opposed to a visual sighting. There are also features like measurements from the ball position to different parts of the green, aerial and satellite course viewing that can provides in depth information which is very helpful when deciding which club to use. Some have shot recorders that store information about individual shots so that you can check distance and accuracy of specific clubs. Also you can easily check the distance achieved by each club by marking the position when the shot is taken, going to the location where the ball landed, and reading off the distance. Do this for each club in the bag and you will have valuable information to help you select the correct club each time.

Manufacturers of GPS rangefinders maintain a database of mapped courses, you will probably need to take out a subscription to download course maps to the device. Some devices already come pre loaded from the manufacturer with courses, while others will allow the golfer to do the mapping by themselves, which is a very useful feature if the golf course you wish to play hasn’t been pre-mapped. When looking at prices check out how much a subscription will cost you before you buy.

In order to successfully improve on your games scores and lower your handicap, accurate and detailed data is required and this makes GPS range finders indispensable golfing accessories.

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