Bushnell rangefinders and GPS units a great addition to anybody's game
That is perhaps the best ringing endorsement I can give for owning a Bushnell laser range finder or GPS unit.
I got my Bushnell Pro 1600 Slope Edition with Pinseeker a couple weeks ago. The first round I used it turned out to be entirely experimental. I had a hard time holding it steady on a windy day. Plus, using it for the first time, I had to fight off feelings of doubt for some of the readings.
The second round was pure magic. I figured out how to keep my shaky hands steady and felt my confidence in the readings soar. My scorecard was richly rewarded with confident iron swings that led to two birdies. Anybody who’s seen me swing knows that’s a major accomplishment. See Mike Bailey’s review of the 1600 here.
This is a 20th century golf toy with 21st century technology. Seriously folks, if you haven’t forked out the money to buy one, it’s like you’re still playing with hickory shafts and balata balls. Yardage discs can leave you guessing how far it is a front or back pin. Exact distance readings within one yard in a millisecond are a wonderful luxury.
And the units are more affordable than ever. I found one for sale on-line for $310 (although most retailers sell them from $360-$400).
I should have made the commitment to getting a range finder sooner. Less than a month ago, I played one of the most difficult golf courses in the world, Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. I learned the hard way that RCD is virtually unplayable without a caddie. It features five blind tee shots in the first 11 holes.
Even worse, there are no sprinkler heads, no yardages posts, nothing to tell players how far they are from the green on approach shots. I’m sure the Bushnell would have saved me five shots or more.
At one point, I pulled out a pitching wedge and hit what I thought was a pure shot, only to end up 20 yards shot. Turns out the bunker in front of the green featured a front lip so menacing, it was visually deceiving just how far away the green was.
Royal County Down is mostly flat (except for those wild dunes!), so my Bushnell’s more advanced slope function wouldn’t have helped much, but I can’t wait to use it on the elevation changes of the courses in northern Michigan. The slope function – which is illegal in tournaments – uses a complex formula to determine what the actual distance might be, depending on the elevation change. It came in handy during my two-birdie round at Eaglecrest Golf Club in Ypsilanti.
For those who have been using a laser rangefinder for years, there’s plenty of new technology from Bushnell to consider. The one knock on range finders is they don’t shoot yardages through trees. That’s where GPS units offer a leg up.
Bushnell’s new Yardage Pro XGC+ is an advanced GPS unit preloaded with 16,000 courses from North America on it, so players can use it right out of the box. No more tedious steps of loading courses yourself. Retailing for $299, the device features full screen photos of the hole that instantly provides yardages for four custom points per hole.
I haven’t used a GPS unit before, so I can’t debate the pros and cons of GPS vs. a range finder. All I can say is if you don’t have a Bushnell in your bag, you’re only cheating yourself.
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