Find the Range

With all of the technology available today – and approved by the United States Golf Association – there’s no reason for you to not know the exact distance you need to hit your next shot.

Electronic help generally comes in three forms: Handheld and wearable GPS devices, handheld rangefinders, and smartphone apps. Whichever you choose will likely have a brief learning curve and set-up period. After that, you’re good to go. Some of the top choices out there:

Bushnell’s NEO-X Golf GPS watch ($200) is preloaded with 30,000+ worldwide courses, has up to 16 hours of battery life per charge in GPS mode, and can be used as an odometer. As a rangefinder, it displays instant measurements.

GolfBuddy’s VT3 ($250) is billed as the world’s first talking touchscreen golf GPS. It’s preloaded with 36,000 courses, and displays distances on a large screen that’s easy to read and adjust the pin placement on. The unit can also clip into an included wristband, so you can wear it as a watch.

SkyGolf’s SkyCaddie Watch ($200) is preloaded with maps and distances of 30,000 courses. It displays yardages to the front, center and back of every green, on a convenient wristwatch. Plus it doubles as a clock, alarm, stop watch and odometer.

From up to 550 yards, Callaway’s compact and lightweight X Hot Rangefinder ($299) provides fast and accurate distance measurement. The viewfinder’s easy to use, even if you’re wearing glasses. The unit’s also waterproof.

Bushnell’s Tour Z6 rangefinder ($399) instantaneously acquires flags up to 450 yards away – within a half-yard accuracy. Its optics are very clear, in all lighting conditions. The unit is waterproof, the lens is RainGuard HD coated.

From the pioneer of golf GPS, the popular GolfLogix smartphone app is free in its basic form, getting you yardages to the center of the green, plus great imagery of the hole. But you’ll need to pony up $20 annually to get distances to specific hazards and pin positions.

PGA Tour Caddie (free for 30 days, then $30/year) features hole flyovers, three-dimensional hole views, and precision-mapped greens, hazards and targets for some 40,000 courses. It also provides you the ability to keep detailed shot stats and course notes, then compare with other players. A small upgrade gives you access to PGA Tour Academy instruction videos.
FreeCaddie (free for basic version, $6 for Pro edition) is all you need for basic distances to the front, middle and back of every green. You can load courses in seconds. It’s very reliable and easy to use, and the only hassle is having to manually advance holes.


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