Golfers who purchase rangefinders must often choose between a global positioning system unit and a laser device. The GPS device identifies the positions of major features on the golf course and calculates their distances. A laser finder on the other hand uses a return beam reflected back from an object. Laser devices have been in use since the last decade. GPS devices are also becoming popular. Smart phones also have some applications that allow them to function like GPS devices.
GPS devices cost from $150 to $400 while laser devices go for $200 to $500. GPS Smartphone applications cost from 0$ to 40$. With the laser devices, the cost is only once during the time of purchase. GPS devices have subscription costs and other courses that come with downloading golf courses.
GPS units provide distances to a list of selected objects on the golf course. Some also provide a layout, in the form of aerial view of the target hole. Others come with more advanced features such as virtual flyover of the hole. This is very useful information for golfers who are playing on courses they are not familiar. Lasers use a beam that reflects back to measure the distances. Since they rely on a light beam bouncing off an object, they can be used to determine the distance of the group of golfers ahead. With such information, it can help you to determine if it is safe to play a certain hole.
Ease of Use
While using the GPS devices, the user must first download and install informational databases of the golf courses that he intends to visit. The GPS devices relies on satellite imagery and information to identify the specific holes in the selected course. The laser device is much less complicated to use. It is very easy and simple to operate. With the GPS device, you can use a simple watch on your wrist that will help you access the information of the course at a go. The GPS device is mainly carried with the golf bag.
With laser technology it is quite hard to measure to the flagstick that marks a hole. These limitations can be overcome through use of flagsticks that have reflective technology. However, such advancements have not been incorporated in many golf courses in the world. Horizontal surfaces like sand and water are also hard to measure using laser devices. This leaves the user to rely on nearby vertical elements such as trees. Rain also lowers the performance of lower devices when it produces unwanted reflections. For GPS technology, some golf courses might not be available in the databases provided by manufacturers, which renders their usability useless under such circumstances.
Each device has its advantages and disadvantages. In terms of accuracy, both devices are similar within a range of one yard. The GPS device offers a quick overview of each hole and distance to prominent landmarks near the hole. The laser device offers flexibility in measuring almost anything in the golf course. It would be ideal to have both since they complement each other in a great way. However, that comes with personal preference and cost considerations.
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