Leupold GX Golf Rangefinders
By Kickntrue on 1/20/09

Apparently knowing how far your ball is from the pin will greatly increase your chances of hitting a ball close. It's this idea that has sprung a huge industry in golf with both GPS devices and laser rangefinders. While there are arguments for both GPS devices and laser rangefinders one thing is without question, the most accurate way to get a precise distance to a pin is with a laser rangefinder. While GPS devices can give fairly accurate distances (error tends to measure in terms of yards), laser rangefinders are much more precise to a specific target (error measure is + or - 1 yard, even from over 300 yards away).

One of the premier names in the Rangefinder industry, Leupold, sent me their GX Rangefinder models for me to review. Leupold is a family owned company in Oregon that has been working on optics for over 100 years. Much of their history has been in hunting and military optics for the US Government. Recently they've chosen to get into the golf market because they already have the advanced technology to compete with any existing product on the market, and then some.

From Leupold:
Legal for tournament play, the GX-I is a line of sight rangefinder. The GX-I incorporates LeupoldGÇÖs exclusive PinHunterGäó technology, which effectively filters out background noise and zeroes in on the flag or pin for extremely precise and fast target acquisition. Golfers can select from seven aiming reticles for precise ranging on the flag, pin or other targets. Additionally, distance can be displayed in either yards or meters.
From Leupold:
The GX-II digital laser rangefinder has all the capabilities of the GX-I, plus several helpful features unique to Leupold GÇô True Golf RangeGäó (TGRGäó), PinHunterGäó Laser Technology and Club SelectorGäó.

TGR allows golfers to compensate for uphill shots that play long and downhill shots that play short. While other rangefinders only use line of sight and incline when calculating distance, the GX-II also incorporates the angle of the shot, temperature and altitude to give users the precise True Golf Range. This range gives users the actual distance they should play, and in conjunction with the Club Selector, makes choosing the right club for the corrected distance easy.
Here is what you need to know between the two models. The GX-I is tournament legal. The GX-II has so many bells and whistles that it can't be justified in tournament use and is illegal. That said- if you don't play in any tournaments the GX-II will change your world. Both are extremely simple to use after setup requiring the use of only 1 button (There are only 2 on the entire unit).

I did find the GX-II a little cumbersome to get set up, mostly because it only has two buttons and there is so much to set up. It's completely worth it though because of what the unit can do. The fact that it calculates both temperature and the incline or decline of shots is fantastic. On top of that, you tell it how far you usually hit your clubs and it will tell you what club you should use factoring in all of the elements. It truly acts as a caddie, except more accurate. The only thing it doesn't tell you is to calm down and to tell all of your admiring (annoying) playing partners to keep their yaps shut during your backswing.

Why Rangefinder Over GPS?
I've told you why I think the Leupold Rangefinders are great but I do think a common question that comes up when a golfer is making an investment this large ($300-$400) is whether or not they should look choose a rangefinder or a GPS unit. I've used both a GPS and Rangefinder and here are what I see as the quick pros and cons of each.

Laser Rangefinder Pros
1) No cost after initial investment (other than batteries)
2) Can provide accurate distances to all points with a clear line of site on golf course (or off for that matter)
3) Very accurate (+/- yard)

Laser Rangefinder Cons
1) Can be bulkier than GPS
2) Blind shots are tricky
3) Takes a fairly steady hand

GPS Pros
1) Quicker to use (just look at screen)
2) Can measure doglegs and blind shots
3) Small and sleek

GPS Cons
1) Patents allow most to only measure to front, center, back of greens.
2) Error is measured to as much as 1-3 yards
3) Additional costs after purchase for course maps, downloads, etc.
4) Must be somewhat computer savvy.

Leupold and Where To Buy
If you've decided to go Laser Rangefinder I think the choice to make is Leupold. The experience and history of the company in optics stretching back over 100 years means it is a name you can trust. The fact that the military uses the equipment means it is a product you can trust. The Leupold GX-I costs $300 which makes it competitive with both competitor GPS and Rangefinder units. The Leupold GX-II with its bells and whistles sells for $400 which is in the ballpark for similar units (Bushnell Golf Pinseeker 1500- $400). You want a final vote? Leupold is an American company and offers a Lifetime Warranty on their lens.

You can find Leupold Rangefinders at many golf shops as well as online retailers. Here is a link to buy the Leupold GX-I and you can find the Leupold GX-II at these links. Happy PinHunting!

[ comments ]
Farm_kid says:
Nice review. I am in the market for a Laser or a GPS so this brings up good points to think about.
falcon50driver says:
Neat thing about the laser is you can shoot the bank on the other side of the pond to see how far to carry the water.
mantajim says:
I have both GPS and rangefinder. The GPS sits in a box, the rangefinder is always in my golf bag.
falcon50driver says:
I have them both also, The GPS sits in the drinkholder for quick reference at a glance, or for measuring drive distance. I'll take the laser out to shoot the flag if it's not in the center of the green.
nrb says:
I find the GPS very useful for 75% of what I want, and the most useful one I have found is the Golfshot iPhone application. Apart from the standard GPS info (list of distances to interesting things: front and back of hazards, bunkers, front, back and center of green), it also tracks a lot of interesting stats, which I then transfer to oobgolf, including GIR, fairways hit, putts, sand saves, penalties... I use the Leupold GX II just for distance to the pin and to help figure out adjustments based on elevation.
jpohl says:
For those looking for a GPS unit at a decent price, go to GolfGPSDevice.com and look at the rebates available on the Bushnell Models.
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