Golf Rangefinder vs GPS: What’s the Difference?

In this post we compare golf rangefinders and GPS devices to help you understand which one you need
Phillip Ortiz
Phillip Ortiz
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Are you a professional golfer who needs a device to accurately measure distance or are you a amateur golfer who loves the sport and is looking to improve their game? If you are then you want to consider investing in a golf GPS or a rangefinder. If you aren’t familiar with either device, that is okay. Although a rangefinder is more accurate than a golf GPS, the golf GPS does have many benefits that a rangefinder does not, and vice versa. This post will highlight the best pros and cons of both a GPS and a rangefinder.


A rangefinder is essential for improving a golfer’s game. It takes out all the guesswork involved in the sport. Try hitting the golf ball both with and without the rangefinder to see if your accuracy improves.


A rangefinder is designed to help golfers estimate distance and accuracy before taking their shots. The rangefinder uses laser beams aimed at a target to determine its length. The rays are beamed at the target and then reflected back to the rangefinder. Every rangefinder is accurate within at least one yard. Rangefinders aren’t just good to use on a course but they are great to use at the range.

Golf Rangefinder vs GPS: What's the Difference?Rangefinder Pros

There are various pros and cons if you plan on using a rangefinder Trusted Source How To Use A Golf Rangefinder? And The Benefits It Will Bring! We recommend the use of a rangefinder on every shot you play. It should become part of your pre-shot routine. Here’s our ‘how to’ guide . First, we will look at what the pros are. The pros of using a rangefinder for golf are:

  • It is convenient to use.

Golfers have testified that rangefinders are easy to use. It is basically a point-and-shoot program. Hold the rangefinder up to the target and aim.

  • The rangefinder is portable and durable.

Rangefinders are portable because of their small, compact size. Many rangefinders are also waterproof, which means you can still use them on the course during a rain shower.

  • The device can travel anywhere on the course.

The device does not rely on preloaded maps to measure distances as a golf GPS does. Therefore, you don’t have to avoid specific courses that may not be pre-programmed to the rangefinder, like you would if you choose to use a  GPS.

  • With a rangefinder, it can make gameplay faster.

Sometimes practicing your shot can take all day. As much as you love the sport, you don’t want to be out on the golf course all day practicing. You want to play the game. That is where a rangefinder would benefit you.

  • A rangefinder will suggest which club you should use for the shot.

It can be hard to comprehend which golf club to use for what shot. After measuring distances, the rangefinder will inform you about the best club to use for this particular shot.

  • Rangefinders will improve the skill of the golfer who uses them.

A rangefinder will benefit even the most novice golfer’s game. No matter your skill level, a rangefinder will help to improve your game. It will only make you get better, not worse at golf.

  • The rangefinder can measure up to the front and back of hazards.

Hazards are the places you don’t want the ball to go during a game of golf. The rangefinder will accurately measure the distance of the hazards in relation to your shot.

  • It is a straightforward system that is easy to understand.

As stated before, a rangefinder is a super simple device for anyone to use. It does not matter what age group you’re in; you will understand how to use the rangefinder. The PEAKPULSE  is an easy to use and durable rangefinder.

Rangefinder Cons

  • Rangefinders can be very pricey.

Rangefinders tend to come at a high price point, especially if you are looking for a rangefinder with all the features. That is one of the few reasons why golfers will choose a GPS over a Rangefinder. There are affordable rangefinders. You just have to know where to look.

  • A rangefinder must be held steady for an accurate reading.

The rangefinder must be held by a steady hand for an accurate reading. It can be challenging to hold a rangefinder steady if there are high winds or rain in the area.


Many golfers don’t believe that having a GPS on the golf course will help them, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A GPS is very beneficial to a golfer. The device has the capabilities to measure distances on the course.


Over the past few years, the golf GPS has grown in popularity. GPS’s come in all different shapes and sizes. Some style options for the GPS are a handheld device, your own phone, a watch, or your hat clip. Many people will choose a GPS watch vs. a rangefinder. A GPS will pinpoint a specific location. It can also help the golfer improve their game. A GPS can store up to 10,000 maps. The maps come preloaded on the GPS. The golf GPS keeps track of your stats as well, so you know what to improve on.

Golf Rangefinder vs GPS: What's the Difference?GPS Pros

  • GPS’s come in a wide variety of options.

GPS’s come in a wide variety of options like a hat clip, watch, handheld device, and personal phone. The GPS watch tends to be the more popular version of the GPS. You have to look at your watch to find out all the information you need to know. The watch is the most efficient GPS version. According to reviews of the Garmin 010-02028-00 Approach S10, Lightweight GPS Golf Watch is an efficient easy to use GPS watch. GPS watches are usually chosen over a golf rangefinder.

  • A GPS will provide info for the entire Golf Course.

There is no need to hire a caddy if you are using a GPS on the golf course. The GPS will have the whole golf course laid out right before your eyes.

  • With a GPS, you will play a faster game.

Like the rangefinder, a GPS will allow golfers to play a faster game. There will be no time wasted manually measuring distances. You will not have to walk back and forth from the hole to the par the entire day. There will be more time to enjoy the game.

  • The GPS can offer more accurate distances.

Determining distances can be difficult. With a GPS, manually measuring distances is a thing of the past. A GPS will help improve your chances of winning the game.

  • GPS helps you to avoid hazards.

The goal of the game of golf is to get your ball as close to the hole as possible. Hitting a ball from the hazard can make the shot really difficult. The GPS will lessen the chance of hitting the ball onto the hazard.

  • A GPS will help you to analyze your stats.

A GPS can analyze your stats and provide helpful information to look at after the game. The GPS will give you tips to work on.

GPS Cons

  • The biggest con of using a GPS is accuracy.

A rangefinder is much more accurate than a GPS. Modern GPS’s are much more accurate than the GPS’s of the past but rangefinders still win when it comes to the most accurate device to measure distance.

  • You are limited to the courses the manufacturer has updated onto the device.

With a golf GPS you can only measure distances on courses that have been previously uploaded to the device. With a rangefinder, you will not have that issue as you just have to point and shoot.

If the device has not been updated or the golf course has changed since the last update, your GPS will not give you an accurate measurement. Without accurate measurement, your game will be affected.

Benefits of Rangefinders Over GPS

The benefits of choosing a rangefinder over a  golf GPS are that it will give you accurate data for every shot you hit. A GPS can only provide information from the front, middle, and back of the green. Also, a GPS is only useful if the course you are playing on has made any changes or hasn’t been updated. Doing this can seriously affect your game.

Benefits of GPS over Rangefinders

The benefits of choosing a GPS over a rangefinder are that if you are playing in high winds, it can be hard to hold the rangefinder steady. The rangefinder must be held steady in order to get an accurate reading. You just need to look down at your watch with a GPS to see all the information you need. You will be able to see everything around you with a birds-eye view. You’ll have an advantage on course by knowing where the blind holes are.

Can You Use Both in Tournaments?

Yes Trusted Source PGA of America to allow distance-measuring devices in its major events Starting in 2021, players can user laser rangefinders and GPS devices at PGA of America majors, including the PGA Championship. ! You can use both a GPS and a rangefinder if you are in a golf tournament. As of February 2021, the PGA committee announced that it would allow distance measuring devices in the PGA championship. The PGA became one of the first significant golf committees to allow distance measuring devices into a tournament.


Are rangefinders worth it?

If you want to improve your golf game then you definitely want to invest in a rangefinder. A rangefinder is worth it if you are looking to improve your golf game. Although they can be pricey, you can definitely find a rangefinder under $100.00.

Is it legal to use a golf GPS in a tournament?

Yes, it is legal to use a golf GPS in a tournament. In May 2021, PGA officials ruled that professional golfers can now use rangefinders and golf GPS’s on the course. The devices can only be used to provide an accurate distance from the hole. Any other features on it may not be used.

Golf Rangefinder vs GPS: What's the Difference?When using a golf GPS or a rangefinder, will you play a faster game?

You will play a faster game of golf when you use a golf GPS or a rangefinder. These devices will measure the distance for you, saving you time from doing it manually. You will have more time to enjoy the game when using either a golf GPS or a rangefinder.

Which is easier to use a golf GPS or a rangefinder?

Both a golf GPS and a rangefinder are easy to use. With a rangefinder, you have to hold the device steady, which can be challenging to do during storms. If you plan to use a golf GPS, you just have to click a button, and the distance is measured for you. However, using a rangefinder will allow you to play on any golf course. A course must be uploaded to a golf GPS to measure distances.

What styles do golf GPS’s come in?

Golf GPS’s come in a variety of different styles. You can use a golf GPS on your phone, as a personal handheld device, a hat clip, and the most popular style, a watch. If you use a GPS watch all you have to do is look down at your wrist before taking your shot.


In all honesty, no matter what choice you make, whether it be a GPS or a rangefinder, you will benefit from it. Your golf game will improve no matter the device you decide on. Both of these devices offer many benefits but they also have their downsides as well. Refer back to this list when it comes time to purchase your distance measuring device.


How To Use A Golf Rangefinder? And The Benefits It Will Bring!
We recommend the use of a rangefinder on every shot you play. It should become part of your pre-shot routine. Here’s our ‘how to’ guide
PGA of America to allow distance-measuring devices in its major events
Starting in 2021, players can user laser rangefinders and GPS devices at PGA of America majors, including the PGA Championship.
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