If you’re looking to squeeze every last stroke out of your golf game, being dead certain of the distance (and thus the right club and swing) for each shot is crucial. Unless you’re ready to pony up for a personal caddie, adding a rangefinder to your bag is likely your best option. Having fast and accurate distance information at your disposal is extremely helpful, especially when playing tracks that are unfamiliar or poorly marked.
We recently had the opportunity to test out the Leupold GX-II, the latest offering in the GX series, which is the post popular rangefinder used on the PGA Tour. If you’re not familiar with the name Leupold, just ask a hunter. He’s likely to tell you that the venerable American optics maker has been designing and manufacturing some of the highest quality firearms scopes, binoculars, and magnification devices for over 100 years. By turning their gaze to golf, they’ve given a whole new category of sportsmen the chance to benefit from their technology and craftsmanship. The golfer’s quarry is a different animal entirely; they hunt the ever-elusive flagstick.
Hit the jump for specs, photos, and to get our impressions of the GX-II.
- True Golf Range (TGR) – Sophisticated software accounts for slope, altitude, and temperature (as well as distance) in advising you on the proper shot.
- Club Selector – Going beyond the TGR function, the GX-II will actually recommend a specific club for each shot, as well as indicating shots that are between clubs.
- Pinhunter – Proprietary laser beam geometry ensures laser returns from the pin (likely the smallest and most difficult of the objects you’ll want to range), while the GX software separates it from background images. The result: you’ll get the distance to the pin and not the woods behind the green.
- Scan Mode – By holding down the range button and sweeping the field of vision, you can obtain a continuously updating display of distances to various points.
- Battery Life – Rated for 2,000 activations before replacement is needed.
Editor’s Note: Ultimately, your choice in a range finder should hinge on its usefulness to your game. Distance is no good if you can’t or don’t trust it. After playing a few rounds with the Leupold GX-II, I’ve got no hesitation in saying that the unit gives a reliable and accurate gauge of distance. Beyond its simple distancing capability, the additional features (especially the TGR are very handy). On the few occasions when I opted to go with my gut, rather than with the recommendation of the Leupold, I regretted the decision. Honestly, I wasn’t sure that a rangefinder would benefit me much, but I managed to hit an average of 3 extra greens each round when I used the GX-II. Don’t ask me if I putted well enough to capitalize on that, but more greens should equate to less strokes.