If you’re a golfing enthusiast, sooner or later you’re going to have to look into investing in a laser rangefinder – and then, you’re going to have to learn to use it. Why? Well, rangefinders are almost essential for you to master your game – you can guess distances all you want, or use unreliable GPS to locate pins, but at the end of the day golf is a game of math, and you’re going to want to make sure yours is accurate.
Trust me – I’ve been there. I was a skeptic, too; mostly because I thought rangefinders might be a bit daunting to use. If you know how to work them, though, they turn into your best friend on the course. Here’s how:
1. Watch videos.
The best way to learn is to do it yourself – the second best way to learn, however, is by watching. There are a lot of videos on YouTube about rangefinders – including reviews, information, tips and tricks for individual models. I’m partial to Leica rangefinders, so what I do is I just input that keyword in the search bar and see what kind of Leica rangefinder videos come up. Simple first step.
2. Read model-specific instructions.
Once you’ve got your actual rangefinder, you have to figure out how to work it. Not all rangefinders are created equal – there will be differences between a Nikon and a Leica rangefinder, for example. If you got your rangefinder from a friend, or if it didn’t come with any instructions, don’t worry – chances are that you can find an online manual for you to read through and learn.
3. Practice ranging large objects first.
Begin practicing with easy targets – large and up close. Remember, practice makes perfect – and admittedly, it’s kinda entertaining to sit there and speculate how far something is, whip out the rangefinder and then dispel or prove your guesses. To begin with, try checking the range for trees or signs or other big objects less than a hundred yards away.
4. Practice on the pins on your course.
Now things start getting interesting. When you feel like you’re confident in your ability to accurately point a laser at a large object from a seemingly considerable distance, begin working on smaller objects. Pins right above your holes are, obviously, what you should be aiming for the most – so start off at a short distance, and slowly work your way further and further away from the pin; until your rangefinder practically becomes a third eye, like my Leica rangefinder has become.
5. Keep pushing yourself.
There’s more to getting the golfball in the hole than finding out how far the hole is – it’s important to understand the limitations of your rangefinder, just like it’s important to keep pushing how good you are with it.
In time, as long as you keep in mind your angles and remember the difference between ranging for the pin and the hole below it, you’ll come to reap the benefits of a decent rangefinder. Now, it may seem like a good bit of work – but trust me, the benefits you stand to reap way outstrip the obstacles in your way.