GPS vs Rangefinders

Did you know that many golfers are ditching the old method of counting steps between 150-yardage posts and then guessing how far the flag is located from the center of the green. Not only is this method time consuming, it’s also very inaccurate and relies on many judgment calls to get the yardage correct. There are a couple of modern technologies to choose from to get yardages. First, global position systems (GPS) are a choice of many golfers. The issue with GPS, as I’ve noticed throughout my years of working in golf, is that they too can be inaccurate and sometimes time consuming when it comes to loading courses. Some GPS systems have courses pre-loaded. However, if I’m going to spend money on finding the correct yardage, I want to know with 100% certainty that my number is correct.


Speed up play: Removes the need to accurately pace out distances from yard markers. Plus, less thought required for club selection.

Confidence: Removes doubt about distance and which club to choose, resulting in more confidence in your shot. The fewer uncertainties going through your head when taking a shot the better. Knowing your average performance with a club will help you feel confident that you can reproduce it.

NMSU Golf Course has a variety of GPS watches and laser rangefinders. Need assistance on which is best? Ask our knowledgeable and friendly Pro Shop staff.

Decision making: By using a rangefinder to measure the distance to different hazards on the course, you can improve your decision making ability. If you can measure the distance needed to clear a fairway bunker, you can plan accordingly whether it is worth the risk to attempt. Similarly, knowing distances can give you confidence in laying up closer to a hazard than you normally would.

Motivation: If you keep a track of your average distance for each club with a rangefinder, you can track the small improvements you make in your game over time (which you may not notice from purely looking at your final score).

Data gathering: A rangefinder is the most convenient tool for gathering distance information on how far you hit each club. Just knowing this information gives you an advantage over many other players you’ll play against.

I look forward to seeing you soon!
John Lynch