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Having a distance measuring device for the golf course is an essential accessory, particularly if you want to shoot better scores. But, the market for distance measuring devices is incredibly busy. That market is split into two main categories: rangefinders and GPS watches. But which one should you buy?

It’s a difficult question to answer, as each product is going to service a different need for a different player. For each golfer, a rangefinder might be a better option than a GPS watch and vice versa.

But which one is best for you? Here are some reasons to consider both.

Why should you use a golf rangefinder?

One of the key benefits of a rangefinder on the golf course is that you will know exactly how far you have to the pin. This can be particularly useful if you’re playing a course that has very large greens, as the pin position can make a big difference to the shot you need to play.

As well as that, a rangefinder can be used to measure the distance to trees or bunkers from the tee. It doesn’t need to just be used for approach shots. Using a rangefinder, particularly an up-to-date model like the Shot Scope Pro ZR, can make this process incredibly quick and easy.

Shot Scope pro zr rangefinder
The Shot Scope PRO ZR rangefinder has a range of 1,500 yards. (Credit: Shot Scope)

Another positive of using a rangefinder over a watch is that you don’t need to worry about having a watch on your wrist during shots. For some players, having a watch can be distracting, but this is nothing to worry about if you’re using a rangefinder.

Why should you use a GPS golf watch?

GPS watches are very popular amongst amateur golfers and it’s for good reason. One of the key benefits from wearing a GPS watch on the course is that you’ll be able to see the yardage you have to the front, middle and back of the green with ease. Some golfers would rather simply glance at their wrist as they’re walking to their ball and know the key distances.

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As well as that, GPS watches can give you some incredible features. Take the Shot Scope V5 for example, which will give you automatic shot tracking, hazards and layup distances, green view and pin placement and even the option to see how your stats stack up to a tour professional.

Shot Scope V5 watch
The new Shot Scope V5 watch will give you much more than just yardages to the green. (Credit: Shot Scope)

That’s not all, as a GPS watch can also be worn away from the golf course. Again, the Shot Scope V5 can be worn away from the golf course and will look the part in your day-to-day life.

Conclusion – Should you use a rangefinder or a GPS watch on the golf course?

As I said before, this is largely down to personal preference, but personally, I tend to use a rangefinder on the golf course. For me, the main reason for that is I prefer to have the exact distance to the pin on the golf course. It also allows me to fire the distance to a target on the driving range when I’m working on my yardages. If you wanted to purchase a brand-new rangefinder for 2024, then you should look to the Shot Scope Pro ZR, which features on our list of the best golf rangefinders for 2024.

However, I can definitely see the appeal of using a GPS watch on the golf course. For many people, this is just an easier option than using a rangefinder. Being able to see your yardage on your wrist before you pull a club from the bag is a major plus point. If you were to purchase a new GPS golf watch for 2024, then take a look at the brand-new Shot Scope V5.

You might be wondering if there is a way to incorporate the benefits of a rangefinder and a GPS watch into one device, and again, Shot Scope has the answer. For the past two years I’ve been using the Shot Scope Pro LX+, which has allowed me to get the exact distance to the pin, while also tracking my stats, and getting the distance to the front, middle and back of the green, and other features of the golf course. You can read more about my experience with that here.

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

Performance Editor

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