The fairway marker says 150 yards, let me hit my 8 iron… 1 perfect swing later and you are 10 yards short of the green. This happens to most golfers several times in a round. There is so much guesswork associated with getting an accurate yardage; distance, slope, wind, temperature, why not eliminate some of these variables? If you play a round today you will see most golfers have some sort of rangefinder to help them get accurate distances.
Options / Options / Options
The market is flooded with range finders today, everything from the $50 amazon special to some high end models costing well over $500. But what do you really need to look for when choosing a rangefinder? You will see buzzwords like “pin lock,” “slope,” “scan mode” and many others. For the everyday golfer I think the most important features to have are slope and pin lock.
The slope feature will calculate the true distance to the pin based on elevation change. Think about the last time you played an uphill par 3. You probably pulled a club based on the yardage listed on the tee box sign. Well this is not the true distance to the flag. If you think back to high school physics….. (groan)… based on the nature of the ball flight your ball won’t carry the full distance. Here is an example image.
Having slope available to you will make a huge difference in your round. I will honestly say that at least 5-6 times a round I have had to change clubs after looking at a slope calculated distance versus just the actual distance.
This feature is found in most rangefinders but the accuracy is something to watch for. This feature is meant to show you when the rangefinder has caught the pin and is providing you the accurate distance. Sometimes this is shown through the eyepiece or with a vibration of the unit. I personally like when a unit vibrates to confirm the lock.
I was first introduced to the blue tees series 3 rangefinder from a friend who bought one at the beginning of the summer. He couldn’t stop talking about how much he loved it compared to his previous Bushnell rangefinder. I had to see what the hype was all about so I borrowed it to play a round with. Wanting to save a buck I was currently using a cheap amazon knock off rangefinder which I can tell you right now is a mistake. I end up having to “shoot” the distance multiple times and take a quick average in my head of all the wildly different numbers I got. Using the Bluetees series 3 out on the course was such a difference!
If you are curious to see what is all included in the box take a look at my unboxing video below.
Without even picking the rangefinder up it just flat out looks cool. The original navy, white and silver color scheme looks sleek but is still subtle. The series 3 also comes in a matte black and pink now! Finally picking up the unit I noticed it had a little weight too, which I like. My cheap plastic rangefinder felt like a toy in comparison. The size of the unit was midsize and easy to hold in my hand. I was easily able to adjust the eyepiece to my vision and away I went.
Putting it to the test
Pulling out the range finder on my first approach shot I wanted to try 3 things. First I walked off a distance from the yardage marker in the fairway. Pacing out 10 yards from the 100 yard marker, adjusting for the pin in the back and for a slightly elevated green I calculated a 115 yard shot. Next I tried my cheap rangefinder. After trying to unsuccessfully scope the distance to the pin but rather getting the trees behind the green I gave up and estimated the shot to be 120 based on the trees. Finally I tried the Blue Tees series 3. Clicking the button once on the top of the rangefinder I got an instant pin lock and a slight vibration from the unit to confirm. The distance showed 122 to the pin with slope adjusted to 129. Looking at the 3 distances I got 115, 120, 129 those are 3 completely different clubs and shots in my bag. I would have come up short using my self calculated or the cheap rangefinder yardages. Using the Blue Tees distance I pulled out my 9 iron and hit it to 5 feet. ( I missed the putt but that is another issue!)
If you are like me and occasionally play in some competitive events throughout the summer, slope is not allowed when using a rangefinder. Having the slope switch on the side of the rangefinder leaves no doubt in your playing partners mind that it is off and you are compliant. This is a feature not to be overlooked and one that I have not previously had on rangefinders that I have owned.
A feature that warrants its own discussion is the built in magnetic strip. I didn’t know what I was missing until I had it! If you have owned a rangefinder in the past and are like me I am always scrambling around the cart to figure out where I left it. Is it in the cupholder, the front compartment, on the seat, or in the basket. Well wonder no more… with the built in magnetic I always know where I am leaving this now, right on the metal bar for the windshield. The convenience of this cannot be overstated. It was so easy to grab and leave the rangefinder on the metal bar. I was nervous at first, watching like a hawk to make sure it didn’t fall off when I hit any bumps or stopped the cart around the green. No issues at all, the rangefinder stayed on the cart with no issue for the entire round. I filmed a quick video over choppy ground so you could get a sense of the magnets strength. Check out the video below.
The Bluetees Series 3 is currently on sale for Christmas and for the current price point I cannot recommend this unit enough! If you are looking for a present for yourself or the golfer in your life you will not be disappointed. This is one of the best rangefinders I have ever used and will make such a difference in your golf game.
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