As a Wisconsin-based blog I could not pass up the opportunity to review the Madison-based brand Laser Link Golf.
Laser Link is well-known for their pistol grip style rangefinders, but also offer a traditional model in the GS1. If you have ever taken a caddie out at Whistling Straits or Erin Hills you may have seen them using one of their rangefinders.
Their goal is to make rangefinders “simple, fast, and accurate” so any golfer can use them, and their motto is “Designed for you and the way you play the game.”
After getting a chance to test this rangefinder I couldn’t agree more with their vision statement.
Pulling the GS1 out of the box I couldn’t help but hear the “USA, USA, USA!” chants from the first tee box of the Ryder Cup. The red / white / blue color scheme looks absolutely great.
The profile of the unit is on the smaller side, which I like. The case is made of super-solid plastic with rubberized grips on the top and bottom. It is not overly heavy but definitely does not feel cheap.
I really like the case that comes with the GS1, as well. It has a nice, solid build and a hard rubber exterior. Not many people consider that when shopping for rangefinders, but it’s important because it’s what will be hanging on the outside of your bag.
Putting it to the test
To summarize what I found when taking the Laser Link GS1 out on the course…
The eyepiece knob adjustment on the GS1 is one of the stiffest I’ve used. Once you get it set, you shouldn’t have to adjust it again.
Internal information is displayed using black font and I had no issues with the read-out. There is a 6x magnification, and one of the coolest features is its ability to change target lines: You can choose from a standard cross, star pattern or circle. I really liked having that option and found the circle target dot to be very pleasing on my eyes to use.
There are 3 modes available on the Laser Link GS1 rangefinder:
- A scan mode for picking up targets
- A pin lock mode without slope measurements
- A pin lock mode with slope measurements
The GS1’s scan mode works by holding down the power button and provides really fast and accurate numbers as targets are selected on the course. This is one of the quickest responding scan modes I’ve tested.
Slope can be turned off using the GS1’s menu settings. There is no outside indicator to show if it’s on or off, though, which you’ll want to keep in mind if playing in USGA or other governing body sanctioned events that don’t allow for slope functionality. So, make sure you know how to turn it off.
I compared measurements from the GS1 against 4 other rangefinders on the course and found that the distance, both slope and non-slope adjusted, were within 1-2 yards of all other models.
Pin locator was fast at around 1 second and the vibration on the unit is good for confirming lock. I do not have trouble with shaky hands but did test it for those who do. I found it to be the best rangefinder I’ve worked with so far at picking up targets when there is a little shake in your hands. This is an important point to keep in mind for golfers concerned with getting fast, accurate distances despite having hands that struggle to keep steady.
The GS1 unfortunately does not have a built-in magnet for attaching to a golf cart. I think that’s the only thing I’d change about it, though, and you can add one if it’s a deal breaker or use a strap like the Blue Tees rangefinder strap, reviewed here.
The slope feature calculates true distance to the pin based on elevation change. Think back (might be tough this time of the year) to the last time you played an uphill par 3. Did you pull a club based on the yardage listed on the tee box sign? If so, that yardage was likely a good starting point but not the true distance to the flag. Consider this sample image:
While not many par threes play 33 yards uphill, the above diagram should drive home my point: Having slope-adjusted distances available can make a big difference.
The GS1 with Slope is currently priced at $299, which I feel is on the higher end for this model. The features are comparable to some lower cost models but it does have a nicer build, quality and look.
It locked on to targets faster in pin and scan modes than most other brands I’ve tested, which is why I think the price point can be justified, and it’s the best unit I’ve seen for those with shaky hands.
Overall, this would be a great rangefinder choice for golfers of any playing ability.
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