The drive sets you up right center in the fairway, which bends to the right, the green sitting at an angle with a left side well-guarded by two bunkers. You’re standing right next to a sprinkler that says 148 yards to the middle, and indeed the white flag—signifying middle placement— is waving in the breeze.
GPS devices give you general facts—distance to front, middle and back and perhaps some other key features such as creeks. But for the angle needed on this shot, you want to know specifics: 131 to top of the left bunker, 155 to the ridge dividing the green.
Such coordinates from tools like the Bushnell Tour v3 give precise carry distances to key spots. More information means more confidence.
Bushnell offers “security” of shooting. Meaning, when it hits the marker on the pin the unit vibrates, and the numbers through the viewfinder are spot-on. Other range finders can miss marks and give erroneous distances—what is said to be 153 yards can be 120. That’s a mistake you don’t want.
The Bushnell Tour v3 ($299 retail) is a favorite of PGA Tour caddies. For those who want more information, the Bushnell Tour v3 Slope ($399) also takes into account elevation changes. But be warned, these units do not conform to the Rules of Golf. That doesn’t stop caddies from using them prior to rounds, however.
Finally, be aware of a club’s traditions. Some private clubs bar the use of any range-finding device.