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Golf GPS Devices: Perfect Golf Practice

Updated on November 1, 2010

GPS Device

Golf GPS rangefinder can improve your practice time
Golf GPS rangefinder can improve your practice time

Technology in Practice

For those that may not be familiar with golf rangerfinders, there are essentially two different types.  The first is a line of site laser which uses reflection of the laser off the flagstick to determine distance.  The other common rangefinder is the GPS type.  Both will help your scoring on the course by giving you a much better distance to the pin or center of the green than using your visual acuity. 

This article is not to disparage the line of site rangefinders as they are typically much more exact in their measurements than the gps models.  First off, they are inherently more accurate as well as the fact that they measure the distance to the flagstick itself.

The GPS models are typically accurate to within a couple yards.  Some are better than others.  However, there may be another yard or two difference in the actual placement of the pin.  There is something though that the GPS units can do that the laser ones cannot do....

Use The GPS For Practice

GPS units can be used for practice.  Within a couple yards, how far do you hit your 5 iron?  Do you know how far a crisp 8 iron goes normally?  On an "average" windy day, do you know how much distance you lose when hitting your 6 iron into the wind?  Or gain when hitting it with the wind?

Golf GPS units have a nice feature which allows you to walk off the distance you hit balls.  So if you go to an open field and hit several balls with your seven iron, you can go out and see how far your good hits travel. 

I do this in a couple ways.  Most of the time I go by myself and hit several shots with the same club.  Out of those you get a couple mis-hits which I do not count.  As for the others, I get distances hit for each of them and arrive at an average.  I will then take another club and do the same thing.  Typically I don't go through every club in my bag during a session but over the course of two or three practices, I can get my irons "calibrated".

Another way I do this is with the assistance of my son.  I hit balls in the same manner but this time my son hangs out near where the balls land with the GPS golf receiver.  He then gets both the distance the ball traveled in the air and then gets the overall distance.  This many times is my most important data.  It's not uncommon to get to an unfamiliar course and have to carry the water to a tight pin position.  I now have a pretty good idea of the carry distance of each of my clubs.  Of course execution of the shot is still needed.

It's actually quite amazing knowing how much know EXACTLY how far each golf shot is hit will help with scoring on the course.  If you aren't sure about that statement, think about how many times you hit a shot well, only to have it land a yard or two short and end up in a trap.  Usually its a matter of not knowing precisely how far the ball travels with each club. I found this recommendation to be quite helpful when I read it on

The other advantage is doing as I suggest but hit a few shots with and against the wind.  You won't have accurate wind measurements but it will give you a feel for the effects of the wind.

I have found a lot of good information and reviews of GPS rangefinders at  There are a lot of different varieties but all will work equally well during your practice time as suggested above.  Good luck and good golfing.


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