How to use a Rangefinder for Hunting and Golf [2023]

Rangefinders are a great tool to have when you’re either hunting or golfing. 

They can help you make your shot or hit your target.

These handy little gadgets are incredibly accurate, compact, and lightweight for easy portability.

To top it off, rangefinders are super affordable and you can get some pretty good ones at a reasonable price. 

However, if you require advanced features then the price of your rangefinder will go up.

The market is flooded with different types of rangefinders so you are bound to find one that meets your demands.

So how do you make use of and enjoy the benefits of these powerful devices?

In this article, we will discuss how to use a rangefinder for both golf and hunting.




Bushnell Pro XE Golf Laser Rangefinder, Black/Silver, Large
  • Range: 1,300 yards
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Weight: 20.48  oz
Callaway Hybrid Laser GPS Rangefinder 2018
  • Range: 950 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 7.58 oz
Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX Laser Rangefinder 7x25 mm (3,400...
  • Range: 3400 yards
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Weight: 4 oz


  • Range: 1200 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 6.3 oz

  • Range: 650 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 6.49 oz

What is a rangefinder and what are the different types?

A rangefinder is a device that can use various technologies to accurately measure the distance to the target for extreme precision whether you are golfing or hunting.  

To understand how to use rangefinder technology, we’ll take a look at the type of rangefinders available today.

Currently, there are three different types of rangefinders available. 

Laser rangefinder 

So how do laser rangefinders work?

Laser rangefinders make use of laser beam technology.

These units use beams of light to read the distance between you and the target. 

An invisible laser beam is sent out to the target and the unit measures the time it takes for the beam the bounce off the target and back.

These units are fairly easy to use and provide accurate measurements in the blink of an eye. 

GPS rangefinder 

GPS rangefinders basically bring together laser technology and GPS technology into one unit. 

They can show the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green and in some cases the distance to hazards as well.

They are best used in situations where the green is out of view or when you want to avoid hazards near the green. 

You can even find that some of these units track the distance between shots as you walk to your ball to help you with club selection. 

This can tell you how far you hit with each club and in time will help you remember your yardage with each specific club. 

Optical rangefinders 

Optical rangefinders are not very popular and are a bit outdated but they are still a great option when measuring the distance to the target. 

They work by using the principle of parallax, a form of triangulation to convert the size of an object to distance through pre-loaded scales. 

How to use a Rangefinder

Using a rangefinder includes a few basic steps.

  • Find your target
  • Aim the rangefinder
  • Activate the unit
  • Distance measurement shows up on the display.

How to use a golf rangefinder?

You can use a laser, GPS, or optical rangefinder when golfing.

Either one of these rangefinders can significantly help to improve your game.

These units will scan the landscape and acquire the distance to the target or targets like bunkers and other hazards while still being able to deliver accurate distance measurements.

They will help you play better and with ease thanks to most of them being equipped with some pretty advanced features.

Some of these units can come with the ability to compensate for any incline and decline on the course and club selection as well.

On the other hand, a few models come with pin seeking and target locking technology to make things easier when ranging to your target.

If you’re wondering how to use a golf rangefinder, have no fear.

We’ll take a look at how to use each type of rangefinder on the golf course so you can have a better understanding of these gadgets.

Laser Rangefinders

As previously mentioned laser rangefinders use laser beam technology to read the distance between the unit and the target.

While laser rangefinders are almost always accurate, ranging to reflective surfaces is better but in cases where your target isn’t the rangefinder may be accurate to +- 1 yard.

However, many golf courses are now attaching small reflective elements to their flagsticks on the course so you can get the exact distance to the hole.

To use these units

  • Power on the rangefinder
  • Choose the Mode that best suits your situation whether you want angle compensation or just line-of-sight distance
  • Then aim, focus, and activate the laser beam by pressing the button
  • Our measurement will show up on the display

GPS Rangefinders

GPS rangefinders need to connect to a satellite feed to determine your location.

From there, it will be able to read the flags, slopes, and flagsticks to help you better see what may not be visible to the naked eye.

These rangefinders can come pre-loaded with a vast amount of golf courses but if your golf course is not there, some will allow you to upload your course.

To use these units follow these steps.

  • Load the map of the course to the rangefinder if is not pre-loaded.
  • Power on your unit and wait for it to connect to the satellite to determine your exact location on the golf course.
  • Once it has completed the step above, select the target hole to measure the distance or adjusted angle compensation distance to the target.

Optical Rangefinders

Optical rangefinders are hardly seen today but they are still being used by some.

They are a basic tool that helps to calculate the distance between you and your target.

If you do choose to use one of these, do note that they aren’t as accurate as a GPS or laser rangefinder.

To use an optical rangefinder

  • You will see two lenses at opposite ends of the rangefinder that help you to focus on the object.  
  • Then use the focusing knob to overlay the 2 images on each other.
  • The knob is usually calibrated with the pre-loaded scale which then converts the reading to distance measurements.  
how do laser rangefinders work for golf

How to use a hunting rangefinder?

An accurate shot is guaranteed with the use of a hunting rangefinder because it delivers the exact distance between you and your target.

They can also help you to become an ethical long-range hunter who abides by the laws and lives by the principles of a good hunter.

You can use optical or laser rangefinders when hunting.

However, the most popular type used for hunting is laser rangefinders due to their remarkable precision and accuracy.

If you’re thinking to yourself how does a rangefinder work for hunting, let me give you that answer.

They work in the same way as golf rangefinders and follow the same basic steps.

The difference in hunting rangefinders would be the Modes that would be more suitable for hunting than golfing and the range.

Hunting rangefinders will be able to measure the distance to long-range targets and can include impressive magnification power to bring targets closer without spooking them.

Let’s say you need a rangefinder for your rifle, a rangefinder in the 600 to 1200 yards or more will be ideal.

On the other hand, if you are using a bow and arrow, a rangefinder with a range out to 800 yards is good enough.

Be mindful when looking at the range of a hunting rangefinder as the max range mentioned is for reflective targets.

Deer and other game animals aren’t reflective so the max range will not apply in these instances.

Hunting rangefinder gives you precise measurements that can provide you with the ballistic measurements for successful long-range shooting. 

Archers on the other hand will benefit from this since accurate measurements can help them when it comes to choosing the right pin on their compound bow.

Since these units are light, they are the perfect companion when on the go as they won’t add weight or bulk to your already heavy hunting gear.

Hunting rangefinders are usually sturdily built with strong materials and protected by rubber armor that further protects the unit and provides texture for better gripping of the unit.

They are built in such a way that they are able to withstand harsh hunting environments.

Some have lenses that are nitrogen purged to make the unit fog-proof while others come with waterproofing properties.

Waterproof units can withstand light rain and some take it to a whole new level and can survive being submerged in water as well.

Using a rangefinder for hunting purposes is really very simple and requires little to no practice.

Here are the steps to using a hunting laser rangefinder. 

  • Bring the rangefinder up to your eye
  • Look through the monocular lens
  • Located your target
  • Hit the button to power on the unit and bring up the crosshairs
  • Adjust the magnification power if you need to
  • Place the target in the center of the crosshairs and activate the laser.
  • Wait for your distance measurement to show up on the display of the rangefinder

Buying Guide to the best rangefinder

how to use rangefinder technology for hunting

To ensure you are getting the best rangefinder for your needs there are a few key features that are considered important that you need to pay attention to. 


This is one of the most crucial features that you should be paying attention to when you purchase your rangefinder. 

For golf,  your rangefinder should be able to measure the distance to the target up to 450 yards away. 

Your hunting rangefinder should have a longer range and should be able to range to targets 1000 yards away or more.


Magnification power is very important, especially when hunting. 

This feature allows you to bring the target closer without actually moving closer to the target to the point where they might get spooked and run away. 

A golf rangefinder with four times magnification is good enough however a hunting rangefinder should have up to six times magnification.

Size and durability 

In both units, whether it’s for golf or hunting you want your rangefinder to be small and durable so that it will be easy to carry around and can survive any slips or falls.

Look for units that can fit into your pocket without weighing you down or creating too much bulk.

Check to see that the material is strong and can be able to endure minor mishaps on the course or major mishaps in harsh hunting environments.

Additional features 

Additional features can include pin-seeking technology, angle compensation, and other advanced features that can help you on the golf course. 

Look for hunting range finders with additional features like a ballistic calculator, distance target priority mode, and other features that will be beneficial while hunting. 

Best rangefinders on the market

Bushnell Pro XE Golf Laser Rangefinder, Black/Silver, Large
  • Range: 1,300 yards
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Weight: 20.48  oz

The Bushnell Pro XE is possibly the best golf rangefinder you can find.

However, the price may be a bit too much for some but considering the features, this device is definitely worth its high price tag.

It comes with Pin-seeker technology, Visual Jolt technology, slope with elements, and other advanced features that put it in a class all its own.

Read more on the Bushnell Pro XE


Bushnell Pro XE Golf Laser Rangefinder, Black/Silver, Large
  • Slope with elements
  • Pin seeker with visual JOLT technology
  • Built in bite magnetic cart mount

Callaway Hybrid Laser GPS Rangefinder 2018
  • Range: 950 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 7.58 oz

The Callaway Hybrid rangefinder combines GPS and Laser technology to help you succeed on the golf course.

This unit is preloaded with up to 38,000 golf courses and comes with Pin-seeking technology to deliver amazing accuracy to the front, center, and back of the green.


Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX Laser Rangefinder 7x25 mm (3,400...
  • Range: 3400 yards
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Weight: 4 oz


The Sig Sauer is a powerhouse of a hunting rangefinder with amazing range and magnification power.

The best thing about this rangefinder is BDX Ballistic Data Xchange calculator.

Connect your phone via Bluetooth and download the free App to provide your BDX riflescope with an automatic illuminated holdover dot.

This is the ideal rangefinder for hunters since it was built with hunters in mind due to its rugged design, OLED display, and multi-coated lenses.


Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX Laser Rangefinder 7x25 mm (3,400...
  • This Sig Sauer Rangefinder is easy to use and features a 7 x 25 mm monocular with our trademarked...
  • This Kilo 2200 is an ideal hunting rangefinder for shooting, and works as a golf distance measuring...
  • Comes with BDX Ballistic Data Xchange built in, providing your BDX riflescope/Phone app with an...

  • Range: 1200 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 6.3 oz

The Aofar HX 1200T rangefinder is a tough little unit that can work for both rifle hunters and archers.

It is equipped with Angle and Slope Horizontal Distance Technology to compensate for uphill or downhill shots.

You will also find that this unit is pretty fast and it uses the latest Pin-seeker technology to guarantee you hit your mark every time.


  • Range: 650 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 6.49 oz

The Gogogo Sport Vpro is a laser rangefinder that can work for both hunting and golf.

It is available in two versions, one with a switch to turn off the slope function and one without.

The price between the two versions differs by just a few dollars so it is recommended to go with the one with the switch.

This way you can turn the slope feature off in the event you need to use the unit in a tournament.

Other features include PinSeeker technology, and a vibrating flag pole lock to help on the golf course.

For hunting, there are advanced features like continuous range readings, ARC (angle range compensation) and others.

Final thoughts

Now that you know how rangefinders work and how to use them, ensure you add one of these gadgets to your golf or hunting bag.

You will see drastic improvements in your game and shot placement whether you’re on the golf course or out in the wild.

These units are remarkably accurate, easy to use and carry around.

If you want to check out some more rangefinders, read the best hunting rangefinder post and the best golf rangefinder post.




Bushnell Pro XE Golf Laser Rangefinder, Black/Silver, Large
  • Range: 1,300 yards
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Weight: 20.48  oz
Callaway Hybrid Laser GPS Rangefinder 2018
  • Range: 950 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 7.58 oz
Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX Laser Rangefinder 7x25 mm (3,400...
  • Range: 3400 yards
  • Magnification: 7x
  • Weight: 4 oz


  • Range: 1200 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 6.3 oz

  • Range: 650 yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Weight: 6.49 oz

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