Rangefinder Modes and Their Benefits

When you are in a golf course, you will only need one thing from your rangefinder that matters – the distance from your position to the golf hole.

But expensive and cheap rangefinders have different methods to measure that range for you. And with many target modes and features that are available at your fingers, how are you supposed to know which one to choose and which one to ignore?

This article will guide you into the decision of making the most out of your golf rangefinders, choose the right target modes and help with your game.

Common Target Modes in Golf Rangefinder

The first thing you need to know that this article applies only to the rangefinder use laser, not GPS receivers, which use signals from satellite and do not need a different mode for targeting.

Nonetheless, all laser rangefinders have a simple and basic measurement of the distance to the target (usually the golf hole).

Laser rangefinders have different targeting modes to increase the measurement accuracy to help you adjust yourself for declines or inclines that could affect the distance to your hole, ignore the water droplets, zero to the flagstick.

First Target Priority

You will see that all laser rangefinders available in the market have the first target mode to measure the most correct range to your target. This mode will ignore all the background objects, including mounds, trees, and any objects in the middle of the line to your target that could disturb the target acquisition.

Pointing the laser using the first target priority mode will find the nearest point and bring you the nearest range. In a golf game, this will usually be the most useful target mode as your nearest range is normally the flagstick in the course.

Pin Seeking

Most of the rangefinder manufacturers improve the first target mode to obtain some more advanced specialized abilities.

They often come with the different brand name like PinHunter of Leupold, PinSeeker of Bushnell and AccuFlag of Laser Link. These pink seeking modes will improve the accuracy and decrease the time of measuring the distance to your flagstick so they will be worth it.

They will seek for then lock on the flagstick when using the first target mode, sometimes providing you a confirmation like the audio tone in Laser Link or vibrations in Bushnell’s rangefinders.

You will find back your confidence in the reading distance on rangefinders when you could use these advantages of pin seeking modes


Distant Target

Hunting rangefinders usually use this distant target mode as their standard modes but in a golf game, people often use them as second priority modes.

It will ignore the foreground distractions while acquiring the farthest range. When you play golf, you will want to know the range to your hole and normally this is the closest range, not the farthest. But sometimes it will benefit you when you have this mode in order to measure any target range you want as a versatile tool.

When you have rangefinders that provide this mode, you can use them in other activities like bird watching or hunting.

Scan Mode

It is a very convenient mode and you should look for this mode on every rangefinder you buy. When you go hunting, you will use it to track and get an update of ranges from the moving targets like deer. But while golfing, you will need it to track on moving targets like the opponent teams golf carts. Just kidding.

There is no need to trigger and hit each landmark or target every time you need to track and quickly measure the ranges of areas on the golf course. This mode will take care of you, remove the need for your finger work. You just need to point to the moving or stationary targets and it will provide the ranges displayed on your viewfinder.

This mode is a must-have in hunting rangefinders, but is it on golf rangefinder? The answer is no.

Newest rangefinders from Bushnell have this mode removed meanwhile GolfBuddy has improved this model in their rangefinders to make them even more easy to use. You could turn on the 10-second mode with one push while in traditional finders you will need to depress your firing button.

This scan mode will provide you a detailed range report in a golf game, too convenient to ignore.

Angle Compensation

This mode will increase the price of your finder for more than $50. It will measure the range to your target like all other rangefinders, but it takes into account the degree of decline or incline in the course, which is a factor that could affect the distance.

It is outlawed by USGA in official tournament games but you might find it useful in leisure or practice rounds.

It could even advice you on when and what club you should use, considering the factors of temperature, altitude or other conditions.

Rain or Fog Mode

There are not many rangefinder manufacturers that have this mode to help you in foggy or wet weather. But is it really a necessary feature or is it no more than a fancy mode that cost you a lot of money?

Do not be too skeptical or cheap just yet. When it’s raining, the particles could interfere with your ranging quality as the droplets could refract laser signals from your rangefinder, preventing it from measuring the range accurately.

But with advanced rain or fog mode technology, you still could obtain a true and accurate distance, making it worth every dollar.

Simmons rangefinders have reflector and rain targeting mode, Bushnell ones have Rain Mode while Leupold has Fog Mode. You should already know, as a golfer, that you can not expect a sunny weather every day on the golf course.

Your Caddie

Newest rangefinders have become more effective and cheap to replace the caddie. What else do you want when you could acquire an accurate range to your target?

With a rangefinder, you could get a correct and true range in sunny, wet or foggy weather, from the first target mode to scan mode.

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