What is the Difference Between a Golf and Hunting Rangefinder

Understanding the differences between a hunting and golfing rangefinder are important for those looking to invest in this piece of equipment. Both the hunter and the golfer will benefit greatly in the acquiring of a rangefinder if they choose one wisely.

While this article is meant to help you understand the differences between a hunting rangefinder and a golfing rangefinder, understanding their similarities can help shed light on where they truly diverge. However, as a result of the focus of this article, minimal time is spent on this portion.

  • Both types of rangefinders will be found to have a weather-resistant/water-resistant casing.
  • Both types may come with a lanyard or lanyard attachment capabilities.
  • Both types may come with a carrying case to ease in storage or transportation.
  • Scan mode can be found with both rangefinders and will prove to be a great benefit to hunters and golfers alike.
  • Magnification abilities will carry over at times.
  • Lens quality will carry over at times.
  • Battery life will carry over at times.

Differences in first and second priority mode

For the golfer, the first priority mode or closest reading rangefinders are a smart choice. These rangefinders will focus on pulling up a distance reading based on the closest target in the reticles.

If you are a golfer, this will be important for you because the vast majority of your time will be spent in clear areas. Often you will have a clear look down the course at where you want to hit your ball or maybe even at the pin itself.

As you know, from a considerable distance away the flag pole is very thin and often the flag is flapping in the wind or turned away from you. This will create a very narrow area for you to get a read on with a rangefinder.

This poses somewhat of a problem because both the hunter’s and golfer’s rangefinders operate by projecting infrared laser lights. Multiple tightly condensed lasers are sent out from the device that then reach the target and bounce back to the rangefinder to give you an accurate reading.

However, these lasers often hit multiple objects along the way. For instance, if you are golfing and aim at the flag pole in an attempt to get a read on the hole, the lasers will most likely hit the flag pole and whatever else is off in the distance behind it.

Chances are you don’t want to know the distance to an object behind the hole but rather to the hole itself. It is at this point that the golfing rangefinder finds its value and place in the hands of a golfer. This device will get a read on the closest target, i.e., the hole rather than what the lasers may have hit in the distance.

In the event that you are hunting, picking up on the closest object could pose a problem. So there you are in the prone position in your ghillie suit or in your stand tucked away out of sight. All of a sudden, a deer pops up in the distance.

This deer is somewhat obstructed. It emerged into your field of view from behind a rock but is still largely hidden. The deer is now exposed with a decent portion of its neck showing, but to the right the rock covers its entire body.

To the left the deer has his head mostly covered by thick brush. So there’s the picture: brush to the left, a rock to the right, and a small portion of the deer in between. As you aim with your rangefinder to get a read, the lasers hit the deer but also the brush and the rock.

The rangefinder at this point will pick up on the deer as it is behind the brush and behind the rock. Situations like this abound for the hunter, and, as a result, manufacturers have zeroed in on how to gain proper reads in the field.

Simply put, the hunter’s or second priority rangefinder is built to pick up on targets behind obstructions. Steven L. at opticsplanet.com tells us that you could technically use them interchangeably, but they were not designed for that purpose.

Differences in range capabilities

Range capabilities are also different between the two types of rangefinders. The golfer has no real need to gain a distance reading on something that is 1000+ yards away. As a result, golfing rangefinders are made on the relatively lower end of distance reading capabilities.

Some carryover exists here as golfing and hunting rangefinders can be purchased to gain reads on around 500-600 yards or less. However, commonly-purchased hunter’s rangefinders are found to reach far greater distances, and a helpful tip can be found here:

This is an important point of differentiation as the hunter may frequently have a target that is further than what the golfing rangefinder could pick up.

In closing

A number of factors carry over between the two differing types of rangefinders. This will vary from rangefinder to rangefinder and sometimes may depend on how much you are willing to pay.

Both the hunting and golfing rangefinder can be purchased with a good set of lenses, differing magnification possibilities, carrying cases, lanyards, a rugged weather-resistant case, etc.

However, the major differences are found in the internal structure of the equipment in the form of first or second priority mode and their maximum distance reading ranges.

If you are an avid golfer, finding a device that is built with a first priority mode will be important. On the other hand, the hunter will benefit from the second priority mode. Hopefully this has helped as the differences are not as major as they may seem.

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