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The Loop

The Loop

6 surprising golf-related uses for your camera, phone, rangefinder, and bifocals

December 12, 2014

During a recent Golf Digest assignment in Florida (at Streamsong Resort -- see "Buddy This!", in the January issue), my foursome was seated so far from the TV above the bar in the grillroom that no one at our table could follow what was happening in the World Series:

To deal with that problem, I periodically took a zoomed picture of the screen and enlarged the image until we could read the score in the lower left-hand corner:

The same trick works at golf tournaments, if you're standing too far from a leaderboard to see what it says. And you can use it when you yourself are playing golf and can't quite tell where the flag is on that green way up there.

You can also use it around the house -- when (for example) you need to read the serial number on a light fixture on the ceiling but don't feel like going all the way downstairs to get the stepladder:

I discovered this trick on my brother's father-in-law's boat, in Maine, on a day several years ago when we wanted to land at a dock on a small island but couldn't get close enough to the shore to read the phone number we were supposed to call to ask permission:

Somewhat similarly, if you wear bifocals you can turn them upside down when you need to take a close look at something above your head. (I mentioned this trick to an electrician friend, who told me that he owns a pair of trifocals in which the top and bottom sections are both for looking at things close-up.) And then there's this, when you're too old to get out of bed anymore, even for golf:

A laser rangefinder can function as a low-power telescope (mine is 6X). Quite possibly, that's strong enough to identify the idiot driving his cart along the edge of a greenside bunker two holes away, so that you can call the golf shop and report him. A rangefinder is good for on-course bird-watching, too. A few winters ago, at Lyman Orchards, we noticed a pileated woodpecker demolishing a dead tree directly above the tee on which we were standing. We passed around my rangefinder, and watched.