124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

I used my awesome new laser rangefinder to watch a chipmunk eating a mouse

June 24, 2016

I had an issue with the rubber eyepiece on my previous laser rangefinder. But my current rangefinder, a Bushnell Tour X, is great. It's the same one Rickie Fowler uses:

tourx rickie fowler.jpg

It's accurate and fast, it's easy to focus, and the eyepiece is firmly attached. I can set the LED display to either black or red -- a useful feature as light conditions change:

tourx modes.jpg

It gives my hand a satisfying "jolt" of haptic feedback when it locks onto a flagstick. And the battery life is seemingly measured in years. That fact alone makes it better than any GPS rangefinder, in my opinion. The Tour X comes with a hard zippered case that attaches to a golf bag and works pretty well, between shots, as a rangefinder holster:


The Tour X is little too big to fit easily into my pants pocket -- the only negative I can think of. I usually carry it in the compartment in the handle of my push cart, into which it just fits:


The Tour X has a slope-reading feature. When you aim it at a target that's higher or lower than you are and shoot the yardage, it tells you how much the change in elevation increases or decreases the effective distance. You can't legally use that feature (or use a rangefinder that has that feature) in events that allow rangefinders. But you can disable it, making the Tour X legal, by changing the face plate. The red one turns the slope feature on; the black one turns it off:


I'd always thought that measuring slope was kind of dorky, but my friend Ray, whose handicap is 3, told me that it's actually very helpful. He uses during practice rounds, and says it's quite accurate:


A Tour X is also useful for looking at stuff that's too far away to see clearly with just your eyes. I've used mine to identify birds and distant golfers whose swings I didn't recognize, and the other day I used it to get a closer look at a chipmunk that was sitting on a stone wall near our practice green and doing something I'd never seen a chipmunk doing before: eating a mouse.