Gear Review: Bushnell Tour v3 Slope Edition

What you see and hear is a caddie and a pro in animated conversations that always include one thing: distance to the pin. What you don’t see is a Bushnell laser rangefinder (rangefinders are prohibited in tournaments), which determines those distances during practice rounds. Here’s a review of the Tour v3 Slope Edition that jolts when locked into the target.

Of all the stuff I carry in my bag for every round, I use this gizmo more than any club except my putter — and with far more reliable results. I’m not alone; 90 percent of pro caddies use a Bushnell laser rangefinder to determine distances from various points on each hole to the pin.

During practice rounds, you can bet that one of these hand-held, godsend devices is in the apron pocket of each caddie. The pros bank — literally — on the Bushnell Tour v3 Slope Edition Laser Rangerfinder, and here are three reasons why you should as well (and one reason why you should’t):

  1. You become the alpha dog. Golf guys especially are gear dogs, and the guy with the most and latest gear barks loudest. Sad but often true. Well, when you pull out your Bushnell Tour v3 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder on the first par 3 — or the first big water carry or the first tee box with a nasty bunker in the landing area — you’ll command the stage. Everybody will want to know the exact distance to the pin, and everybody will look to you. And you will know, exactly, because this is accurate to a yard, unlike a GPS rangefinder. And the Slope Edition gives you not only the actual yardage but also the yardage the hole is playing because of the slope up or down to the pin. Sometimes the slope yardage means a one-club difference from the actual yardage.

  2. It jolts when you lock into the target. I’ve had the Tour v2 Slope Edition for five years and have loved everything except this: I didn’t always know if I was locking into the target or a tree behind it. I had to make two or three readings to be sure. With the v3, I know when I’m locked in because I feel and hear a jolt, thanks to the Bushnell’s PinSeeker Technology with JOLT. Very cool and very satisfying.

  3. It’ll last longer than your driver. A driver and the Bushnell Tour v3 Slope Edition Laser Rangefinder ($399) cost about the same, but it will outlast your driver and probably your next driver as well. Bushnell products have excellent quality and durability. It comes with a battery and a zippered, hard case that clips to your bag.

What I don’t like. The cost is a bit much, but the main thing I don’t like is accessing the v3. Unzipping and then zipping the case with each use is a bother, especially when feeling pushed by a trailing group. Because of this, I’m tempted by the Bushnell Golf Neo X or Neo XS GPS Watch. Just glance at the watch to get distances to the front, center and back of the green on 30,000+ courses. It is GPS and therefore not as accurate as a laser rangefinder, and it lacks the slope feature. But it’s quick and convenient, and it has an alarm for waking you for those early rounds and an odometer for measuring the miles you walk per round.

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