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Golf Buddy LR5 laser rangefinder: A good buddy on the golf course

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Golf Buddy LR5 laser rangefinder
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With some practice, the Golf Buddy LR5 laser rangefinder will save you strokes. (Courtesy of Golf Buddy)

Laser rangefinders are now standard equipment for many golfers. If you know how to use them, they can speed up play and lower scores. Two keys to using laser rangefinders efficiently are 1, have it ready when you get to you ball, and 2, use it not only for the pin, but for bunkers, hazards, trees -- even the groups in front of you when you get to the tee (to determine when you can safely tee off).

The Golf Buddy LR5 ($300), the company's first laser rangefinder, comes with a handy rigid carrying case that hooks onto your bag and protects the LR5 from injury. So you can get it out and ready to use in a flash. More important, it also has a "scan" mode that allows for 10 seconds of continuous scanning to provide the distance of your target and anything in the surrounding area.

I took the Golf Buddy LR5 out to my home course for a few rounds to compare it to a couple of other rangefinders, and found it to agree completely with the others in terms of yardages. The scan mode was unexpectedly cool: moving the viewfinder around the target area provided continuous distances and had the effect of creating a sort of 3D mental map of the area. This, in turn, gave me some added confidence as my ball was in the air. Even if I didn't strike it quite right, I was able to predict where it would come down and what it might do when it did.

The Golf Buddy LR5's other mode, pin mode, operates like the target mode of most rangefinders: crosshairs just lock onto the target. Of course, you could just shoot a bunch of targets to get the same effect as with the scan mode, but it takes longer and is less convenient.

Golf Buddy LR5 laser rangefinder: The verdict

This is a high quality, accurate, and easy-to-use laser rangefinder. The scan mode is very handy, especially on unfamiliar courses or ones with lots of hazards/obstacles surrounding target areas and greens. With some practice, it'll save you strokes.

Golf Buddy also offers an LR5S model ($350), which calculates elevation changes into the yardages, but that function is not allowed for rounds entered into the USGA handicapping system.

For more information, visit golfbuddyglobal.com.

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Golf Buddy LR5 case

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.

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