Gear: Bushnell Pro XE laser rangefinder
Specs: Accurate to within 1 yard from 500 yards away; with slope function, 7X magnification, waterproof, magnetic
Available: Late March
Bushnell has added more factors to its slope calculations to improve the accuracy of “plays like” distances, and the optics were improved to make hitting a target easier.
A good laser rangefinder makes playing golf faster and easier, because instead of finding yardage markers and stepping off distances, precise distances can be determined with the push of a button. Bushnell has tried to improve on that by enhancing the slope function in the new Pro XE.
For the past few seasons, slope functions in laser rangefinders have primarily worked in the same way, measuring the distance between player and target while measuring the angle up or down to work out a “playing distance.” With the Pro XE, Bushnell added temperature and altitude gauges that can add another layer to the equation. The company calls it Slope with Elements.
When faced with shots of the same length, players in Denver, where the altitude is above 5,000 feet, will get a different slope reading with the Pro XE than someone playing in Seattle, where the altitude is just below 200 feet. It also will compensate and give different read-outs for the same length of shot in Phoenix on a summer day versus a winter morning.
The Slope with Elements feature can be disabled, and the entire slope function can be turned off by shifting a button on the side of the unit to make the Pro XE legal for tournament play.
Bushnell also updated the optics, so looking through the viewfinder provides a clearer image. The seven-way magnification and LCD screen were designed to make the data collected by the Pro XE easier to read. When a player presses the button and hits the flag with the laser, the unit vibrates and a red circle appears, indicating the target has been acquired.
Finally, for added convenience, Bushnell put a surprisingly strong magnet on one side of the Pro XE. Instead of dropping the rangefinder in a cup holder in the cart between shots, players can attach it on any metal portion of the cart to keep it handy.