GPS rangefinders are wonderful things. They give you the distances you need to make smart decisions. They give you the distances to hazards, to carry over the hazards. They give you distances to fairway targets, and of course the front, center and back of the green.
This information is vital if you want to make good decisions on the course. What they don’t give you is the strategy based on the conditions of the day, how you’re striking the ball, and the pin placements. They also don’t take any pressure into account if you’re playing a Nassau, a match against a buddy, or a tournament.
Some of you are lucky enough to play with caddies and if you to have a good caddy, he or she, can save you many strokes. But for those who don’t have our own caddies or get to play routinely with caddies we need some help making those decisions. If I’m playing a par 5, and I have 245 yards to the pin, 230 to the front, and 260 to the back I will know the distances I need to reach the green, but the rangefinder can’t tell me if it’s a smart decision.
Whether it is a smart decision depends on a number of variables. What’s the wind doing? If I’m playing into a 15 mph wind can I get there? How am I hitting it that day. Am I striping my fairway woods or hybrids? Am I fading or drawing the ball? Are there hazards near the green? Where is the pin, and is it near any hazards? How’s my wedge game that day? If it’s really on, it may be worthwhile to lay up to my favorite full wedge.
All of these factors need to be considered because my main objective is to leave myself in the best position for the next shot and to take a high number out of the equation.
What the GPS rangefinder does, is that it gives you the numbers you need to make decisions about where your target should be. Great course management combined with the data from the rangefinder will provide you with the best chance to shoot low scores. Simply using the rangefinder without the course management won’t necessarily help you make good decisions. And good decisions lead to low scores. When you can consistently make good decisions you can play well anywhere and on any course.