REVIEW: Golf Buddy LR5 Laser Rangefinder

How much does accuracy matter?

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When considering the purchase of a rangefinder, gps or laser, the question that is pretty important is “How much does accuracy matter? If you have good eyes and can judge distance pretty well you might be able go guess that you are around 160 yards to the pin. You can use the old “pace-it-off” method from the sprinkler heads. If you’ve moved up in the world of technology you’ve maybe used a GPS to give you front, back and middle yardages or if you want to know down to the exact tenth of a yard, you have a laser. Golf Buddy has added laser to their line of rangefinders. Their motto is “Accuracy Matters”. So how accurate are they?

Golf Buddy has been making very good GPS rangefinders for years. I’ve used a number of them and really like them. They were easy to use and gave a great deal of information about the hole I was playing. I always seemed to fall back to lasers though because I forget to keep GPS charged round after round. While some of my rounds are planned in advance, sometime I just grab clubs and go. The benefit of laser is that I can put a battery in it at the beginning of the season, it typically will last the whole season of 75+ rounds. The Golf Buddy LR5 seems to be in line with other lasers I have used; about 10 rounds in and no signs of the battery losing any juice yet.

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The Golf Buddy LR5 is one of the smallest and lightest laser rangefinders on the market. This is a great combo for walkers since every little bit helps on the back. It will fit in any bag pocket or pushcart glove box. Size and weight of laser rangefinders is always a personal choice. Some like big and heavy for more stability, while others like the small, lightweight ones that fit in your palm for convenience. The LR5 is light and small but a little thicker which makes the shape fit in one hand very nicely. The case is also excellent. The carabiner clip on the top of the zippered and looped case keep it ready for easy access anytime during the round.

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The optics are very clear in the Golf Buddy LR5 with a black LCD yardage display that is easy to read. It is not big or bold, but simple and easy. There are cross-hairs in the center that zero in on your target. The 6x magnification is more than sufficient to see a distant pin. There are 2 buttons, both on the top that allow you to change modes and acquire the target. The 3 modes are standard, scan, and pin. I used it in standard most of the time. I just locked onto my target and got the yardage. The scan and pin both hit a variety of targets over 10 seconds. The pin mode with pick out the closest object.

So how are $250 lasers different from $500 lasers? Speed is one of the noticeable differences. The

LR5 gets you the yardage in about the double or triple the time of more expensive lasers. What does that mean in the real world. the LR5 takes one full second compared to a 1/2 second or less with the costlier ones. It noticeable, but not a deal breaker. That split second means nothing to a 4-hour rounds of golf. Even if you laser every shot it might only add 1 minute to an entire round.

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The second issue is with consistency of distance. While I was never off by more than yard from my more expensive laser, it would fluctuate +/- 1 yard on the same pin. Again my game is not +/- 1 yard good anyways to not really and issue, but when you see three different numbers on the screen after shooting it a couple times, the accuracy isn’t as tight as more expensive lasers. While most lasers have a +/- 1 yard range, I didn’t get different yardages yard to the same pin with other lasers. For example, I shot a pin at 145, then 146 then 143 with the Golf Buddy, when it was 145 every time with an expensive laser.

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How much does accuracy matter to you? If you can live with +/- 1 yard then the Golf Buddy is an excellent option. I’m pretty sure most amateur golfers can’t hit that accurate anyways so the price savings and compact size make Golf Buddy a great choice. Considering the one battery per season/always readiness of laser; this is a great choice for distance. Laser is still the most accurate way to find the distance to the pin and the Golf Buddy LR5 is a solid product for your game.

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