What do guns and golf have in common? The technology in many of the best rangefinders used on the golf course comes from rifle scopes and range finders made for hunting and military use. The latest offering from optics company Leupold has taken golf rangefinder technology to the limit with its new model – The GX-4i2 Rangefinder.
The GX-4i2 Rangefinder is light, compact and well made. Leopold’s Smart Key technology now conforms to USGA Rule 14-3 concerning distance measuring devices. It also features an improved PinHunter 2 Laser and a bright, vivid OLED display. Add to that some proprietary features such as True Golf Range (TGR) and Club Selector and you have a virtual caddy in your pocket.
The GX-4i2 can be tailored to your own personal ball-striking abilities, or used for tournament play when permitted by local rules simply by switching out the smart key plate. The silver chrome faceplate disables the TGR and slope features to make it simply measure distance, making it legal for tournament play according to USGA and R&A rules.
However, the real fun starts when you install the yellow plastic smart key. The mini-USB key enables all the cool wiz-bang features for use in casual golf or tournament practice rounds. True Golf Range is a set of algorithms that help the user select the correct club for each shot. To use it, you input the current temperature, altitude you are at and how far you typically hit your 4, 6 and 8 irons. Once your data has been entered, the GX-4i2 measures distance and slope, then recommends the right club to hit. So far in my testing, the GX-4i2 has been very accurate in selecting the proper club. Of course there are variables it can’t take into account that affect distance – like wind, course conditions and other intangibles such as player confidence and adrenaline, but for the most part it has been very accurate on the relatively flat courses here in Florida. I would love to test it further in the mountains where courses have more slope and altitude is a factor. I would send it over to my friend Tony from Hooked on Golf Blog in Utah for some high altitude testing, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t get it back!
The Leupold GX-4i2 isn’t cheap at an MSRP of $599, but you get a very high quality rangefinder that can be used for tournament play or casual golf with the TGR feature enabled. It measures distance in yards or meters, works even in foggy conditions and is waterproof in case it rains. The optics are top notch, very clear and red OLED display is very bright and easy to read in all lighting conditions. The device is very light and compact, making it very simple to use. Leopold crafted the GX-4i2 from aircraft grade aluminum to ensure that it will last. The only concern came from some of my older friends that had trouble keeping it steady enough to capture the pin. If the flag stick has a reflective prism installed, the GX-4i2 will lock in on it very quick. Without a prism it may take a few shots to get it right. In terms of accuracy, the GX-4i2 is probably the best on the market. Leopold claims accuracy down to 6 inches at up to 800 yards off a reflective surface, and 450 yards off a pin.
If you are willing to shell out 600 bucks for premium quality optics, precision laser accuracy and class leading technology all wrapped in a solid, compact package, the Leopold GX-412 is the model for you. Simply put, it’s the best golf rangefinder I’ve ever used.