Playing golf is hard and knowing the exact distance you have to the flagstick or hazard can make the game a lot easier. Golf rangefinders give golfers of all abilities the information they need to choose the right golf club and golf shot at the right time.
But what about when you're playing hilly courses? How do laser rangefinders work then? This is where a slope function or slope feature becomes your best friend. These slope rangefinders will make an adjustment based how much incline or decline is between you and the hole. This can add or take away yards from your shot, which can be the difference between two or three clubs!
So do you need slope on a range finder for golf? I think that yes, you should buy a slope golf rangefinder, but let's learn more about this feature and see if we can make a solid decision together.
What is slope function on a range finder?
Slope mode on a golf rangefinder is a super cool feature and should improve your golf game. Slope basically means that the rangefinder will give you a distance which takes into account how much yardage the terrain in front of you will add or take away from the distance between you and the target.
For example, if the flag is on a slope above you, you will have to hit the ball further as the incline will stop the flight of the ball prematurely. So a shot which on paper is 165 yards could actually be 175 yards depending on the severity of the slope.
How to use slope on a rangefinder
Slope mode is by default switched off on a rangefinder and not all golf rangefinders have a slope adjustment mode. The reason slope mode has to be enabled is that it is not legal for tournament play. If you're playing golf casually then you can have slope engaged.
Depending on the model of your golf rangefinder, the slope function is usually switched on by pressing a button on the case of the unit. On my Precision Pro rangefinder, this is done by pressing the "Mode" button once. I know I have slope on as the display of the rangefinder shows "M2" or mode 2, which means the feature has been enabled.
To switch the slope feature off, simply press the mode button again. It's that easy.
A handy feature of most rangefinders with slope is that it will show you two yardages, one with and one without slope. This is good as it trains your eye to understand how inclines and declines on the golf course will affect your yardages. Then when you have to switch slope off for a tournament, you will be better equipped to adjust your game to what is in front of you.
Amateur golfers should benefit from this feature as it will reduce the chances of poor club selection. Many golfers calculate the distance to the flag by looking at on course yardage markers or with a golf gps watch or app. This will only give you part of the story and an optical rangefinder with slope is well worth having.
Are rangefinders with slope legal?
Yes slope rangefinders are legal - BUT you cannot use the slope feature for tournament play. Most golf courses won't check, but you could be asked to prove you have the slope function off if you play in an open at a golf course you're not a member at for example.
Best rangefinder with slope for the money
I have tried nearly every rangefinder on the market, from the cheapest fake copies, to the best golf rangefinders like Bushnell rangefinders, Leupold, Shotscope and Beyond.
I used the Inesis Tour 900 rangefinder for a long time on my channel and it was excellent. It's inexpensive and has a slope feature, pin lock and a magnet. It's a great option for the money.
But in my opinion, the best rangefinder with slope for the money is the Voice Caddie L5. It's super well made, looks really good and locks onto targets as fast if not faster than the Bushnell rangefinders I have used in the past. The slope reading it gives you is also super accurate. I intend to use this range finder in golf tournaments next year and it's one of the best distance measuring devices I own. Check it out!
Golf rangefinder with slope and magnet
The Shot Scope PRO LX+ is a super premium slope rangefinder which has a powerful magnet included, allowing you to attach it to a golf cart chassis when out on the course. I love this hybrid rangefinder as it gives you the best parts of both a laser rangefinder and a GPS distance measuring device. This is a cool feature to have as you have all of the relevant information right there in front of you, no need to switch between you rangefinder and GPS watch.
Final thoughts on do you need slope on a rangefinder for golf?
I don't see why you wouldn't buy a rangefinder with slope mode. They are a little bit more expensive, but the benefit you get from getting exact yardages to your target, regardless of the incline or decline in front of you is worth the extra cash.