Future Perfect

Handheld laser rangefinders can actually help you lower your score. ¶ Let’s say you’re in the rough, maybe a 6- or 7-iron away from the hole, but you need to carry a high-lipped bunker. The cart’s GPS screen tells you the distance to the hole, and maybe the distance to the middle of the bunker. Same with a high-end GPS watch or mobile app. But you need a precise distance here to determine which iron to play.

Well, a laser rangefinder can quickly visually lock onto that bunker lip and instantly relay the exact carry to the yard, which may well be the difference between making par or hitting out of the sand trying to salvage a bogey.

Problem is, laser rangefinders are expensive. And that’s why Shot Scope, an Edinburgh-based brand best known for its value-minded golf GPS+Performance Tracking watches that relay general target distances while tracking your every shot with detailed analyzed data, has entered the laser rangefinder market with the new PRO L1 ($199). Where many such models will set you back closer to $500, the Shot Scope does it all for a lot less.

“It’s a great price point, especially when you consider that its features are typical of much pricier models,” said Gavin Dear, the company’s chief commercial officer. “It’s your usual laser rangefinder in that it’s got adaptive slope technology adjustment which helps you get the true playable distance in all terrain types, and it’s got your vibration target lock to let you know when it’s found the yardage.”

But the biggest difference, Dear said, is it gives you the red and black dual optics display in its crosshairs. “That differentiates it from everything else around that same price point. So when you look through the eyepiece, which by the way is adjustable, the display numbers and graphics can be set to appear in either black or red. We offer that option because the red stands out against the background, so it makes the display much cleaner for you to see.”

It’s quite a neat feature. “We’ve found that once somebody tries using a laser with red numbers, they don’t go back to the black ever again,” Dear said. “Again that’s something that you would only see in a $400 or $500 model, and there are only a couple of models that have it.”


The PRO L1’s accuracy is outstanding, as well, showing you exact distance to within one-tenth of a yard up to 875 yards away. It locks in the yardage within 0.6 seconds, as well, a feature typically only available in expensive models. The precision clear lens shows 6X magnification through the eyepiece, and is easy to see in all light environments and weather conditions. And of course, the slope adjustment can quickly be toggled on and off, to comply with tournament regulations.

The rangefinder’s main body is black, water-resistant, and comes in two color accent choices: blue or gray. The portion you hold is textured and rubberized, for easy gripping that makes it far less likely to slip even when it’s wet. “It’s made of a mixture of reinforced plastic that we use on our watches and a rubberized material for gripping,” Dear said. “It’s very durable, like our watches.”

It comes with a premium carry case, lanyard, carry clip, and lens cleaning cloth. You can easily attach it to your golf bag for convenient access. It weighs less than half a pound, and operates on a CR123 battery that will provide approximately 5,800 readings before it needs to be replaced. Plus, it conforms to the USGA Rules of Golf.

“We studied the rangefinder market for the past 18 months,” Dear said. “We really felt that there wasn’t a lot of value for the money in the $400-to-$500 category. And we thought we could do exactly what premium models could do, but come in with a really great quality laser rangefinder for less than $200.”

The PRO L1 helps complete the golf distance reading line from Shot Scope. “It’s taken us 15 months to get the laser rangefinder to where we wanted it to be,” Dear said. “We’re really happy with how it turned out. And it perfectly compliments the GPS watches in our line. It helps us expand our brand. We have some loyal watch customers who don’t want to always wear a watch out on the course. They’ve asked us what other products we have — in some cases, they just wanted to have a laser as well as the watch — to get exact distances. So the products are quite complimentary.”

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