Is Slope In A Rangefinder Worth It? | Simple Guide

If you’re an avid golfer, then you know that every little advantage can make a big difference on the course. That’s why many golfers choose to use rangefinders with slope features. But is this technology really worth the extra money?

In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using rangefinders with slope features to help you make a decision for yourself. We’ll also provide some tips on how to get the most out of this technology if you decide to invest in it.

So whether you’re a weekend warrior or a scratch golfer, read on to learn more about using rangefinders with slope features.

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What is slope in rangefinders?

First, let us get something straight. There is slope in golf, and then there is slope in rangefinders.

Slope in golf, also known as slope rating, measures how challenging a course is for a higher handicap golfer than its difficulty for a lower handicap golfer given by a mathematically calculated number.

Now, let’s talk slope in terms of rangefinders. A slope is a change in elevation between two points.

When you are on the golf course standing downhill from a flag, think of it as on the sharper end of a right-angled triangle while the flag is on the higher side. Now, if you know anything about geometry and right-angled triangles, you can guess that the base of the triangle, which is perfectly horizontal, is always shorter than the slopy side, as known as the hypothenuse.

So, you need to understand that the difference between the length of the base and the hypothenuse plays a great role in your determination of the club to use, the force of your shot, spin, and more. And all this knowledge to calculate slope and accuracy can greatly affect your game.

a man wearing a hat stands with a golf rangefinder in his hand

Slope vs non-slope rangefinder

So, what is the difference between a golf rangefinder and a golf rangefinder with slope?

A regular rangefinder measures the distance between two points. Most golf rangefinders accomplish this by shooting a laser at a distant object and computing the length by the time taken for the laser to bounce off the object back to the rangefinder. It’s a pretty simple concept to understand if you are somewhat mathematical.

Rangefinders with the slope function tend to be more expensive than regular golf rangefinders. Of course, the extra feature should add to the cost. Also, recent models can disable the function, leaving it as limited as the regular rangefinder.

Is a golf rangefinder with slope accurate?

Most golf rangefinders with slope are accurate within one yard. Many factors can affect the accuracy of a golf rangefinder with slope, including light conditions, body position, and presence of obstacles. When using a golf rangefinder with slope, it is important to hold the device steady and aim it directly at the flagstick.

For best results, use a rangefinder that has been specifically designed for golf. Some rangefinders come with features such as a built-in compass and Read Ricochet Technology, which can help to ensure even greater accuracy.

A man stands with a golf stick on his shoulder and looking for a ball with bushnell pro xe golf rangefinder

Should you buy a rangefinder with a slope?

Buying a rangefinder with slope is not a bad idea if you have the budget for it. However, there are more things to consider than just the budget. Let’s now look at some reasons why buying one may or may not be the best decision.

What’s your skill?

First, how skilled are you in the game of golf? If you are a beginner learning the rudiments of the game, or you play once in a while for fun, then you have no business getting a regular rangefinder talk more of one with slope. However, if you’re serious about the game as a hobby or play professionally, a rangefinder with a slope can be very useful in your practice sessions and time out with friends and family.

Slope calculation

Now, most professional competitions do not allow rangefinders with slope, only the rangefinders without slope. Although some competitions may allow slope enabled models, you will have to disable the slope calculating function. If you want to play professionally, see the slope function as an extra practice tool to help you get used to estimating deeps and rises.

Elevation variations

The next point to consider is where you play. If the golf course you usually play on is relatively flat, you don’t need a rangefinder with slope. However, if the course in your area has challenging steeps, hills, and valleys, the rangefinder with slope is great equipment to have. It can be the edge you need in a friendly competition. If you especially love challenges and travel to different golf courses around the world, go with a slope computing rangefinder.

Finally, if you want an advantage your general performance, as we’ve learned, the rangefinder with slope improve the shot angle . This is the main reason why enabling the slope function in most professional competitions is disallowed.

is slope in a rangefinder worth it

Is a rangefinder with slope illegal

According to the USGA (United States Golf Association), using a golf rangefinder with the slope function enabled is illegal and grounds for immediate disqualification. This is because the slope feature could give players an unfair advantage by providing yardage information that goes beyond simply measuring the distance from the player to the hole.

While the USGA’s stance on this issue is clear, it is ultimately up to each individual tournament organizer to decide whether or not to allow rangefinders with slope features. So if you’re planning on playing in a tournament, be sure to check with the organizers ahead of time to see what their policies are.


How much does slope affect distance in golf?

Slope increases the total distance the ball will travel between points on the course. It affects the kind of force you will put into a swing to allow the ball to drop precisely where you want to. If the slope goes up, you will need greater power in your swing than if the slope is going down.

Is slope rangefinder cheating?

Slope in a rangefinder is clearly an advantage if you are a skilled enough player. So, it is disallowed in most professional golf organizations or golf tournaments worldwide. If you enabled the slope function in your rangefinder when in tournament play with golf rules against it, you will be cheating and face the penalty. Otherwise, you are allowed to use your slope rangefinders as you wish.

Do high handicappers need a rangefinder?

High handicappers do need a range finder during practice. But rangefinders are not in most PGA professional tournaments.

Can I use a slope rangefinder in the rain?

Some models are waterproof. Others are not. However, a golf rangefinder will work normally in rainy conditions. But there is a chance of error in extremely heavy rain, and most golfers won’t play in such a condition.

Is slope rangefinder worth it all?

Rangefinders with slope are worth it if you usually play courses with challenging terrain. The rangefinder with slope can be used just like regular rangefinders.

Final thoughts

The best golf rangefinder slope will certainly give you an edge in your game and improve your overall score. So, if you want to get a rangefinder, why not go for one that can calculate slope. If you’re going to get better at playing golf or mastering a course, a golf rangefinder is a great tool you can use in practice. Besides, the beauty of the rangefinder with slope is that it does what the regular rangefinder does and then one thing more. So, for me, the rangefinder with slope is a definite buy.

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