If you're a better player, then having a laser rangefinder is a must. As opposed to a GPS app or separate unit, a laser rangefinder will give you the ability to pick out targets and shoot them on the fly. That's crucial to dial in on money shots, including approaches inside 125 yards, pitch shots and par-3 tee balls.
In picking a laser rangefinder, you're going to assume a certain set of features: accuracy to 400 yards or more, a simple press-and-shoot interface, an adjustable eyepiece, that it's battery-operated. Beyond that, everything else is left to personal taste. And if you're one of those players who likes to know distances to more than the stick, the Golf Buddy LR5S is for you.
The Golf Buddy LR5S has two distinct features that you're simply not going to find on every GPS.
First is a slope-influenced distance calculation, with the unit displaying the actual distance to a target and the estimated distance the shot would play based on slope. Some folks prefer to do that math mentally, but it's an excellent feature, especially on very hilly courses with dramatic elevation changes, particularly on approach shots. Think about that 30-foot-downhill par 3 you play.
The other, and this is the bigger feature, is scan mode, which by activating, allows a user to dynamically scan targets inside the scope to get a reading on what to shoot for and avoid around the hole. It does it for a 10-second window, displaying the slope-adjusted distance in the main display, with the actual distance and height calculations to the right side of the display. This is great when trying to figure out how much wiggle room between the pin and the edges of a green or the distance to get over a bunker to find a green.
The LR5S is light and comfortable in the hand. It's easy to use, including adjusting between standard, scan and pin mode with the press of a button. However, the display is black, which can be a little difficult to read in certain types of sunlight and shooting particular targets. A red display, as found in rival Bushnell products, is a much more eye-friendly choice, but it's not a huge detriment to using the product.
The Golf Buddy LR5S is available now at golf stores most everywhere, ranging fairly wildly in price from $250-$360.