Friday, January 28, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla.--Perhaps the hottest product in the golf business the last few years has been yardage finders. It's rare to play golf in a foursome anymore where at least one of the players doesn't have a laser rangefinder or a GPS unit. Bushnell Lasers are great because they supply exact yardage to the pin. GPS units are great because they supply yardage to the front, back and middle of the green even if you're in the trees or behind a hill and not in sight of the green. There are situations where you can't get a laser reading and at those times, wouldn't it be nice to have GPS?
Bushnell has a new rangefinder that combines the best of both worlds. It's the Hybrid, the standard Bushnell laser rangefinder. Piggybacking on the top of laser is a small GPS unit. So now you've got both options.
I tried out a Hybrid before the PGA Merchandise Show during a round at the Golden Bear Club at Keene's Point. I found myself using the GPS option most often on the tee box before I got out of the cart to see how long the hole was, since I don't know the course too well, and whether I'd automatically be grabbing the driver or maybe want to hit something else.
Another good reason to have both functions in one gadget is the backup it provides. I cost myself shots last summer several times because I got bad readings with my laser. That is, I screwed up and thought I hit the flagstick with the laser and got a reading but actually pinged a tree behind the green. So I got the wrong yardage and overclubbed. With the hybrid, I can check the laser reading with the GPS yardage and make sure I zapped the right target with the laser. It's a small point--except when you just made a goof like that. Then you're furious.
Naturally, you're going to have to pay a little bit more for this kind of luxury. The Hybrid's suggested price is $499.
(Photo: David Walberg/SI)

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