15 May

>My Favorite Golfing Rangefinder, the Bushnell Pinseeker 1500

Steven K. Ledin,


The first thing to know about purchasing any laser rangefinder is that the maximum ranges listed for a particular unit are for use with large, smooth, reflective targets under ideal atmospheric conditions, which means cloudy and clear. You may get a reading of 1000 yards off a light colored building, but only be able to read a tree or a deer at half that distance or less, and a flag on the green at a couple hundred yards maximum. Golf rangefinders are first priority rangefinders, meaning that they read the closer of two objects in the aiming area.

The Bushnell Pinseeker is my favorite golfing rangefinder for many reasons. The first reason is that it offers a bright, clear picture. Many rangefinders start off in the negative column because they don’t even let you see clearly enough. The Pinseeker also has 7x magnification. This means that the objects you are looking at seem 7 times closer than what your unaided eye sees. This is an appropriate amount of magnification for a laser rangefinder that has the capabilities of ranging up to an amazing 1600 yards on large, reflective surfaces under ideal atmospheric conditions. It will also range a tree at 1000 yards, and a flag up to 400 yards. Sorry, Tiger, even your best drives won’t go that far. The tremendous ranging capability of the Pinseeker is the second reason it’s my favorite.

The third reason is the reticle, or aiming point. I love it. It is a simple circle that you place around the object you want to range and hit the power button. Your distance is immediately shown in the LCD screen in large, easy to read numbers.

The fourth reason I like the Pinseeker so much is that it is so simple even a duffer like me can use it without thinking about how to work the thing. Some rangefinders have so many electronic options and modes and lines and stuff cluttering up your viewing screen you may think you’re looking through the cockpit of a jet fighter. I don’t pretend to be the sharpest tool in the shed, but simple is better in most cases.

The size of the Bushnell Pinseeker may initially seem like a drawback because it’s a bit larger than others on the market. Wrong. It is a very big plus, with no detriments. The larger size makes it extremely easy to hold on distant targets with both hands. A golf rangefinder is also not something that you will carry on your belt. It stays in your bag. If you need to be dropped off by your ball while your partner takes the cart to his, you can always loop the lanyard around your neck or just carry it. It is not obtrusive.

The Pinseeker option targets the flag only, and not the background. When in the Pinseeker mode and you hit the power button to get a range, a circle will surround the small icon of a pin and flag in the lower left side of your screen. This is telling you that the trees 30 yards behind your flag are not being targeted, but rather just the flag. With the Pinseeker mode off, you can use the scan mode. Hold down the power button and scan the unit and get a constantly changing reading. If, for instance, you are in scan mode and you start from the left of the flag and slowly move it to the right to the flag, your rangefinder may read the woods behind the green and display, say, 90 yards, 89, 88, 87, 86, and then all of a sudden you come to the flag and it reads 60, you know you just positively read the distance to the flag.

The Pinseeker comes with a classy soft case with a magnetic closure and a waist strap, a lanyard for the unit, and easy instructions. Like I said, even I find it easy to use. The Bushnell Pinseeker gets my highest recommendation for a golfing rangefinder. I also recommend getting the model with the “slope” feature if you are not competing in tournaments. The “slope” feature is a digital inclinometer and gives the exact horizontal distance to the ball or flag, and compensates for inclines and declines. Line of sight distance down a steep hill may read 180 yards, whereas the horizontal distance may be 30 yards less. It helps to choose a club more accurately. Beware, the “slope” edition is illegal for tournament use whether in the “slope” mode (which you can turn off) or not. You may not even legally have a “slope” edition in your bag. The Pinseeker without “slope” is the Tournament Edition number 205102. With the “slope” feature it is number 205103.

Bushnell also offers a golf cart mount as an accessory. It is item number 203119. It attaches the rangefinder to your golf cart for easy access, and has a quick release clamp. Another optional accessory is the Push/Pull Cart Mount number 201612. This is an adjustable accessory that inserts into the golf cart umbrella holder and the bottom of any rangefinder with a tripod socket to help steady it. The excellent case that comes with the Pinseeker is also sold separately and will fit any rangefinder regardless of brand. This is number 203120. Any one or more of these accessories may be worthwhile options for your Pinseeker or other rangefinder.
By the way, Sergio Garcia is the spokesperson for the Bushnell laser rangefinders. If it’s good enough for Sergio….

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