Pace of Play and the Laser: Bushnell Study

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  • kiwihackerkiwihacker Members Posts: 710 ✭✭
    So why do club courses have 100, 150 and 200 yard markers if we can all 'judge them with our own eyes'? Most people at my club don't use lasers. The majority either use the course markers or maybe have a GPS device. A quick, discreet glance at the GPS, grab the club for the shot and away you go. The majority of players who I know that do use lasers are generally better players who can hit precise distances. I can tell you the laser is much quicker than looking around to find the nearest marker and then pacing it off to their ball which is what they used to do before they all got their Bushnell lasers.



    I don't know why it bothers you so much. Does it affect your score?
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  • gloucesteroldspotgloucesteroldspot Members Posts: 45
    kiwihacker wrote:


    So why do club courses have 100, 150 and 200 yard markers if we can all 'judge them with our own eyes'? Most people at my club don't use lasers. The majority either use the course markers or maybe have a GPS device. A quick, discreet glance at the GPS, grab the club for the shot and away you go. The majority of players who I know that do use lasers are generally better players who can hit precise distances. I can tell you the laser is much quicker than looking around to find the nearest marker and then pacing it off to their ball which is what they used to do before they all got their Bushnell lasers.



    I don't know why it bothers you so much. Does it affect your score?




    No - it does slow down play though. I have an idea in the back of my mind that was the point of the thread.
  • ThinkingPlusThinkingPlus South TexasClubWRX Posts: 1,547 ClubWRX


    I hate lasers, GPS watches and all that nonsense. There, I said it. One of the skills of golf is being able to judge distance. Would you use a tape measure on the green to determine to the inch the length of a putt? Of course not - though maybe there are some who would if they could. So why is it a matter of feel inside an admittedly arbitrary range, and a matter of ballistics beyond that? Golf is in danger of becoming a military exercise, where distances, wind speeds, air temperatures and elevation are all plugged into a programmable machine that spits out a projectile on an exact trajectory, guaranteed to fall precisely on target every time. Except the machine isn't programmable - it's us. Human beings, with a tremendous capacity for developing instinctive skills if we let ourselves, and even greater ability to make a complete mess of the simplest task.



    Most iron sets have four degree increments, which equates to about 12 yards in distance. Suppose your six iron goes 170 yards and your seven iron goes 158 (purely random figures based on the average claims of typical golfers). You laser the pin at 164 yards. No wind, no slope, average air temperature and less than 1000 feet elevation. You have to choose between a hard seven and a soft six. That's feel. If you have it, you can pull it off; if not there's no point knowing the yardage to better than six yards either way. If you have it, you can judge distance as well.



    Ironically I see more 18+ handicappers wielding lasers than good golfers. I assume they haven't yet learned the skill of judging distance, which is fair enough. They usually cannot hit any club a predictable distance either, so it probably doesn't matter what the distance is. I have often waited for a playing partner to laser the pin, decide it's 178 yards, pull out a hybrid and top the ball into the rough fifty yards down the right side. It's funny, generates lots of abuse and we have a good laugh about it, but does it speed up play? No. He'd have topped it into the rough just as well without bothering to laser the pin first.


    You are correct that pace of play will always be minimized if the player only estimates distance by eye. However, no matter how poor a player is, they will always have the best proximity to the hole when hitting approach shots to the green if they have precise distance. It is pure mathematics.



    Laser rangefinders provide the most precise distance. Pace of play slows down slightly with a laser rangefinder or GPS. Pace of play is much slower walking off distance to course markers. If you wish to be the fastest golfer then by all means go with the Mark I eyeball. If you want to be a better golfer then a precise distance measuring device will, if the information is used properly, improve your scores.
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  • ShilgyShilgy Members Posts: 11,399 ✭✭
    edited Oct 20, 2018 #35
    Ri_Redneck wrote:


    I have seen many who can shoot the distance in a matter of seconds, But I also see some that not only shoot the flag, but the front of the green, back of trap, etc. They are far slower than I am with my Garmin Approach6 watch. I can't use a laser due to unstable hands.



    Perhaps that is what they're referring to?



    BT
    I do shoot a couple different targets on many shots. Don't think it slows me down though. Let's say I shoot the top lip of a bunker in front of a front pin and the flag itself. Takes just a few seconds. If all I'm shooting is the flag I would wind up waffling over club selection if unsure of the margin between bunker and green.



    Imo certainty speeds up play.



    Edited to add...I had a Garmin S4 watch for a while-lost it or stolen from bag and didn't replace it. Reason being there were just too many times the watch was 4-8 yards off. Not a big deal for me from 200 yards but with a wedge it was huge.
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  • jbucherjbucher Members Posts: 324 ✭✭
    I will say it does speed up play in most cases. Being able to shoot par 3s is good. A lot depends on who is using a laser or GPS. Fact is some folks just play slow. One thing i have yet to see brought up on this thread is the laser tagging folks out on the fairway to be sure they are out of range.

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  • farmerfarmer Members Posts: 7,853 ✭✭
    I can't hold a RF steady enough to get more than a range from,say, 215 to 165. You would be surprised at how unhelpful that is. A watch, on a strange course, would be very helpful.
  • dubbelbogeydubbelbogey Members Posts: 404 ✭✭
    While my posts above clearly state my opinion that lasers are a true benefit for quality and pace of play, here's an anecdotal story of how a laser did NOT improve my pace of play this past weekend. On the tee box of a par-3 for a course that I've not played in several years, so I had no relevant familiarity with the hole. One of my playing partners lasers the flag, and says it's 165. I didn't bother to double check, look at the yardage markers on the tee box or even apply the "eye test".



    I proceed to hit my usual 165 club, and the ball flies the green and proceeds to kick off the backside downslope of the green into a creek. Turns out his measurement was wrong - maybe he actually measured a tree behind the green - who knows. Doesn't matter - it was completely my fault for not checking. Lesson learned.
  • howellhandmadehowellhandmade Members Posts: 736 ✭✭
    nemoblack wrote:


    While my posts above clearly state my opinion that lasers are a true benefit for quality and pace of play, here's an anecdotal story of how a laser did NOT improve my pace of play this past weekend. On the tee box of a par-3 for a course that I've not played in several years, so I had no relevant familiarity with the hole. One of my playing partners lasers the flag, and says it's 165. I didn't bother to double check, look at the yardage markers on the tee box or even apply the "eye test".



    I proceed to hit my usual 165 club, and the ball flies the green and proceeds to kick off the backside downslope of the green into a creek. Turns out his measurement was wrong - maybe he actually measured a tree behind the green - who knows. Doesn't matter - it was completely my fault for not checking. Lesson learned.




    I sometimes wonder about the effect of lasering a flag which has a prism. My club has them at the top of the flags, which are, I dunno, 8 feet tall? The point to which you want your distance is on the ground, so when you laser a point above it your shot hit to that point (assuming you can do so) will travel some distance beyond your desired target, depending on the club/trajectory. Personally, I'm better off with the gps. I don't have pinpoint distance control, but if I can avoid coming up short or going too far, I have a chance. Best use for a laser for me, as noted above, is making sure that the group in front is safely out of range.
  • ThinkingPlusThinkingPlus South TexasClubWRX Posts: 1,547 ClubWRX

    nemoblack wrote:


    While my posts above clearly state my opinion that lasers are a true benefit for quality and pace of play, here's an anecdotal story of how a laser did NOT improve my pace of play this past weekend. On the tee box of a par-3 for a course that I've not played in several years, so I had no relevant familiarity with the hole. One of my playing partners lasers the flag, and says it's 165. I didn't bother to double check, look at the yardage markers on the tee box or even apply the "eye test".



    I proceed to hit my usual 165 club, and the ball flies the green and proceeds to kick off the backside downslope of the green into a creek. Turns out his measurement was wrong - maybe he actually measured a tree behind the green - who knows. Doesn't matter - it was completely my fault for not checking. Lesson learned.




    I sometimes wonder about the effect of lasering a flag which has a prism. My club has them at the top of the flags, which are, I dunno, 8 feet tall? The point to which you want your distance is on the ground, so when you laser a point above it your shot hit to that point (assuming you can do so) will travel some distance beyond your desired target, depending on the club/trajectory. Personally, I'm better off with the gps. I don't have pinpoint distance control, but if I can avoid coming up short or going too far, I have a chance. Best use for a laser for me, as noted above, is making sure that the group in front is safely out of range.


    The difference in distance is irrelevant. The difference in your eye height when ranging and the 8' high prism is maybe 3'. When you measure you get the hypotenuse of a long skinny right triangle. You actually want the long side of the triangle. So from 100 yards we would have tangent (angle) = 1/100 = 0.01 . Using the arctangent function we get an angle of 0.573°. The hypotenuse = 100 yards / cosine (angle) = 100 / 0.9995 = 100.005 yards. As you can see the error in true range using the prizms is 0.005 yards at 100 yards. The error will get proportionally smaller at longer distance. Thus no worries.
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  • DaveGoodrichDaveGoodrich Members Posts: 993 ✭✭


    How often are you held up by tour professionals on your course? Maybe in your world it happens every week, but it's never happened to me. All I get is 24 handicappers zapping the pin as a matter of course, regardless of whether they are fifty or two hundred and fifty yards away. Most of them couldn't hit a ten yard circle at a hundred yards anyway. My point is a laser is a tool that enables the player to precisely measure yardage, but unless he/she is capable of hitting any given yardage consistently, it's a waste of time. Furthermore, by the time you get good enough to hit consistent distances on demand, you can judge them with your own eyes - even if you can't put a number it. By the time you've hit ten thousand seven irons you should be able to superimpose the image of the shot onto the hole in front of you to see if it fits.




    I respectfully, but forcefully, disagree, especially with the part I bolded. Yes, we are aiming a shotgun, not a sniper rifle, but we are aiming, right? Just because we can't hit our numbers precisely every time, doesn't mean it isn't worth knowing the actual distances. Example: you "estimate" that its 150 to the pin, and 140 to carry the front bunker. So you pull your "145 club". But it turns out its actually 152 to the pin and 143 to carry the bunker, and you mishit your shot a bit so it only goes 142. Now you are in the bunker, (which isn't speeding up anyone's round, btw). if you had known the actual distances, you would have pulled your 155 club, and been pin-high, even with that same mis-hit. Knowing the actual distances lets you overlay your typical dispersion pattern over the green complex when choosing your club and your target. You can't really do that if you don't know where stuff is.



    Also, I've played with lots of very experienced golfers who have often tried to guess the distance to the pin as I am shooting it with my laser from the fairway or Par 3 tee. They are almost never within 10 yards (and are often 20 to 25 yards off when they aren't near yardage markers, etc.).

    Most guys probably can't even reliably tell the difference between a 35 and a 50 yard pitch. Like most of us, I have worked to learn a number of "stock" distances with my various wedges, so I want to know if its 35 or 50. It helps me to commit to the shot, which makes a major difference in resulting proximity to the hole.



    And I don't buy the idea that estimating distances by eye is one of the essential golf skills. If that were true, yardage books and caddies would be illegal too. If the game's inventor's could have trained their dogs to run to the pin while counting their paces, and report back the distances by barking from the green, they would have done it.
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  • larrybudlarrybud Members Posts: 11,230 ✭✭
    pholway wrote:

    sdandrea wrote:
    What really slows play is guys using a rangefinder that still can't break 100.....



    My wife comes home griping about players in her ladies leagues using a rangefinder from 40 yards out......




    That’s my favorite. The dude who lasers pitch shots. At some point it becomes about feel.




    Depends on the player. I'll laser from 20-30 yards if I'm pitching over a bunker and want to know how much room I have between the pin and bunker. I'm also a great short game player.



    I have played with guys where lasers slow them down, but that's because they are slow. One guy puts the laser in the case after every shot (what's up with that?). Then he walks over to his ball (without a club) gets the distance, goes back to the cart, takes 1 club with him, decides it's the wrong club, back to the cart... it's brutal.



    Obviously that's not the fault of the laser, but the player. I mean, you have a *pretty* good idea of your distance, within 10-15 yards, so take 2-3 clubs with you if you have to walk a bit, with your laser.
  • larrybudlarrybud Members Posts: 11,230 ✭✭
    edited Nov 10, 2018 #43


    I sometimes wonder about the effect of lasering a flag which has a prism. My club has them at the top of the flags, which are, I dunno, 8 feet tall? The point to which you want your distance is on the ground, so when you laser a point above it your shot hit to that point (assuming you can do so) will travel some distance beyond your desired target, depending on the club/trajectory.




    You don't have to wonder, you can do that math.



    Lasering the top of the flag which is 8 feet high, vs the hole, from 100 yards has the distance of 100.03 yards instead of 100.0 yards.



    a^2 + b^2 = c^2



    if

    a=300 feet

    b=8 feet

    then c=



    sqrt(300^2 + 8^2) = 300.106 feet or 100.03 yards
  • aussiebaussieb Lefty Boomers Posts: 811 ✭✭
    I've had a SkyCaddie and/or a laser in use for the last 5 years. Immediately noticed scores/stats were getting better and round speeds up. My foursome gets around in 3.5hrs on 6500m (~7100yds) Just purchased the Bushnell Hybrid Laser that has GPS built-in and it has the best of both worlds. There's a ton of pros around that we see practising when home and they all have a laser/GPS on their bags. So for those players like old mate that think they can judge distances better than tech and play just as quickly, you're holding us up with your archaics
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  • Dr. HackDr. Hack Members Posts: 52 ✭✭
    larrybud wrote:



    I sometimes wonder about the effect of lasering a flag which has a prism. My club has them at the top of the flags, which are, I dunno, 8 feet tall? The point to which you want your distance is on the ground, so when you laser a point above it your shot hit to that point (assuming you can do so) will travel some distance beyond your desired target, depending on the club/trajectory.




    You don't have to wonder, you can do that math.



    Lasering the top of the flag which is 8 feet high, vs the hole, from 100 yards has the distance of 100.03 yards instead of 100.0 yards.



    a^2 + b^2 = c^2



    if

    a=300 feet

    b=8 feet

    then c=



    sqrt(300^2 + 8^2) = 300.106 feet or 100.03 yards




    Actually, because the ball is going from the ground to the hole, the hypotenuse in this case is even smaller -- equivalent to the difference in height between the flag and your rangefinder. So, about a foot or so.
  • mmack067mmack067 Members Posts: 702 ✭✭
    nemoblack wrote:


    While my posts above clearly state my opinion that lasers are a true benefit for quality and pace of play, here's an anecdotal story of how a laser did NOT improve my pace of play this past weekend. On the tee box of a par-3 for a course that I've not played in several years, so I had no relevant familiarity with the hole. One of my playing partners lasers the flag, and says it's 165. I didn't bother to double check, look at the yardage markers on the tee box or even apply the "eye test".



    I proceed to hit my usual 165 club, and the ball flies the green and proceeds to kick off the backside downslope of the green into a creek. Turns out his measurement was wrong - maybe he actually measured a tree behind the green - who knows. Doesn't matter - it was completely my fault for not checking. Lesson learned.




    This is still a story about how your use of a rangefinder would have improved pace of play...
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  • GDTBATHGDTBATH Members Posts: 125 ✭✭
    I find it helps pace of play. They should allow them even on tour. The caddies have an exact yardage anyway.



    Funny anecdote, a couple years ago I did a USGA qualifier where rangefinders were prohibited. Paced off my yardages, which I hadn’t done for years, since I was a kid. I misclubbed exactly zero times lol. All the tech we have these days and at the end of the day, you’re still just playing golf.
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