Bushnell is known for creating high quality, precision optics in a variety of sporting arenas. If you are a competitive golfer, you probably have already used a Medalist laser rangefinder or some earlier version of this product line. For 2008, Bushnell has released an updated version of this laser rangefinder, the Tour V2. The Tour V2 is currently the smallest laser rangefinder in the marketplace, offering precise distance measurement in a very small package. Let’s get onto the review.
The world’s smallest, most advanced laser rangefinder – measuring a mere 1.6 x 2.8 x 4.3 in., weighing only 6.6 oz. and accurate 5 to 1,000 yards. Comes with a carrying case and straps. The Tour V2 is legal for tournament play and for posting scores for handicap purposes.
Reflectivity: 1,000 Yards
Tree: 600 yards
Flag: 300 yards
Accuracy: +/- 1 yard
Bushnell rangefinders have always been highly functional and about as sexy looking as one could expect from a piece of optical equipment. With the Tour V2, they have stepped up their game. Fitting their highly accurate optics and electronics into a palm sized device that looks sharp while taking up little space in your bag. Below you can see a picture of the Tour V2 next to that of last year’s Medalist model. The Medalist was pretty compact, but as you can see the Tour V2 is even slimmer.
The tacky (read: sticks to your hand…not crass), rubberized grip on the top, bottom, front and eye piece help make the Tour V2 feel extraordinarily comfortable in your hands. With the Medalist, and previous versions of Bushnell rangefinders, you had to hold the device horizontally. I always felt like my hands were too shaky (especially after a cup of coffee) to hold that device steadily in a horizontal manor. The Tour V2 sits snugly in your hand and can be used vertically. I found it was much easier to keep the rangefinder pointed at my target with one hand, in this position.
There is no denying the accuracy of a laser rangefinder. Use the Pinseeker mode to lock on and get a precise reading on the flag location, point it at the edge of a bunker or a cluster of trees, and the Tour V2 quickly gives you an accurate reading. You can also quickly move from target to target, hit up the front of a bunker, the back, then the flag to get all the yardages you may need for your next shot. When looking through the eyepiece you are presented with just a couple icons to help you out. One lets you know the mode the device is in (pinseeker or not), a little reticle to point at your target and then the yardage. Line up that reticle with your target, hold the button on top, and within a second or two at most you’ll have a yardage. Unlike a GPS unit, it’s there, it’s right and it doesn’t decide to change on you a couple seconds later. I never had a problem locking onto flags, hitting bunkers or even the fence at the driving range.
I have had a good amount of experience using various GPS devices, laser rangefinders, the old standby of pacing off yardages and..ugh…remember those little $15 optical rangefinders? Laser rangefinders and GPS devices are clearly superior methods of getting yardages to pacing things out. You can quickly get a variety of distances to critical targets which are generally quite accurate. One issue I always have with GPS devices is the little ‘creeping’ you get when you set your bag down. You glance, it gives you a front/middle/back yardage….and then a second later it has changed. With the rangefinder, I point, shoot, and know what it is. Though, the negative being, you have to pull the device out, identify your targets, point, shoot, and then put the device back into your bag or it’s case. Generally you can just clip a GPS device to your bag in a position where you can see the numbers without having to fiddle.
Usually I have found that the weekend golfer finds a GPS cool and sexy, while a low handicap player finds the Laser Rangefinders more accurate and versatile. You can actually get the distance to the flag itself, instead of just the ‘middle’ yardage you get with course markers or a GPS. The size of the Tour V2 helps some with the portability, and the well padded, magnetic covered case is access when it is clipped to your bag. Another area where the rangefinder has the GPS beat is during practice. I can take the Tour V2 out to the backyard and map out a practice area. I can also take it to the driving range and get real yardages to flags and other objects from my actual location. You’d be surprised how inaccurate the posted numbers at a local driving range can be.
Couple the smaller size, with the precision of Bushnell optics, and you have a winner on your hands when it comes to rangefinders. If you are a competitive player who must have supremely accurate yardages, look no further than this device. (Note: The Tour V2 has been sanctioned for tournament play by both the USGA and R&A). The size alone is worth an upgrade over a previous generation rangefinder. If you are a casual golfer, who is just looking to help speed up the game, get some yardages and are not too concerned about everything being dead on…you may want to check out some of the newer, inexpensive GPS units out there.
One thing that may be of concern is the battery. The Medalist used an easy to find 9V battery (the smoke detector kind). Seeing how the Tour V2 is a more compact package, it goes to figure it would be fit with a smaller battery. Indeed, you’ll find it uses a 3V battery, that well, you’ll be able to find. But you probably won’t have a drawer full of them sitting around your house. That being said, I have been using the Tour V2 for a few months now, and haven’t had to replace the battery.
You can find the Bushnell Tour V2 on eBay both used and new from between $250 and $300. As always though, just be sure the seller has some positive feedback and appears reputable. If you’d prefer a new device from an authorized dealer, you can pickup the Tour V2 at In The Hole Golf for $349.95.