Why are digital rangefinders so popular?
Digital rangefinders are a huge and growing part of modern golfers’ games. Being able to pinpoint your exact distance from the pin is an incredibly useful piece of information in a game defined by distance and proximity. But in the distinguished and robust history of the game, players did just fine without them. So what gives? Why have these become so popular in the modern game?
As it turns out, the old days of having a pretty close measure of how far away you are was probably more than enough for most players. Only the very, very best can make ~5 yard changes in their landing distance on demand. It might affect your club selection sure, but you could probably approximate your distance to the pin about as well as you’d need to. Yardage markers on the cart path or fairway got you within a 10-15 yard range, the three distances provided, color-coded of course, correspond to a back, middle or front hole placement, and you adjusted accordingly. Plus, the ability to accurately estimate your distance from the hole was another part of the game players had to learn and perfect. It also presented yet another way you could gain an advantage over your friends or rivals — if you’re better at assessing your distance, you have a leg up.
All that being said, even the players most skilled in that endeavor can’t be pinpoint accurate. It’s just not feasible hole after hole. And there are few things in the world more frustrating than striking a perfect shot, clean and true, and watching it fly the green because you had a club too much based on your distance assessment.
So, if a tool came along that could solve that problem for you? Why the heck wouldn’t you use it?
Well, price is a pretty good reason not too. As with all new technologies, the first rangefinders were rather expensive. The research and development required to produce the first iterations of this technology have to be recouped in the price of the first generation models of the device. As technologies improve, materials become less expensive, volume and economies of scale come into play, the cost of the technology decreases, and the device becomes available to a different, and far larger, constituency.
Once rangefinders crossed that threshold, they become far more common in the modern golfer’s bag. Once it was no longer cost prohibitive, it made since to arm yourself with the best information possible.
The same is true with greens.
It’s pretty safe to say that most course pros and superintendents were quite good at placing holes and caring for their greens before a service like ours came along. They moved hole locations, measured and printed pin sheets, etc. all on their own. But, when presented with an affordable option that can make their measurements and record keeping incredibly precise and efficient, why not use the better option out there? That’s precisely what ezLocator did and does. We brought the power of technology to bear on our beloved sport and its courses. And because we make it cost effective to do so, adoption has soared in recent years.
If you can arm yourself or your members/players with the best information and most enjoyable conditions possible — without spending an arm and a leg — why wouldn’t you? As such, what’s true with rangefinders is true with us: Not life or death for superintendents, but certainly practical and useful beyond measure.