Golf Rangefinder Slope or Not? [3 Questions Answered]


With all the modern technology that comes to golf, rangefinders are hard to overlook. The fine art of reading the course and guesstimating the distance is mostly reserved for pros these days. Every golfer have access to range finders in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it can be hard to know which one to get. 


Is your heart set on getting a rangefinder, there are some considerations you need to clear with yourself. What is the intended use? Just for practice, or must it be your trusty companion on every round, tournament or not?







What Is Slope In Rangefinders?

Have you ever tried using a rangefinder? A model without slope will give you the exact distance to the pin, not taking elevation variations into account. Maybe you’ve guessed what the slope rangefinder does? Correct! It takes the elevation into account. 


So how does this work? It is greatly illustrated in the video below. Simply put, the rangefinder will shoot a straight line to the flag. Then it will take into consideration the angle at which you’re holding the rangefinder. This way, it will be able to calculate the actual horizontal distance, needed to reach the flag. I hope this makes sense, but again, watch the video below which is great at describing it.





What Does the Golf Rules Say About Slope?

Disclaimer: This matter is subject to change. As of October 2019 the current state is as follows below. 


Up until a certain point so-called Distance Measuring Devices (DMD’s) were banned from tournament play and handicap regulating rounds. 


This recently changed with the following reasoning:


  1. The rules of golf doesn’t expect a player to be able to figure out the distance to the hole by themselves. 
  2. The distance to the hole from certain places on the hole itself, is public knowledge since it is pictured on the hole overview at the tee, on markings in or on the sides of the fairway or other various places. 


So, this is good news for those of us who likes DMD’s. But, don’t just expect that everything is good when playing on a new course – you have to be aware of the local rules


As a matter of fact, local rules may prohibit you from using DMD’s. 


Actually, remember to always check up on local rules, when playing a new course. 


What about golf rangefinder slope then? See this is a different matter. You cannot access any slope-based or plays-like information at all.


If your rangefinder has slope, but it is possible to disable it, go ahead, that’s perfectly legal


Check out this cool infographic from USGA about what’s allowed in 2019 and what’s not.




Should You Get a Rangefinder With or Without Slope?

The big question, now that you have learned what slope is, and when it’s allowed to use it. 


Should I get a golf rangefinder with slope or not?


The answer: it depends. 


Do you struggle with reading distances, and do you feel that an electronic “caddy” could help you on the way to better learning to gauge distances across elevations? Then yes, get one with slope. 


Is it just for your convenience, that it’s easier to read out the number than actually think over the environment in your head? Then no, don’t get one with slope, maybe don’t get one at all. 


There are countless questions you can ask yourself. We at GolfersHacks believe that it comes down to one thing:


Will it make you a better golfer, by enabling you to learn, but not depend on it? 


Then get a rangefinder with slope – but use it cleverly.




FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need Slope On a Rangefinder For Golf?

No you don’t. The slope on a range finder has specific upsides. 


  • It will help you gauge distance on shots where the target is below or above you
  • It will be most beneficial on hilly courses. The more elevation the better. 


If you find yourself playing mostly flat courses, or you’re just good at gauging distances by yourself, the slope is not necessary. 


After all it is not only distance that comes into play when determining your shot. Wind, carry vs roll, your own accuracy on both aim and distance, and so on.




Do You Need a Rangefinder For Golf?

Absolutely not. Can it be beneficial? Sure. But then again, you can buy countless gadgets that will help you, but it all comes down to your own skill level.


If you’re struggling with getting the right distance, a rangefinder can be helpful, but be careful not to solely rely on the rangefinders numbers. You need to learn this and get it programmed into your subconsciousness, so that it lies deep within you, the ability to read distances. Like you have to learn the ability to read greens well, to be a good putter.




What Is The Best Golf Rangefinder For The Money?

See this is also a very subjective matter. We hope that this article has given you something to choose from. 


Some golfers will want a simple unit that operates easily, with no extra features. Others like a feature packed piece of equipment, with the ability to finetune everything. 


Thankfully, there are loads of different options out there – and most likely one for you too!


Be sure to keep an eye out on this site, since we’ll be adding a golf rangefinder reviews article soon. If you’re not that into rangefinders but leaning more to a GPS then take a look at THIS article.




Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash