Mark Twain once said, “the most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.”
If he were alive today, spoiling a good walk, then you can’t help but wonder what Twain might think about the Leupold GX-5i3 laser rangefinder. Likewise, the device tells all that it knows, which is a lot, about golf and about you.
Rangefinders are no longer a luxury item in golf, reserved for tournament players and bottomless bank accounts. PGA TOUR Superstores research shows GPS and rangefinder products are generating higher sales in dollars than putters or wedges. And anyone who has a dusty, old bag in the garage cluttered with wedges and putters knows that’s saying something.
What’s more, any rangefinder worth its optics is best suited for those still learning and improving. The reason is information. Whereas measurements of distances, wind speed and slope all used to be left to conjecture or step counts, they are now at your fingertips, quickly calculated and easily accessed. For instructor and TV golf analyst Michael Breed, using a good rangefinder is a no-brainer.
“The world we live in is full of information, at your fingertips, delivered in ways we could only imagine a few years ago,” Breed said. “In most instances, that information is essential — technology couldn’t do without. Golf is no different. It’s a difficult game, and if you are attempting to play it without all the information that is available to you, you’re at a disadvantage.”
The Leupold GX-5i3 laser rangefinder features a $549 price point. [Photo: Leupold]
What makes the GX 5i3 series especially advantageous is not only its ability to deliver essential information, but to receive and interpret information as well. Leupold is a family-owned company that has been in the distance and accuracy biz for 112 years. The company earned its target-calculating chops in military applications and hunting utilizations.
“If you talk to a marine or someone in special ops, they won’t put anything on their rifle except a Leupold,” said Kirk Peglow, whose company, P&M Global, provides sales leadership and management for Leupold.
Golf is certainly a different type of battlefield, but success also depends on precision. To that end, the Leupold rangefinder provides critical information as quickly and reliably as any device on the market. What it does differently is put that information into the proper context. Leupold was the first to use algorithm software in its rangefinders. The more information you feed the device, i.e. your personal striking distances for 9, 7, or 5 irons, the more its proprietary Club Select application custom fits the answers.
Not many of us have the swing speed of Dustin Johnson, or even Dustin Hoffman. But feed the GX 5i3 the particulars of your swing and your power, and the True Golf Range function considers slope, temperature, and other conditions to recommend the right club in your hands. The function is especially advantageous for beginners and high-handicappers. For the more accomplished player, or tournament conditions, it is turned off with the push of a button.
The features on the GX 5i3 don’t end there; and they don’t come cheaply, as a $549 sticker price suggests. The PinHunter 3 laser technology employed is remarkably accurate, fast and user-friendly. Prism Lock Technology provides audible confirmation when it locks in, using high-quality prisms to zero in on a target.
The Digitally Enhanced Accuracy (DNA) engine and advanced lasers get fast readings within 1/10 of a yard — should any of us be so precise. Oh, and Fog Mode helps eliminate false readings during the those early morning “Night of the Living Dead” hours. Best of all, the data is available in seconds, revealed in the center of a red display, easy to read.
Leupold makes less expensive models — GX 3i3 and GX 4i3 — with similar traits, if not all the bells and whistles. But Leupold doesn’t apologize for price point, and doesn’t skimp on quality.
“What we’re doing is old school,” Peglow said. “We don’t spend much on advertising, we’re not in the big box stores. But we have developed a staff program with more than 1,200 club processionals on it.
“The thing is, we’re not interested in making cheaper products. We’re interested in making better ones.”
What Mark Twain might have thought of rangefinders is hard to say. But liked straightforward information, and the Leupold GX 5i3 tells you everything you need to know.
Dan O’Neill, who covered golf for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1989 to 2017, is an editorial consultant on golf for Fox Sports. His articles have appeared in publications such as Golfweek, Golf World, Golf.com and The Memorial magazine.