Knowledge is power, so the saying goes, and in golfing terms that has given rise to a new wave of distance measuring devices, or rangefinders, coming into the game.
The PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in May was the first major where rangefinders were permitted. But it is not just the touring pros who benefitting from knowing exactly how far they need to hit each and every shot. Club golfers, in increasing numbers, are tapping into the potential these devices offer.
But where do you start? How much should you spend? Well, the team at Mileseey asked us to test their latest rangefinder – the Mileseey PF260 – which they believe is the best cheap rangefinder in golf. We would see.
We didn’t pay for the product but we will give you an honest assessment. But before we do, here’s a little on the history of rangefinders.
The technology dates back to 1800s and to the home of golf – Scotland. Archibald Barr, an engineering professor and a physics professor known as William Stroud designed the first rangefinder for the Royal Navy. This device was made up of a series of lenses, prisms and an eye piece and measured distance by calculating the angles. The technology leapt forward once more during World War I. But rangefinders were not considered in golfing until 1996, when Bushnell created its first handheld product – the Yardage Pro 400 – adapting technology used by NASA.
From that point, rangefinders have gone from resembling a large pair of binoculars to something altogether more consumer friendly. Golfers started to take notice.
Ok, history lesson over. What of the Mileseey PF260? It’s important to say that we have not used any rangefinders previously so this was step into the unknown. GPS watches, yes, caddies, yes, and plenty of yardage charts, but the rangefinder was new ground and it certainly took time to get used to it. This piece of tech promises to deliver yardages to the pin, to hazards, to anything you point it at and that makes it potentially a more accurate ally to have in the bag.
This model by Mileseey fitted our lack of experience. It is priced to be an affordable option, perfect for golfers who are looking for the best cheap rangefinder in golf as they, perhaps, give the tech a try without being sure they are ready to 100% commit.
Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way first. This model has a range of 660 yard, which, let’s face it, feels unnecessary as we only tended to find we would need to use it from 250 yards and in. It has a pin seeker/flag lock function with pulse vibration, although the prototype model we were given to test did not vibrate.
This model has a slope mode, which not only gives you the yardage but also gives you the impact any change in elevation has on that distance. Less yardage when going downhill, more when playing to an elevated green or fairway. Clever stuff and useful too. Slope mode cannot be used in competition but there is a handy slide button which allows you to turn it off when you are playing in a medal or the like.
Now we found using a rangefinder required a steady hand, but the more we used it the better we got at using it. The readings were accurate to within a yard even at 200+ yards, which is all you can really ask for when it comes a rangefinder. Let alone an affordable one.
When you look through the eyepiece, the crosshairs help you focus in on your target and the field of view, although not vast by any means, is more than good enough.
The numbers display quickly and clearly on the screen and you can toggle between yards and metres depending on your preference. The device itself feels solid and well-made. There is a minor frustration with the battery unit, which sits next to your palm and had the habit of occasionally opening when you don’t want it to. That said, the battery is rechargeable and can be charged up via a USB-C connection which is straightforward and convenient. If you do forget to charge it, a C2 battery can also just be slotted in and the rangefinder will work as normal.
And finally, the magnetic strip down the side of the device means you can attach it to your golf cart, trolley or even your clubs and, almost always, it will stay there.
This was our introduction to rangefinders. Initially, I will be honest, it was not the smoothest experience and after the first round I was ready to send it back. But the more we used it, the more we began to see why so many golfers are turning to rangefinders. And gradually it has become something we rely on. It’s quick to use, accurate and, crucially, we got better at handling it the more we used it. And that’s a key thing to remember.
So what’s our verdict? If you are on the lookout the best cheap rangefinder in golf, the Mileseey PF260 gives you consistent yardages and is a solid choice.