Bushnell Tour V4 Range Finder
18 months ago I did not think I wanted a laser rangefinder. Then I got one to review, and despite it being an entry level model, I quickly changed my tune. It only took me a few rounds to realize that a laser rangefinder is the best distance finding instrument. Sure watches and apps can get you quick and accurate distances to the front, center and middle of the green, but only a laser range finder can give you exact distances to the pin or other objects.
My initial knock on rangefinders was that they were bulky and slow. To a certain extent my 1st two rangefinders were proof of that theory, as locking on to an object can be tricky if the laser rangefinder is not of good quality.
After getting my first entry level rangefinder, which was fine but not great, I quickly upgraded to the Golf Buddy. Having used the Golf Buddy for about a year and being perfectly content, I was certainly interested to see how the industry standard would compare.
Even before I got the new Bushnell v4 I knew I was going to see what the best in the industry had to offer. While there are tons of laser rangefinders, Bushnell has a long history of being one of the best, if not the best.
There are really just a few key feature of any rangefinder that make a difference. First and most important is the laser. This is the technology that drives the accuracy and speed at which you can pick up a target. Lasers of lesser quality will take longer to lock in on and object and have a harder time deciding which object you are trying to target.
Bushnell has been in the business since 1948 and makes all kinds of optical devices including binoculars, weapon scopes, GPS and telescopes. Essentially, these guys know what they are doing and are counted on to deliver word class optical gear.
Part of the difficulty for rangefinder companies is finding new features to market. Since the most important feature of the rangefinder is speed and accuracy, there comes a point where any improvements become minimal and it is hard to justify an upgrade. With the case of Jolt technology however, Bushnell struck gold. While not new to the Bushnell v4, Jolt technology is perhaps the single biggest reason to upgrade or get into an new laser range finder.
Prior to Jolt technology, users were often left with a bit of uncertainty as to whether the device was truly locking on to the intended target. With Jolt, a small vibration lets you know the devices has locked on giving you 100% confidence in the yardage.
Using the Bushnell v4:
While basic in nature and user friendly, there are a couple of key comments to using the device properly. Most importantly is targeting a flag stick. With some other rangefinders I have found it best to aim at the middle of the flag stick when they don’t have any sensor in the top. With the Bushnell v4, it works best when I aim at the very top or even just above the flag stick. Once I figured that out, the Bushnell would nearly instantly give me the Jolt to know I was locked on.
If all golf courses were treeless and had flag sticks with sensors you probably could get away with a cheap laser rangefinder. However, once you throw trees into the mix, you quickly realize why some rangefinders are better than others. Since rangefinders work by bouncing a signal off of a distant object, the key is for the device to know which distant object you are targeting. When there are trees behind a pin, this can confuse the rangefinder.
Again, this is my 3rd laser rangefinder so I have some experience with the frustration that comes with a rangefinder not being able to pick up a pin that is in front of a group of trees. The Bushnell v4 is absolutely the best model I have used to date. Over the past month of testing I have had basically zero times in which I could not get the device to lock on to a pin rather than a tree. Every so often I will get a jolt for say 165 yards to a pin that is 120 yards in which case it is obvious that I am measuring to a tree. Simply stepping to the side a few paces seems to remedy the situation and the proper measurement is then returned.
Using the Slope Feature:
The other big technological breakthrough that occurred in the past few years is slope. We all know that uphill or downhill shots require yardage adjustment but how much is not so clear. We all know guys who say “it’s a club difference” which typically means about 10 yards. However, that advice is hardly based on math. With Slope Technology, you get the exact degree of incline and the mathematical adjusted yardage. Remember, slope is not just a function of height differential from you and the pin but also how far away the pin is. In other words, a 4 degree change in elevation to a 125 yard target requires a different adjustment than a 4 degree elevation change to a 195 yard target. Thankfully, the Bushnell v4 does all of this advance math for you. Once you lock on to the target, simply keep holding the power button for 1-2 seconds and you will see the degree of elevation change and the adjusted yardage on the bottom of the screen.
With the Bushnell v4, you get an extra level of confidence thanks to their patented PinSeeker technology. When shooting at a pin, if the device jolts and there is a circle around the picture of a flag, you know that the yardage is to a pin and not a tree. How this works is beyond me, but it works exceptionally well. 95% of the time, I simply aim, shoot, jolt and put away, knowing the exact distance to the pin. The other 5%, I am targeting lakes, bunkers or other object in which case I get the distance without the circle around the flag letting me know the yardage is to something other than the pin.
Is the Bushnell v4 with Slope USGA Legal?
In prior models of range finders with slope there was an issue with using them for tournament play. Since USGA does not allow slope technology for tournament play, players needed a rangefinder that not only delivered slope but also was legal. Thanks to some rule changes, you are now allowed to use the Bushnell v4 in a USGA tournament as long as you turn off the slope function. To turn off the slope function just hold down the power button, which will cycle through all of the modes. Once you see yards with no slope meters, release the power button and your device will be legal for tournament play.
The Bushnell v4 is good up to 1,000 yards, although pin seeker technology only works to about 400 yards, at which point we are way beyond “can I reach the green” distance.
Leaving the technology aside, the Bushnell v4 also brings improved functional design. While older Bushnell models were quite big, in some cases needing two hands to use, the v4 is really small and can easily be held and used with one hand. Additionally, the power button sits perfectly on top of the unit which is molded to fit comfortably.
Other than the power button the only other knob you may need to use every so often is the focus dial just above the eyepiece. For me, I never have to touch it, but in the case objects seem blurry you can use the dial to bring everything into clear focus.
Finally, I am a big fan of the case which is very similar what is on my Golf Buddy range finder. The hard case can be zipped up but during the round I use the elastic wrap and pin to keep the case closed… it is super easy to open.
Bottom line, if you are in the market for a laser rangefinder, you will not go wrong with the Bushnell Tour v4. It is certainly not the cheapest unit on the market, but for those who want the best, Bushnell delivers the goods.