Updated: Dec 14, 2020
The Bushnell Sport 850 Rangefinder is a time tested product that has been around for years.
The difference now is for it's most recent model, the company has taken the steps necessary to create the first rangefinder
made specifically for disc golf players!
The major change that made this happen was to allow the rangefinder to read in feet, as well as yards and meters like you would typically find with rangefinders used in ball golf or hunting.
This may not seem like a big deal, but when time is of the essence, having a range finder give a reading that requires no mental math calculation on the course is a game changer for disc players looking to improve their game.
Unlike ball golf, disc golf disc ratings and hole distances are given in feet, rather than yards. So prior to the release of this rangefinder model, ranging random distances such as: 87 yards, 128 yards, 65 yards, etc to help with ideal disc selection could get a little tricky, especially when time limits per throw are enforced.
Doesn't 261 ft., 384 ft., and 195 ft. sound better?
What other features make this rangefinder great for disc golf?
We've already discussed how receiving a distance reading in feet is much better and faster for disc golf than receiving that same reading in yards.
But what else makes this product superior for disc golfers?
First, this rangefinder has a built in ARC (angle range compensation) function so there is no worry of elevation changes giving you a false reading of distance. When ranging an object on flat terrain, the reading you get will be the true distance reading for that object.
However, when ranging an object looking uphill or downhill with a rangefinder that doesn't use an arc function, you would not receive the true horizontal distance to the object.
Think back to geometry days.
The hypotenuse of the triangle is always longer than the horizontal side of the triangle. If you were to use that measurement on steep uphill or downhill shots, your estimated range could be way off.
ARC technology takes care of this by calculating the angle you're ranging out and calculating the true horizontal distance, not the hypotenuse distance you would have received without it making this calculation.
Second, this rangefinder has a scan feature to use for quick ranging of objects of concern. This could be a cluster of trees or barriers, the distance to the basket, or quick checking of how far an object is from the basket.
Besides these 3 key features, this rangefinder also boasts some excellent clarity, fast speeds, and a top notch warranty.
Do I need a rangefinder for disc golf?
In short, a rangefinder is not an essential piece of equipment to have on the course. That being said, it absolutely can make you a better disc golf player.
1. Better Practice Sessions
When you are out practicing, having a rangefinder handy will help you learn your own abilities and gives you a gauge of any progression you have. Knowing how far you can throw each disc or each type of disc and when and where a disc will turn over or fade significantly helps you with disc selection when playing as the disc you use will be matched to the shot, rather than just guessing.
2.Learn Your Bag
In line with number 1, having a rangefinder also helps you become more familiar with the discs in your bag. Say you have 3 mid range discs all with different ratings, plastics, and wear. After a thorough practice session, you learn that Mid-Range disc "A" likes to fly straight before fading around the 190' mark and landing at 220'. Disc "B" on the other hand stays straight until 200' down range before beginning its fade and gliding out to 230'. Disc "C" flies completely straight with just some slight fade after a 260' flight. Because you know this down to the exact foot or small range of feet, you can more efficiently select a disc for the shot you're facing.
3.Take Better Shots
In line with points 1 and 2, pretend you're on any course at a hole you're unfamiliar with. You have a traditional dogleg left on a short, par 3, 225' hole. The hole has a cluster of guardian trees in front of it but from the tee box you're unsure of exactly how close they are to the basket.
You find that the the trees are sitting roughly 200' from the tee box, and 25' from the basket because of using the quick scan feature. So what disc do you use?
Disc C is out because you know it will fly too far unless you back off the power and due to it being a straight flyer, it won't stay on the fairway. This leaves you with Discs A and B, both of which have the perfect range for the shot. But, because you were able to practice, you know that disc A will start its fade just before reaching the trees and will have a greater likelihood of hitting the guardian trees, even if you hit your line perfect.
Disc B on the other hand won't fade until it just reaches the trees, and will fall in line perfectly if thrown well.
Without practice sessions with your rangefinder, you wouldn't have known how your discs specifically flew besides their given flight ratings. Even if you did know your bag, it would have been much more difficult to pick the proper disc because you would not have known precisely how far away the trees were from the basket.
With the features designed to make you a better player, and an MSRP of just $149.99, the Sport 850 can be a great tool to add to the bag of any player.
While a beginner may not see the importance of a rangefinder, the more you play you'll start to realize how valuable one such as the Sport 850 can be for a serious disc golfer at any skill level looking to improve their scores.
It's also extremely exciting that companies are starting to create gear catered to disc golf players, rather than us adapting our needs to fit their products.
I look forward to seeing what other great gear will be in our hands for the good of all players in the years to come!
Interested in learning more about the Bushnell Sport 850?
Check it out on Infinite Discs HERE or by clicking on the picture below!
If you're looking for more budget friendly rangefinders to try out, check out the ones on Amazon listed below. Keep in mind that these rangefinders will read in yards rather than feet, and may or may not utilize ARC technology, so use them accordingly!
*Some links are amazon affiliate links, you can read our full affiliate disclosure on our home page*