For golfers looking to bring their game to the next level, there’s no better tool to add to their arsenal than a quality rangefinder.
A rangefinder uses lasers to gauge distances. For golfers looking to perform extremely accurate shots time and time again, this is extremely helpful. But not all rangefinders are created equal — some can offer readings that are spotty or inaccurate, some can fail to lock onto the pin, and some can have any number of other defects that hurt rather than help golfers.
The 300 Pro Laser Rangefinder from Callaway promises to provide accurate readings at a reasonable price. The slope technology is said to account for elevation changes on hilly courses, and the company’s Pin Acquisition Technology claims to lock onto pins from up to 300 yards away.
But does it perform as well as the company says it does? We tested it among mid-handicap golfers over months to find out if this reasonably priced rangefinder could get the job done. Here’s what we found.
Our first impression upon receiving the Callaway 300 Pro rangefinder was how cool it looks. It’s about the size of other rangefinders we’ve used, and it feels good in the hand. The splash of red differentiates it from the other models.
While there’s not a lot of variation among rangefinders, we felt that this one was well-proportioned and intelligently designed. The case was also a nice touch — it secured the rangefinder well in its zip-up pouch and had a clasp that kept it from tumbling out of your bag on a bumpy cart. The 300 Pro can also fit in standard rangefinder holders that magnetically affix the rangefinder to a cart or club.
The instructions for the Callaway 300 Pro were short, simple, and straightforward, as they should be for a device with only two buttons.
We read the two-page guide in its entirety and dialed in our preferred settings pretty much right away, before ever taking it out for a live round. We recommend doing the same — it isn’t easy to randomly click around to get what you want, and finding your settings on your own time will save you valuable time on the course.
The first thing we noticed when using the rangefinder was how easy it was to lock in on a flag, even for those of us with shaky hands. In the past, shaky hands have made it hard to get accurate, consistent readings with rangefinders, but the Callaway 300 Pro handled it with no problem.
To use the Callaway 300 Pro, we just aim it at the pin (or hazard, or bunker, or person in the fairway, etc.) and press the power button. If you’re in birdie mode, it’ll chirp once you’ve locked on the target. Then it will give you two numbers: one is the true distance, and the other is the distance adjusted for slope change. We recommend zeroing in on the flag, rather than the pin, when firing. Most courses put a reflector strip (or something similar) in the flag to make readings for rangefinders more accurate.
One feature we really loved was the “birdie” feature that chirps when you lock onto a pin. When you're locked in and you get the same reading a few times in a row, you know you're good to fire. It gives us peace of mind, and quite a bit of added confidence, when we're lining up a shot.
With rangefinders, user error accounts for most customer complaints. If you buy from a name brand like Callaway and you use it according to best practices (i.e. firing at the flag itself), you'll get an incredibly helpful aid for your game. If you feel like you aren't getting the most out of your unit, you should consult the wide array of YouTube videos that provide tips on how to use a rangefinder.
Callaway claims that the 300 Pro provides “superior accuracy to +/- one yard,” and we found this to be true. When using a new rangefinder, you should always use other measurement devices so you'll know you aren't getting readings that are way off (if it tells you you're farther than you are, you could blast it 20 yards over the green and into someone’s backyard).
We liked to use a series of counterbalances to double-check the 300 Pro’s accuracy. Each time, we found that it was just as accurate, if not more accurate than the other measurement devices.
A big selling point and a really cool feature of the Callaway 300 Pro is the slope adjustment. With this, the rangefinder automatically adjusts your yardage for whether you’re hitting uphill or downhill. We found that, out on the course, the rangefinder was able to adjust and compensate for slope in a way that was immensely helpful to our game.
For example, on a par three with an elevated tee box, a normal rangefinder would give you a reading of 135. However, if you used your normal 135 club on a hole like this, it would fly over the green. The Callaway 300 Pro can detect even the slightest change in elevations, helping you understand exactly how far you need to hit it for the situation.
At about $199.99, the Callaway 300 Pro is pretty reasonably priced, which is more than can be said about most other quality rangefinders. But even at the lower price point, we thought that the rangefinder didn’t compromise on quality or accuracy.
The model we directly compared it to on the course, a Bushnell, cost about twice as much and gave us the same exact readings every time. In these cases, the 300 Pro performed the same at a lesser price — plus it comes with a brand name, so you can be sure you won't get stuck with an inferior product.
The Callaway 300 Pro provides clear optics and accurate, precise readings. It’s comfortable to hold and easy to use, and the slope adjustment technology is great for calculating elevation differences. Beyond that, it’s much cheaper than most other rangefinders of this caliber, and it offers superior value for its price point.
During some of our tests, this rangefinder didn’t grab pins as quickly as the more expensive models, sometimes taking multiple tries to lock in.
The Callaway 300 Pro offers a simple value proposition — to give you an accurate read from anywhere — and it delivers. It’s a simple, sturdy, well-designed rangefinder at an affordable price point, and it’s even got a few handy bells and whistles. While it’s not perfect, it can hold its own against rangefinders that are twice as expensive. We recommend this product to golfers of all handicaps looking for a solid rangefinder to take their game to the next level.
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Landon Groves writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money