A couple months ago I lost my rangefinder and I wasn’t that upset because I didn’t think I really needed it. I figured I could easily get yardages from sprinkler heads. Boy, was I wrong. I felt naked out there without one. Half the sprinkler heads I checked didn’t have yardages, so it was also taking me a lot longer to hit my shot.
Thankfully, a new Leupold GX-4i2 arrived at my office a couple of weeks ago. The package itself was pretty impressive (see here), but the unit itself is even more remarkable. It’s the first rangefinder with advanced features to be approved under Rule 14–3 by the U.S. Golf Association. Like previous GX-4 models, the rangefinder comes with a chrome faceplate that disables the inclinometer and other features, but because the technology remained inside the unit, they didn't conform to 14–3 even when switched off. So Leupold put the chip that contains the algorithms that do the slope calculations in the yellow faceplate. It wasn’t until late September, however, when the units were already in production that the company got the good news from the USGA that they deemed the GX-4i2 legal.
It’s good news for consumers, too. I never saw the benefit of buying a rangefinder with an inclinometer if you couldn’t use it in tournaments with the slope feature turned off and the Local Rule in effect, but now you get the best of both worlds. In addition to factoring in gradient, the waterproof unit will also recommend clubs based on temperature, altitude, and typical yardages for your 8-, 6-, and 4-iron. Now that's pretty cool.
The only drawback is that it's not inexpensive. Sure hope I don’t lose this one.