Leupold GX–4i Squared

Finally a rangefinder with advanced features that is USGA legal

By: Tom Cunneff

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.




  1. how does the chrome faceplate come off so the yellow smart key faceplate can be added

    — tom · Thursday March 6, 2014 ·

  2. Thanks for your comment, Tom. You have to squeeze the faceplate on the sides where the notches are with your thumb and index finger and pull. It can be hard to do, however.

    — Tom Cunneff · Friday March 7, 2014 ·

  3. Hi Tom,

    Can you please advise what the difference is between the GX4i and the GX4i2.

    Thank you, Jim……….

    — Jim · Monday May 26, 2014 ·

  4. Sure, Jim. The GX4i is the prior version and isn’t USGA legal because the algorithms that configure slope are contained in the unit itself instead of the faceplate. Technically, you couldn’t use the first version in any tournaments that play under USGA Rules even if you switch from the yellow faceplate that allows you to see the slope (what the shot will actually play like given the elevation change) to the chrome one.

    — Tom Cunneff · Tuesday May 27, 2014 ·

  5. Hi Tom

    Is the Gx4i2 better then the Gx4i1 for pin-hunter it wasn’t so G8 on the Gx4i1 ?????
    Cheerz for Ur help

    — Noel · Friday January 9, 2015 ·

  6. I removed the yellow smart key for a tournament. It popped off easily. Have tried everything to remove the chrome piece but can’t get it off. Very frustrating and very poor human factor engineering.

    Any suggestions?

    — Dave · Sunday September 20, 2015 ·

  7. Dave, I just got my Gx4-I2 and put the chrome face plate on and had a difficult time removing it. I ended up using a rigid piece of plastic to carefully push on the side indentations and it finally came off without damage.
    Poor design. Hope this helps.

    — Kevin Arndt · Tuesday September 22, 2015 ·

  8. Dave, I also just got a Gx4-i2 and found the chrome face plate difficult to remove. What ended up working for me was to use my thumbnail in the seam between the faceplace and the body of the rangefinder. Kind of like cracking a pistachio shell. Good luck.

    — Joe G · Monday October 5, 2015 ·

  9. If you put your whole palm on one side and 3 or 4 fingers one the other side it comes off a bit easier. I have owned one for a while and have found this method to be easier. Hope this Helps.

    — Tony · Tuesday February 9, 2016 ·


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