back to article Leica Pinmaster rangefinder

Golfers are a funny lot, many of them play with superstitions or simply have faith that their perseverance will eventually win out. Yet I know that the perfect swing is not all technical and mechanical, but it’s also about feeling perfectly balanced and believing that the club in my hands is just an extension of my mind's eye. …


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  1. Steven Jones

    A terrible way of spoling a country walk...

    As Mark Twain reputedly said of golf. However, that's not the point here. I was drawn to this...

    "Now it may seem obvious, but in this country distances on links are measured in yards, which no doubt explains why there is a 'Y' on the end of the name on the box. A metric version is also available, so if you do decide to go shopping for a Pinmaster, be sure it measures in your preferred units."

    So in all seriousness, some manufacturer has come up with a near £500 laser range finder that doesn't allow you to choose your preferred units at the press of a button? I have a £15 set of electronic scales that allows me to freely choose, not to mention a £6 electronic thermometer with the same capability.

    That's quite apart from the idea of spending that much money on such a gadget, but then, as PG Wodehouse knew, some golfers are beyond any rational help and can only be indulged.

  2. Strappy

    Rule 14-3...

    "It delivers an edge by precisely measuring the distance you are from the pin (or hole to the non-golfers out there), so you can decide the best club to drive with, and using the Pinmaster is not against the rules either."

    Rule 14-3

    Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an unusual manner:


    b. For the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play; or


    From here:

    1. smudge

      legal when?

      I can think of only one occasion when that could be true - when t'Committee running the competition in which you're playing has created a Local Rule allowing such things. (I never played in such a competition, but maybe things have moved on since I gave up golf a couple of years ago.)

      Of course, you could be playing a non-competition round with your mates, and everyone agrees that the thing can be used. Pedants will now say that you have all agreed to disregard the Rules, which is itself a violation - and that the game you are now playing is not golf!

      In a practice round for a competition, you or your caddy could use it to build up your own plan of the course. This isn't golf, it's surveying. If you're also playing against other players for a few quid, then they'd have to agree to its use, in which case you're in the situation immediately above.

  3. CT

    £500 and you can't switch from yards to metres?

    See title

    1. Daniel Pimley


      I have rated this article "Below par."

      1. Svein Skogen

        Didn't you mean

        You've rated it a bogey, or a double-bogey?


  4. Anonymous Coward

    This looks suspiciously like a rebadged spotting scope

    Golf is probably the only other market where you can sell something at the same outrageous markup as used for the military. What's next? Sniper sight attached to a 7 iron?

    1. Jeremy 2

      "Sniper sight attached to a 7 iron?"


      ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ You can have as many as you like with one of these.

  5. Charles King

    Multiplying by 0.9144 would be too expensive

    "A metric version is also available, so if you do decide to go shopping for a Pinmaster, be sure it measures in your preferred units."

    So, let me get this straight, here we have a £500 gadget that's unable to convert yards to metres?

    Can I pay for it in shillings?

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Alain Moran


    Did anyone actually read the rules before posting?

    "A manufacturer should submit to the R&A a sample of an item to be manufactured for a ruling as to whether its use during a stipulated round would cause a player to be in breach of Rule 14-3. "

    So basically, as long as you submit a sample to R&A and pay off the right committee members you can have your device approved even though it 'should' break 14.3

    Still ... not being able to switch bewteen yards/metres/cubits/linguine/brontosauri is a bit pants!

    1. smudge

      double sigh

      Did *you* read the Rules before posting?

      FAQ #6 under Rule 14-3, online.

      "Can I use a distance measuring device in a competition?

      The use of distance measuring devices during a stipulated round remains contrary to the Rules of Golf; however a Committee can permit the use of distance measuring devices via a Local Rule...."

  8. bobbles31

    2000 uses per battery.....

    That would barely get me to the 9th hole.

  9. Spot the Cat

    2 year guarantee??

    Blimey, they are cutting back. When I bought my Leica bins some years back they came with a 30 year guarantee.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...the quality of the product remains unchanged; it's the quality of the customer that has declined.

  10. Martin Dunn

    Not as daft as it might seem.

    Leica made some binoculars a few years with an integrated distance measurement system. They were around £2500 having initially been produced for the military market.

    They sold loads to golfers.. Probably giving them the idea for this.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    @jeremy 2

    That's an, interesting, product. Do you think the guy really thought he'd be able to retire on that idea?

  12. Adam Williamson 1

    Stick to the computers, guys

    Just one question, Reg - why are you reviewing this thing as if it's some incredibly exotic, brand new idea, a one-off, sui generis, unique unto itself?

    Spend thirty seconds on any golfing equipment web site and it becomes painfully obvious that there are dozens of these things on the market. Hell, Golf Town has a whole *category* for them:

    Laser ones, GPS ones, and boring old optical ones, running the gamut from the most expensive (er, this one) to a princely $25.

    So for the review to be remotely useful at *all*, it would have to compare this thing to all the other rangefinders out there, and explain why we might be motivated to shell out such a gigantic sum of dosh for it.

    Personally I forked over the princely sum of $15 for the pro version of FreeCaddie, and find that does the job fine. Sure, it's GPS based and the map data comes from Google Earth so it's not going to be accurate to the width of a sub-atomic particle, but it's generally within 10 yards or so, and I wish I could say the same about my 7-iron...

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