Bushnell has long been regarded as the undisputed leader in the golf industry when it comes to rangefinders and through the years has released one great product after another.
With the Tour V4 and Tour V4 Slope, however, Bushnell has pushed the bar to unreached heights from a performance standpoint, as these products are smaller, lighter, faster, and more accurate than anything that’s come before.
Given the success and popularity of the V3, the decision to try to create something even better speaks volumes about Bushnell’s dedication to the golfing public.
And make no mistake about, it was the golfing public that provided the ultimate motivation for the V4 series.
Smaller, Faster, More User-Friendly
“We do a ton of market research and really tapped into what does the consumer want when it comes to a rangefinder or measuring device and what is typically the biggest detractor,” said Bushnell Senior Product Manager Scott Peterson. “And the one thing we consistently hear is ‘I can’t hold it steady.’
“So the shape and the ergonomics were the number one consideration in the V4. The shape was key, but we also wanted it to be smaller and faster. When it comes to technology, everyone wants smaller and faster.”
The V4 and V4 Slope are 30 percent smaller than the V3 and weigh just 5.6 ounces. They also feature Stabi-Grip technology, which makes each model fit better in the hand for use, and a focus ring above the eyepiece allows players to adjust optics with their index finger while measuring a distance.
But the improved size and shape are only part of the V4 story, as this is a product that will also retrieve yardages twice as fast as the V3. How is that possible?
Peterson likened the technology in the V4 to a computer operating system. The product’s mathematical functionality hasn’t changed, but what has changed, however, is the way the information being gathered is processed.
He added, “A lot of the speed is in the processors we’re using. We’re improving the hardware. We’re doing the math the same; we’re just turning the crank faster.”
The V4 has a range of five to 1,000 yards and can easily pick up a flag from as far as 400 yards away. It’s accurate to within one yard and has 5x magnification to ensure that players can clearly see and lock in on the right target. Also, the V4 and V4 Slope are water resistant and come with a two-year warranty. And most importantly, the wildly popular JOLT technology remains, as the device will very noticeably vibrate when it locks in on the right target, ensuring golfers that they have the correct yardage.
Being able to lock in on a target so quickly and so accurately even from distances of more than 200 yards has been a true differentiator through the years for Bushnell, and that’s no different as it relates to the V4.
We asked Peterson to explain what enabled Bushnell to be so effective in that regard. He paused for a moment, and then after a laugh said, “You want me to give away all our secrets.”
He was kidding, of course, and went on to explain what separates Bushnell from its competition. “Bushnell invented the rangefinder in 1995, so we’ve been doing this longer than anyone,” he elaborated. “We have a very good understanding of the signal a golf flag gives on the course. We’re able to reduce the noise … see the foreground and ignore the background better than others.”
Not surprisingly given Bushnell’s history of success on every professional tour, as well as at top amateur events, the V4 has been well-received by the best players in the world and their caddies.
“It’s actually quite scary,” Peterson said. “We use the Darrell Survey just like other golf companies do for clubs, shoes, gloves, and balls, and we poll the players and caddies on the PGA Tour, LPGA, Champions Tour, and at amateur events.
“Rickie Fowler is the only guy we pay, but 99 percent of the players on the PGA Tour and 98 percent of Tour caddies are using Bushnell. Nobody else (in the golf industry) comes close to that kind of number.”
Slope Functionality and Legality
In terms of the Tour V4 and the Tour V4 Slope, it’s important to note that there are no performance differences between the two models other than the slope functionality.
For those who might not understand the slope feature, what it does is provide actual and adjusted yardages for each measurement taken, the latter of which will change based on how much uphill or downhill a shot plays. For example a 173-yard shot that plays three degrees downhill will play 164 yards. The Tour V4 Slope, in that instance, will give you both yardages, as well as the degree of the slope.
Bushnell’s Slope Technology, with the help of long-time PGA Tour caddy Don Thom, has been continuously developed and refined since 2005. Thom, based on his many years of caddying professionally, created a system that adjusted yardage for slope that has since been converted to a mathematical algorithm and patented by Bushnell and Thom together.
At present, using devices that calculate slope is illegal in tournament competition, but they have been deemed legal in preparing for tournament play. And a slope feature is extremely valuable in preparing for tournaments, as players can calculate just how much yardage needs to be added or subtracted on certain holes that they might not be familiar with where extreme elevation changes are in play. It’s also helpful on longer shots, where determining the severity of a slope can be more difficult.
“When you’re talking about 200 or more yards away, a slope of three or four degrees uphill might look flat,” Peterson said. “But that’s a club or maybe a club and a half, which is the difference in being on the green or being short in a bunker.”
Players who want the V4 Slope but compete regularly in tournaments have no reason for concern, however, as the slope function can be easily turned off for tournament play, which is 100 percent within the rules of golf. The V4 and V4 Slope also have the ability to provide, distances, actual and adjusted, in meters as well for those who use that measurement system.