Even though Global Position units have become the rage for millions of golfers, many others prefer to buy rangefinders, both because the price is much less and they don't need the horns and whistles of a GPS. In addition, they enjoy not having to pay an annual fee to the manufacturer, or to be required to map the course that they are about to play. What's worse is that you may need to wait for a GPS company to map the course that you play frequently. Instead, a rangefinder can be used on any course, as long as it has flags.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Base your search on how well you play the game. If you struggle to break a 100, you simply do not need to spend a lot of money on a rangefinder that gives you precise distances. Instead, get a much less expensive one that gives you the relative distance to the hole. On the other hand, if you have a low handicap and know precisely how far you can hit each club, then having a more expensive rangefinder will make a very welcome addition to your arsenal.
Talk with your friends who are golfers, because they might tell you about the features of their rangefinders that are most useful to them.
Visit a full-line sporting goods store in your area. For example, Dick's Sporting Goods offers a Bushnell rangefinders for less than $20, as of 2009. They also sell a Nikon ProStaff Laser Rangefinder for over $200 that is better built and has many more features than the one made by Bushnell.
Check out your local pro shop for rangefinders. Many do carry a selection of them; but if they do not, they may have catalogs of manufacturers that will tell you about the various features that their products contain.
Go online to the hundreds of companies that sell rangefinders (see Resources). In addition, you can visit several auction websites that usually have both new and used rangefinders on sale.