A rangefinder has become as essential to a golfer’s equipment as a putter these days. A good one serves several purposes: it not only shoots the yardage to a pin, it can help you know how far you have to hit the ball to carry a hazard or how much of a dogleg you can cut off.
But as they’ve become ubiquitous, their price tags have gone higher and higher. Enter TecTecTec, an upstart rangefinder company with products that challenge the performance of the big names like Bushnell and Leupold at a fraction of the price.
The TecTecTec VPRO500 is a simple, effective rangefinder. It’s fully tournament legal (unless you’re on the PGA or Web.com tour), as it just shoots yardages and doesn’t calculate for slope, wind, or temperature variances. At half the price of an entry-level Bushnell, there’s a lot to like about the TecTecTec VPRO500.
Shooting the Stick
A good rangefinder needs to start with the basics, and the VPRO500 does just that: with its Pinsensor technology, I had no trouble shooting flagsticks against wooded backdrops. I may have even found myself in the woods a few times, and the laser managed to grab the pin through several heavily-treed areas. Other budget rangefinders I’ve used have trouble delivering that type of precision outside of 100 yards, but the VPRO500 was good even at 200+.
The viewfinder has great, clear resolution and a nice dark reticle to make aiming at the proper target easy. The adjustable diopter allowed me to dial in a good, precise focus with great visual clarity. I used it in a hazy morning fog and was still able to pick up the pin from 223 yards away, which was impressive!
The 6x magnification is an excellent feature. My last rangefinder was a 5x magnification and made it tough to center the reticle over the pin from long distances. With 6x magnification and accuracy up to 500 yards away, the VPRO500 is useful as both a rangefinder and binoculars – perfect to measure swings from my hybrids too. I’m planning to take it for use as a spectator next time I go see a pro tournament!
The unit has a very simple Mode button that allows you to switch between Pinsensor mode and standard mode. If you’re not sure which mode you’re in, just look through the viewfinder and a flag icon is displayed for Pinsensor mode.
In Pinsensor mode, you hold down the power button while pointing at an object in the background. Then slowly scan across the flagstick and it’ll display the yardage to the flag. It works by identifying any object in the foreground of the backdrop you start on. With my old rangefinder, I’d have more luck shooting a person putting the flagstick back in the hole. And if there wasn’t a group in front of us, I’d have to get lucky to pick up the flag. The TecTecTec Pinsensor is a clever, effective solution for finding the flagstick.
If you’re on a course with lots of exposed greens or shooting a tree or bunker, you’ll want to use the normal mode or scan mode. In normal mode, you just press the power button once at your target and it tells you the yardage. This is more useful when shooting a tree or the face of a bunker — basically any target thicker than a pin.
My favorite mode might be scan mode. In scan mode, you hold down the power button and it shoots a constant laser and gives you a constant reading for whatever you’re shooting at. Trying to tell if two trees are close to one another? Scan mode from one to the other and you’ll be able to tell.
I had a situation where I had about 200 yards to clear a pond, but there was a bunker between the pond and the green. I was able to scan the face of the pond at 201, move up to the bunker and see that I needed 220 to clear it, but the pin was only 224 yards away. Rather than risk short-siding myself in the bunker, I aimed left and had an easy up and down from just in front of the green. It was as good as having a caddy with a yardage book.
Oh, and if you’re used to using meters, it can do that too.
The VPRO500 comes with a very sturdy carrying case with multiple strap/hook options to attach to your bag. I put mine on a towel ring and haven’t treated it, shall we say, gently and the rangefinder is doing just fine. The rangefinder is water resistant with a well-hidden battery compartment, so if you’re stuck playing golf in the rain you don’t have to worry too much about it.
It takes CR2 batteries and sports impressive battery life. With an auto-shut-off after about 5-6 seconds of inactivity, it’ll last you through over 30 rounds of use on nearly every shot. I haven’t had to replace the battery yet, so it may go even longer than that.
It also includes a microfiber cleaning cloth, which is especially useful if you’re in dusty conditions. The only time it seemed like the laser was letting me down, it actually just needed a wipe-down. Cleaned it off and it was good to go.
I’m very impressed with the TecTecTec VPRO500. It’s a sturdy enough unit that I don’t think twice when I’m tossing it to my playing partners. And they’re duly impressed when they use it, get a quick and precise yardage, and find out that it’s half the price of their big-name rangefinder that won’t pick up the flag 175 yards away. When I consider the fact that it’s backed by a 2-year warranty and sacrifices nothing performance-wise to its pricier competitors, I’m hard-pressed to find anything bad to say about it. It’s got crystal-clear optics, fast and accurate info, good customer support and a great warranty: what’s not to like?
I expect to see a lot of these on the golf course in the coming months.