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New Leupold rangefinder deemed legal by USGA

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The folks at Leupold continue to make “evolutionary” changes to their rangefinders, in hopes of improving speed, accuracy and ease of use. And those enhancements are a big part of the story behind the new GX-4i2, the latest offering in this realm from the Beaverton, Ore., concern. So is a recent ruling by the USGA that for the first time makes this product legal for tournament play under Rule 14-3, provided its bright, yellow-coated Smart Key is not employed.

Essentially, the GX-4i2 is two rangefinders in one. At its core, it is a simple yet highly technical line-of-sight measuring device that utilizes a DNA (for Digitally eNhanced Accuracy) engine and advanced infrared laser system to provide faster measurements and accuracy displayed to the nearest one-tenth of a yard, up to 400 yards away. In addition, it enables golfers to track down distances in any and all weather conditions. A Prism Lock system is designed not only to bolster accuracy but also make it less of an imperative to hold the device steady.

What makes GX-4i2 truly unique, however, is its removable Smart Key, which adds several benefits. One called True Golf Range (TGR) calculates slope, altitude and temperature. There is also a feature dubbed Club Selector, which combines a player’s specific hitting strength and TGR to automatically recommend the appropriate club for each shot, based on data a golfer has already inputted about his usual distances.

Problem is, the USGA has not allowed distance devices that provide anything more than line-of-sight measurements. That meant that those Leupold products boasting Smart Keys could not be used for tournament play, even if the Smart Key was removed. But at the end of 2013, the USGA determined that the GX-4i2 was indeed legal for competition, provided that the Local Rules permitted the use of such devices, and that the Smart Key was not engaged.

That represents quite a victory for the company, and also for the golfers who like the cutting-edge technology and versatility of the latest from Leupold – and heretofore had to turn to other devices that only measured line-of-sight.