The Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT is the successor to the extremely popular Tour Z6, and one of the best rangefinders on the market today. With a compact design and superb yardage accuracy it can really knock a few points off your score by taking the guess work out of your club selection. While many golfers may prefer a GPS watch for their shot making decisions (Check out our Pyle GPS watch review), there are some solid advantages to using a laser rangefinder instead. The most notable is the extreme accuracy when determining distance to precise areas on the course, compared to the more “general area” measurements provided by GPS technology. Whether its that hazardous tree to the right of the fairway (that definitely wasn’t designed to punish your fade..), or the troublesome stream that just so happens to run right in front of the green, knowing the precise distance can help you pick the best club to overcome these challenges. I have had the Tour Z6 JOLT in my bag for several months now and used it countless rounds, if you are looking to save a few strokes this is a quick, albeit expensive ($349), way to do so.
One of my favorite design elements of the Tour Z6 is it’s compact size. For years rangefinders have often felt as if you are holding a brick up to your eye, with bulky, heavy, and uninspired designs. The Tour Z6 brings some common sense into rangefinder design, while still achieving similar performance compared to larger models. It’s textured black rubber exterior provides extra grip, while the contrasting white aluminum provides an aesthetically pleasing combination. It is a great balance of size, with enough bulk to feel durable and strong while being slim enough to easily fit in your golf bag pockets. Alternatively you can hang the included carrying case to your bag with the included carabiner, for instant access while on the course. The 6x magnification offers a little extra help seeing down the fairway, while the tinted glass helps keep the red LED numbers easy to read on a bright day.
It goes without saying that the primary feature is to provide you with an accurate measure to the target you put in your sight, but the Tour Z6 JOLT features one particularly handy feature not found among the competition, the “jolt”. The jolt is simply a vibration that provides physical feedback when you have locked on a target, while this might come across as a gimmick, it is surprising handy on a bright sunny day when it may be more difficult to tell whether the display has locked on.
The lock on feature is not as new, referred to by the Bushnell Tour Z6 as “Pinseeker”, similar technology has been around for a few generations of range finders. The Bushnell’s Pinseeker technology is designed to locate the flag stick as quickly as possible and provide an accurate yardage to that point without having to make continual attempts to hit the pin. With a range of 1300 yards, there is no legitimate situation you could find yourself in on any course where the Tour Z6 would be limited by distance. However it is worth mentioning that if your view to the pin is blocked you will be out of luck with a rangefinder versus a GPS golf watch, which has the ability to read pin distances regardless of line of sight obstructions.
On the Course
The actual operation is pretty straight forward. First you have to pick out the spot where you want the distance measured to. While the first choice is generally the flag pin, the Bushnell Tour Z6 Jolt works just as well to read yardage to bunkers, water, or other hazards or landmarks; incredibly useful in making sure you end up either short or past the hazards, instead of in them. Once your spot is picked out you bring up the rangefinder and look down the sights until the target is centered in the Bushnell’s bright red reticle. Once you have the target in sight you simply hold the laser button on top and attempt to hold the unit as steady as possible on the target. Over a long distance even the slightest movement is amplified and can throw you off target. (For this reason I would argue some form of lockon technology is a mandatory feature for any rangefinder purchase.) The Tour Z6 Jolt will intelligently decide when the target is locked using it’s pinseeker technology and give you a friendly “jolt” to let you know the reading is ready and bright red yardage readings will pop up in the display. It is that simple.
While the Bushnell Tour Z6 Jolt is primarily intended for use during play, it can prove just as valuable during practice. All this talk about club selection is useless if you don’t know your clubs distances. Flags on the driving range are widest available means of measurement, however they are rarely accurate. Private courses do a better job of updating distance measurements with the day to day layout changes, but for many people public courses are the only source of play. Depending on the hitting location for the day the flags may be off by 10 yards or more. With a rangefinder you can easily check those distances at the start of your session to ensure you are hitting as far as you think you are. For even more precise club measurements you can head out to an empty field with a friend and run through each club in your bag. Your buddy can act as a human pin and help you measure out the distance for each club. This is one of the best ways to create a handy and precise distance guide for everything in your bag.
While I am a fan of the convenience a GPS golf watch provides, there is little argument that laser range finders are far more accurate when determining individual shots. GPS units carve out an advantage in scenarios where a tree or turn blocks your line of sight, however the precision and ability to plan all types of shots, not just green approaches, makes the argument strong for a laser rangefinder versus GPS golf watch. The Bushnell Tour Z6 Jolt is one of the best rangefinders you can pick up right now, the quality and precision are a hard to beat combo. While the cost ($349) may seem steep, if you haven’t had one in your bag before you are guaranteed to shave more strokes off your game than you would with that new $400 driver. The ability to pinpoint exact yardage to any target on the course will save you from many headaches in the sand, trees, or water.
Check out this short preview video from Bushnell: