Review Golfers are a funny lot, many of them play with superstitions or simply have faith that their perseverance will eventually win out. Yet I know that the perfect swing is not all technical and mechanical, but it’s also about feeling perfectly balanced and believing that the club in my hands is just an extension of my mind's eye. When these things come together in a simple relaxed swing, it’s a Zen moment that produces perfection.
Tee, anyone? Leica's Pinmaster
Naturally, I don’t share this insight with professionals or anyone with a decent handicap. For most golfers, consistency is the name of the game and, for those competing, I can see that any edge is an edge. So it's easy to imagine that professional sportsmen and their caddies are going to love Leica’s Pinmaster. It delivers an edge by precisely measuring the distance you are from the pin (or hole to the non-golfers out there), so you can decide the best club to drive with, and using the Pinmaster is not against the rules either according Leica's press release which states: "Use of the Leica Pinmaster on the golf course is allowed under R&A rule 14.3."
With features akin to gun sights, the Pinmaster has a 7x magnification and a dioptre adjustment to compensate for visual impairments, although the eyepiece is big enough to allow use with spectacles on. The device fits neatly in the palm of the hand with a button on top to activate its laser rangefinder. This targets just one per cent of the viewing area. Align the red square in the centre of the viewfinder and once locked onto a flag (or anything with some contrast) a three-digit LED display below the target area will tell you just how far away it is.
The Pinmaster operates with 'first target logic', so if there is confusion about another contrasty thing near the tiny flag, it will show the reading of the nearest object. In use, you’ll find that anything within 15m of each other will be a challenge at a great distance, but for all the time I used it, I never doubted a reading. At the other end of the scale, the minimum targeting distance is 10m/11 yards.
One thing that it could be very useful for at the beginning of your golf quest, is determining how far you can hit with each of the clubs in your bag. A driving range or local common will help you determine how far say, your seven iron can take you at certain power or height of swing.
Now it may seem obvious, but in this country distances on links are measured in yards, which no doubt explains why there is a 'Y' on the end of the name on the box. A metric version is also available, so if you do decide to go shopping for a Pinmaster, be sure it measures in your preferred units.