Bushnell has established its place at the top of the DMD (Distance-measuring device) market over the last decade, and remains the industry standard when any new laser rangefinders hit this somewhat crowded market place.
We are now into the fifth generation of Bushnell's popular 'Tour V' range of lasers, which in my opinion are the equivalent in the rangefinder market, to what the Titleist ProV1 is to the golf ball market. The best.
So, what has Bushnell done in 2020 to improve on the #1 Rangefinder on the PGA Tour?
What's It All About?
Bushnell has essentially added some of the most popular features from last year's premium Pro XE model into the Tour V5 Shift, giving golfers the chance to get more power and more speed from their device.
The PinSeeker with Visual Jolt technology shows a clear red ring on the display when the target is acquired to give you greater confidence of the yardage being displayed. You also get a small vibration too, so that you know that the yardage on the screen is the most recent one.
The BITE magnetic mount has also been included, which allows golfers to attach the laser to their trolley or buggy magnetically without the need for any cases or clips, perfect for quick and easy access out on the course.
Of course, most modern laser rangefinder manufacturers provide the option for slope compensation technology, and of course the Bushnell range is no different.
Whilst the more basic Tour V5 doesn't have this, the new Shift model does, and comes with a 'Slope Switch' feature so that it can be turned off during competitive rounds.
"Golfers look to Bushnell to provide the most accurate distance readings on the course to allow them to perform at their highest level. We are constantly innovating and developing new technologies, and with the addition of our BITE magnetic cart mount, Visual Jolt and our updated slope algorithm in the Tour V5 Shift, we continue to provide golfers with the products they need to increase their confidence and play better golf."
There's only one real way to test a rangefinder, and that's by simply getting out onto the golf course and playing some golf.
Throughout the course of 18 holes, you're bound to come across a variety of different distances, lights and angles to really see whether the Tour V5 Shift is worth that rather large £359 price tag.
Bushnell Tour V5 Shift Rangefinder Review
The Tour V5 Shift is pretty similar to previous Bushnell models, and although I think it is probably slightly chunkier and more robust than the Tour V4, it still doesn't feel too clunky or awkward to use.
Cosmetically, there's a new orange and grey carry case which instantly shouts Bushnell if you're bothered about your playing partners knowing that you use the latest, greatest tech.
The black, grey and red colour scheme is very similar to the Pro XE and I like it - it looks a little more premium in my opinion.
The new yards to metres button is really easy to use and will come in handy for golfers around the world who want to switch to their own preferred unit of measurement, rather than having to do any extra calculations for each shot on the course. Personally I thought this was a great feature. There is nothing worse than constantly trying to convert a yardage to work out how far you've got in metres. Simple but effective.
One of the common criticisms which I saw levelled at the Pro XE was that the actual switch for the slope technology was not very durable, and its something that I found over a season's use. It seemed to struggle to stay in place even whilst in the bag and not being used, meaning that you had to check that you had it on the right setting every time it came to using it.
This appears to have been addressed in the Tour V5 as the button felt much more stable and secure - meaning that there is no need to worry that you may be breaking the rules mid-way through a competition round as well as having the added piece of mind that this rangefinder will stand the test of time. Always nice when you've spent £359...
Looking down the viewfinder, there's almost a cinematic look which makes it really easy to focus on a specific target in the distance, meaning that you should still be able to spot the flag on longer approaches or if you just want to get an idea of the distance remaining when playing a layup, for example.
One improvement which I think could have been made is to add the same red font, like that in the Pro XE model, as I think it was more visible in very low or very bright light.
Bushnell Tour V5 Shift Rangefinder Verdict
The Bushnell Tour V5 Shift is everything you'd expect from a Bushnell rangefinder. Lightning fast, extremely accurate and really easy to use. It feels like a proper piece of 'techy' kit when you've got it in your hands or on your bag.
Is it miles better than the Tour V4 or the Pro XE, Bushnell's previous releases? Probably not, no. But that's because they've consistently been making top-of-the-range products for years now - it's getting hard to improve year on year.
Bushnell say that their new Slope algorithm is their best yet, and it's very hard to disprove that. It seems to work exactly as you'd like it to, and after my testing, I can't disagree so we'll have to trust them on that.
So if you want the latest bit of kit which will give you confidence in your yardages every time you play, and which is as fast and intuitive as anything on the market, then you really can't go wrong with the Tour V5 Shift. Now, if it could just hit the shots for me...
- Market-leading speed and power
- Very easy to use
- Looks and feels premium
- Improvement on the Tour V4
- No real improvement on the Pro XE
- Still very expensive for a lot of golfers