Martin Hopley

In these days of instant feedback on Twitter, the idea of the long running BBC Points of View programme where viewers would write in about TV programmes seems quite quaint.

Most letters started, 'Dear Sir, why, oh why, oh why, does...' and I have to confess that over the years I have started with something along these lines when wondering why someone has not put a small GPS screen on a laser to give you the best of both worlds.

It seems so obvious to give you the GPS distances you can't see plus the front and back of the green yardages combined with the laser accuracy of the distance to the flag all in one device.

To be fair to Bushnell, they did give it a go with their Hybrid Laser GPS in 2012, but it was not widely sold and the chunky device looked like a laser with a full size GPS welded on to the side.

The other major laser and GPS manufacturers stood their ground pointing fingers at each other's system, when really they both have their pros and cons.

So now it is left up to Callaway to bring the dream back to life with the rather drily titled Hybrid Laser-GPS.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

It's basically the Callaway 300 Series laser I reviewed previously with a small 18x18 mm GPS screen below the viewfinder.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

The laser runs off the usual CR2 battery under the easy to open battery cover, whilst the more power hungry GPS works from a mini USB rechargeable battery that is good for a round and a bit.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

Whilst the laser does unlimited courses, the GPS manages with 30,000 worldwide, which is most of them and it locates the one you are on in 30 to 45 seconds when you turn on the power switch.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

There are four buttons, two on either side, with the right hand set enabling you to scroll through the menu with the enter button on the bottom left.

Once you are locked into the course you are playing, the screen shows front, middle and back yardages clearly and it is easy to move between holes using the up/down buttons on the right.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

Clicking on the bottom left button will bring up hazard information two at a time that can then also be scrolled through starting from the closest. If there is a lot of trouble to avoid, you may be quicker just lasering it if you can see it.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

The laser itself is straightforward enough, although it has a basic feel to it and sometimes takes a couple of tries to lock onto to the flag.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

However a quick glance at the GPS will confirm if you have done this if the number you get is between the front and back GPS yardage on the screen, so this verification is another benefit of the combined device.

To check the GPS distances I sometimes lasered the front of the green to see if it matched the yardage on the screen and there was always a few yards difference. Maybe this is why the mainstream brands have not brought a hybrid device out as it shows that one of their products may not be perceived as accurate.

However any difference will be due to not being directly in line with the middle of the front of the green, or the margin for error from GPS mapping, or the accuracy of the GPS signal, or the margin for error in the laser, or all four. It's just the way things are and I doubt many of us are consistent enough with our distance control that this is the sort of thing to starting throwing clubs about.

The Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS comes with a short mini USB cable and a soft carry case that has a loop on the back for slipping a strap through if you want to attach it to your bag. The soft case does the job and is closed with a magnetic clasp under the flap, but is not the most robust laser case I have seen in my time.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

The Hybrid Laser-GPS is made under license by Izzo Golf in the USA if that is important to any Callaway loyalists, but this is not uncommon these days.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

As someone who uses a separate front/back yardage device in conjunction with a laser, I think the Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS is excellent as it saves time and gives the key yardages for approach shots clearly, simply and easily.

Downsides are the short battery life for the GPS which would struggle to make 36 holes in a day without a boost, but the laser is still there regardless to take on the extra workload if required.

Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS

However, if you are regularly playing a course you know then this could be the only distance measurer you will need as it is competitively priced with clear functionality and cheaper than having two devices.

My prayers have been answered.

Golfalot Rating: 4 stars
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Callaway Hybrid Laser-GPS Golf GPS Rangefinder - Product Details

UK LaunchNovember 2016
UK Launch RRP£329
Device TypeHybrid GPS Laser
Shot MeasurementYes
Power OptionsBattery
DimensionsWidth: 107mm, Height: 76mm, Depth: 44mm
Screen SizeWidth: 18mm, Height: 18mm
Device Weight220 grams
Course Capacity30,000
Manufacturer's WebsiteCallaway Website

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User Reviews

Martin Day
April 2018

I have had this device for a number of years now, being one of the first people to get hold of it in the UK. Its really comfortable and easy to use, the eye piece and clarity are great, battery life just using the range finder is long, never changed it yet since I have had it. I have had a number of the Sky Caddie's, but will never get one again, over 5 years I had 3, all failed, either battery fails, software issues, it was a nightmare. So this has been a dream since I had it. 5 star rating from me

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