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Bushnell Pro X3+ Golf Rangefinder Review: The New Best of the Best?

Bushnell Pro X3+ Golf Rangefinder Review: The New Best of the Best?

The challenge: make the best golf rangefinder even better. Did Bushnell Golf do it? Our golf tech reviewer, Marc, tested it out! Let’s see where he lands and why!

Bushnell's new Pro X3+ is their latest statement golf laser rangefinder. And it looks to me like their attempt to reestablish their product class dominance.

For more than 25 years it was something of a given that Bushnell's flagship product was the bar-none best rangefinder available. Every couple of years they'd release a new model, and it would immediately be anointed top of the class.

Build quality, optics, cutting-edge technology, customer service, reputation — Bushnell led in every single category. Period. Every golfer knew Bushnell as the king of rangefinders. And deciding whether or not to own one generally came down to if you wanted the best or if you wanted a cheaper alternative.

But competition in just the past few years has gotten quite intense. For one thing, there are so many more rangefinder manufacturers than there were not too long ago. And many of those manufacturers have done a good job of copying some of Bushnell's calling cards. Things like the built-in cart magnet, the durable hardshell exterior, the super-functional carrying case, the jolt vibration target lock confirmation, the premium optics, etc.

And the problem for Bushnell is that some of those companies have not just done a good job of copying Bushnell but they've actually passed them in terms of some technology advancements.

A prime example is the Garmin Approach Z82. Suddenly, a company never before known for rangefinders introduced the highest-tech laser on the market, with built-in GPS, environmental data, a map of each hole, an on-screen scorecard, and on and on.

The Bushnell Pro X3+ attached by the magnet to a golf cart pole at the golf course with our reviewer Marc

But you know what? A Bushnell is still a Bushnell. And even those rangefinders that introduced new technologies could never quite match the fit, feel, reliability, and prestige of a Bushnell laser.

That's why consumers were so excited at the end of 2022 when Bushnell finally, after an almost four year gap between flagship releases, introduced the Pro X3. This was their attempt to add all the bells and whistles that they had pioneered plus a few of the features that other companies had released before them.

But for as loaded as the Pro X3 was, there was something pretty significant missing, especially considering the $599.99 asking price. And that was wind.

Rangefinders like the Garmin Approach Z82 have wind speed and direction. And so do all of the latest and greatest golf watches and hand-held GPS devices. It's become a pretty useful feature that more and more golfers are desiring.

And now, with the Pro X3+, Bushnell has finally added that coveted wind-speed-and-direction feature to their top-end product.

So, is the Pro X3+ the rangefinder that once again confirms Bushnell's position as the leader of the pack?

Well, at the risk of spoiling some suspense, I've got to say that this laser is pretty damn cool. It is absolutely insane to me how much technology is packed into Bushnell's new flagship rangefinder.

But maybe this has all gotten a little too crazy. Is it really worth it to spend $599.99 on a golf rangefinder?

Well, my opinion is a bit mixed on that one. I'll explain as we go. Here's my honest, in-depth review of the Bushnell Pro X3+ golf laser rangefinder.

Marc Interviews Bushnell Golf About Pro X3+ at the 2024 PGA Show

The Feature-Rich Bushnell Pro X3 Plus

My imagination is not powerful enough to envision what the next generation of golf rangefinders will include. It's gotten to the point where I'm half-expecting them to soon be able to actually swing the club for me. Yes, that's hyperbole, but not nearly as much as you might think. Today's top-end golf rangefinders are insane! They really do feel like we're creeping up to the point where game-improvement crosses the line into cheating.

The Bushnell Pro X3+ in Marc's white, golf-gloved hand on the golf course

And now that Bushnell, the best of the best, have thrown their hat into the no-holds-barred ring, you know the Pro X3+ is going to be absolutely loaded. And, of course, it is. Here's what we've got:

  • Wind speed and direction
  • Temperature
  • Barometric pressure
  • Slope
  • Locking slope-switch
  • Home elevation adjustment
  • Dual display with red or black settings
  • 7x magnification
  • Pinseeker with visual jolt
  • Integrated bite magnetic mount
  • Range of 5 to 1,300 Yards
  • Consistency within 1 Yard at 600-plus yards
  • Rubber-armored metal housing
  • IPX7 fully waterproof
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Bushnell golf app interaction
  • Premium carrying case
  • Washable microfiber cloth
  • CR2 Battery Included

See what I mean? Just about everything you could dream up is included in the Pro X3+. Now, let's get into my experiences with how all of these features perform.

Unboxing the Bushnell Pro X3+

 

The Bushnell Pro X3+ in it's box on a table before Marc opens it

 

I really don't mean this as a knock on other companies as much as a compliment to Bushnell, but there really is no comparison between the look and feel of a Bushnell rangefinder and any of its competitors.

I recently reviewed the Shot Scope PRO ZR laser, and I really like it. For just $300 and with slope included, I think it offers outstanding value. And one of the things I complimented most about that rangefinder is that it looked and felt almost like a Bushnell.

Almost.

That's the thing: Many have tried to match their quality, but somehow no other rangefinder company has been able to duplicate the premium look and feel of a Bushnell.

Just as you'd expect from Bushnell, the packaging for the Pro X3 Plus is pretty much perfect. The color scheme, the quality of the box, the cool internal flip-top design within the box, the classic industry-leading carrying case... It's all very, well, Bushnell. I'd describe the whole package as "classy."

The Bushnell Pro X3+ with the lid off and showing the rangefinder nestled in the on Marc's table

I kind of hate to gush like this, but in the hand, the Pro X3+ just feels, again, perfect. The grip, the ergonomics, the 12-ounce weight, the durable hardshell protective layer... It all just works in a very satisfying way. And to hold it is to immediately understand how durable this laser is. I didn't go so far as to try this, but I think you could throw this thing at a pretty hard object, and unless it made direct contact with the lens, I'll bet you'd be just fine.

And then there's the optics. One look into the Pro X3+, even without it turned on, is enough to hook you. With 7x magnification, the image is just absolutely crystal clear. If you didn't have any clue other than the optics that this was supposed to be a high-end rangefinder, I think you'd be convinced after just one look.

Until recently, there really weren't any setup considerations when you opened a new rangefinder. But now that the top-end lasers are including more than just distances, you have to interface with an app to get access to all of the goodies.

Bushnell makes this as simple as can be. You scan a QR code, install the Bushnell Golf app, pair the rangefinder to the app via Bluetooth, and you're done. This is what allows you to get wind speed and direction, temperature, and barometric pressure when you're out on the golf course. So you will have to have your phone somewhere relatively close by when you're using the Pro X3+.

 

The Bushnell Pro X3+ rangefinder laying on a table next to its gray and orange Bushnell carrying case

 

On-Course Bushnell Pro X3 Plus Review

I have to note that while on the whole I found connectivity between the app and rangefinder to be very stable, there have been a few times over the week-plus that I've been testing the Pro X3+ where I've lost connection. It's not a consistent problem at all, and I can't quite pin down any causes. It doesn't seem to be Bluetooth range, as I've tested leaving my phone on one side of the fairway and bringing the rangefinder all the way over to the other without any problem. Anyway, re-pairing only takes a few seconds, but it can be a pace-of-play annoyance.

 

A graphic showing the screen you see when you look through the Pro X3+ including the wind data in the viewfinder

 

Elements Compensation

Using the new wind feature is totally awesome. In the reticle, on the left side of the display, you get two wind readouts, each with a number and an arrow. One shows you a vertical arrow with accompanying speed, indicating how much the wind is hurting or helping. The other arrow is horizontal and shows you from which direction the wind is blowing if there's a cross wind.

I absolutely love this feature. We can all usually see with our own eyes which way the wind is blowing. But to get this kind of precision, matched with the exact speed of the wind, is incredibly helpful when preparing for your golf shot. And the more you become familiar with what a certain mile-per-hour wind feels like, the more you can accurately calibrate your club selection.

But you actually don't even need to dial in that feel for yourself because the rangefinder gives you a plays-like distance that factors in not just wind but a bunch of other variables. Bushnell calls it "Elements Compensation." The Pro X3+ considers wind speed and direction, distance, temperature, barometric pressure, and slope to give you a true plays-like distance.

It's all pretty mind blowing. It can even feel a bit sketchy. I mean, are we taking away too much of the feel or judgment that's traditionally been part of being a good golfer?

Ah, the hell with it. For those of us who are not "traditionally good golfers," we can use all the help we can get. The game's hard enough. And the Pro X3+ definitely provides big-time assistance.

Marc on the golf course with the Bushnell Pro X3+ rangefinder up to his face

 

Now, of course, you can't use any of these "cheats" in tournament play. But Bushnell makes turning them off really simple, and the bright orange slope-switch makes it easy for everyone to see if you've got compensated distances enabled.

Dual Display and Visual Jolt

It's always a nice option when you can toggle back and forth between red or black for the color of the text and numbers you see in the reticle depending on lighting conditions. The problem, in my experience, is that oftentimes either red or black looks definitively better than the other regardless of the light, and so I just keep it on one or the other. But the dual display on the Pro X3+ actually adds some value. Both red and black, depending on lighting and your preference, look sharp and are easy to read.

A lot of today's rangefinders have copied Bushnell's jolt feature, where the rangefinder will vibrate when it locks onto the pin. But I haven't used any rangefinders that do it as well as Bushnell. And the Pro X3+ does it even better than the previous Bushnell lasers I've tried. Not only do you get an obvious vibration in your hand, but you get a big red ring around the screen in the reticle that makes it totally apparent that your distance is confirmed. This may seem like a small feature, but I'm telling you that having that big vibration and that visual element is so confidence inspiring for me. I hate using a rangefinder and wondering if the distance I'm getting is from the actual target I'm trying to shoot. This is a complete non-issue with the Pro X3+, and to me it's a big deal.

Bite Magnetic Mount

The Pro X3+ rangefinder held with the Bite magnetic mount side facing out in Marc's hand with a white golf glove on it

This isn't that big of a distinctive feature anymore, but it is worth mentioning that Bushnell was the company that first came up with the genius idea to include a magnet in their rangefinders so that you could easily attach it to the post on your golf cart. Brilliant! And even though a lot of competing products now include that, not all of them do, and nobody does it better than Bushnell.

Distance Accuracy

I have no reason to believe that the Bushnell Pro X3 Plus is anything but pinpoint accurate. I tried, to the best of my ability, to confirm and re-confirm this several times.

I paced off the distances by foot.

I used the yardage markers out on the golf course.

I used competing rangefinders.

And I used the Garmin Approach S70.

Believe me, the Pro X3+ is dead-on accurate. You can get your distances with full confidence.

An On-Course Winner

The bottom-line findings of my on-course testing is that the Pro X3+ is undeniably awesome. It works really, really well, and it includes some really cool features.

But here's the thing: Do you need everything that it does? And is it worth $599.99 to have those features?

Because you don't even have to look outside of the Bushnell product family to find what, for some golfers, might be a more reasonable option.

Bushnell Pro X3+ vs Bushnell Tour V6 Shift

The Bushnell Tour V6 and Pro X3+ golf rangefinders laying next to each other for Marc's comparison

Bushnell's Tour Series is reserved for their more middle-of-the-road products, which would be the top of the line for some other manufacturers. The Tour Series lasers aren't quite as nice as the Pro Series models, and they don't include as many features. But, for the right user, something like the Tour V6 Shift, which does include slope, might make more sense than the Pro X3+. And that's because the Tour V6 Shift, at $399.99, costs $200 less than the Pro X3+. And it's pretty awesome in its own right.

Now, the V6 Shift is not as nice as the Pro X3+. I'm certainly not saying that. Advantages of the Pro X3+ include:

  • Pinpoint accuracy at 600+ yards (V6 Shift is 500 yards)
  • 7x magnification (V6 Shift is 6x)
  • Red/Black dual display
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Elements Compensation, meaning temperature and barometric pressure to go along with wind and slope
  • Waterproof
  • More than 3 ounces heavier and a quarter-inch longer for a better hand feel

Make no mistake, those are some great advantages. As I said, I'm not claiming the V6 Shift is in the same class as the Pro X3+.

But what I am suggesting is that if you've gone your whole golfing life without wind speed and direction and temperature and barometric pressure factoring into your shot distance calculations, maybe there's an opportunity for you to save a couple hundred bucks if you decide you can continue to live without those things.

Here's the problem: Once you get a taste of these advanced features and a look at that 7x magnification, you're going to be spoiled. That's what's happened to me. I'm not sure I can go back to "slumming it."

Who Should Buy the Bushnell Pro X3 Plus?

If you're the golfer who wants the most premium rangefinder, here it is. I wouldn't even bother looking around at other options. Why waste the time? The Bushnell Pro X3+ is what you want.

And if you really, really like someone, this would make for one hell of a gift. I'm going to leave my wife and kids' contact information below so that maybe someone would be kind enough to drop them a hint for this upcoming Father's Day. It's not going to be easy for me to send this review sample back.

Obviously, if cost is your biggest concern, this really isn't the right product. I say that with total honesty. You can get what is still a great rangefinder without having to spend $600.

But this is what it's going to cost if you want the best.

The Bushnell Pro X3+ rangefinder case hanging from Marc's golf bag

About PlayBetter Golf Reviewer Marc Sheforgen

Marc "Shef" Sheforgen is a golf writer whose passion for the game far exceeds his ability to play it well. Marc covers all things golf, from product reviews and equipment recommendations to event coverage and tournament analysis. When he's not playing, watching, or writing about golf, he enjoys traveling (often golf-related), youth sports coaching, volunteering, and record collecting.

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