The Bushnell Tour V5 and V5 Shift are among the industry leaders for golf rangefinders.
So I went to my local golf shop and picked up the V5 Shift to try out and review for you. The bottom line is that this device delivers exactly what you want in a rangefinder.
The Tour V5 Shift is just one step below the super full-featured Pro XE. The primary difference is that the Pro XE also adjusts distances for temperature and altitude (two features I really don’t think are necessary) and costs $150 more than the V5 Shift at the time I’m writing this.
Click below to compare prices and check availability…
I tried out the V5 Shift. The V5 is essentially the same, just without the option to adjust your yardage for slope. I’d say its a personal preference as to which one you would prefer, but the standard V5 will save you $100 compared to the shift.
My first impression of the V5 Shift is that it is a very well built device. I wouldn’t call it heavy by any means at 8 oz. but it feels solid and well built when you hold it.
The body appears to be mostly harder rubber and not the more flimsy feeling plastic that I’ve found in some models.
When it comes to laser rangefinders, there’s really only one thing they need to do…get your yardage fast and accurate.
And the Bushnell Tour V5 delivers on that goal as good as or better than any other rangefinder I’ve tried.
A quick note about accuracy. I honestly haven’t tested a modern laser rangefinder from one of the major brands that wasn’t accurate. Once they hit the target, they all will give you a good yardage. So the important things to look for are speed and ability to hit the target.
As for speed, there was virtually no delay from button press to seeing the yardage on the screen. This made the V5 a pleasure to use, especially when I wanted to get a yardage to the pin and other landmarks like the front of the green or bunkers.
Arguably the most important aspect of rangefinder performance is hitting the target. There is nothing more maddening than standing at the tee box while three other players are waiting for the yardage and having a rangefinder that has trouble picking up the flag.
Luckily, that was definitely not the case with the Bushnell V5 Shift. It was very good at acquiring targets.
Easy targets like a flagstick were a breeze to hit even at over 300 yards. While I wasn’t expecting to reach a target 350 yards away, I found it helpful for picking a tee club on short par 4s to leave myself a comfortable approach shot.
More difficult targets (such as bunkers, front of the green, or even undulations in the fairway) were equally easy to target. You do have to be a little more careful when you aim because they aren’t sticking 6 feet up like a flagstick, but as long as there was line of sight, I had no trouble with the V5 Shift.
Functions are pretty standard across most rangefinders. The V5 Shift includes slope calculation and the V5 does not. That’s really the only difference (and the reason I opted to test the V5 Shift). If you turn off the slope function on the Shift then it essentially becomes a standard V5.
Bushnell has said that the slope algorithm they use has been updated to reflect changes in modern golf equipment. The average player’s shots are flying higher than before so that means the descent angles have changed. So the new algorithm takes this into account when adjusting the yardage you should play for when the target is at a different elevation.
Just from testing out the device for a few rounds, I can’t verify that the algorithm is better than before, but just the fact that Bushnell is attempting to account for changes in the game like this gives me more faith in their rangefinders.
If you play in tournaments that don’t allow slope adjustment technology, then you can easily and visibly switch the slope function off.
There is also a simple button to switch from yards to meters.
The V5 also has a pretty strong built in magnet so you can easily attach it to your golf cart (or trolley for my friends across the pond). They call it the Bushnell Bite (because everything needs a fancy name).
I left it attached to my power cart all round and it never felt like there was ever any danger of it falling off. The ease of just being able to grab it (no pouch, straps, or zipper to deal with) and then slap it back on the cart made it so that I was focusing more on the golf than the device.
This is a feature I am seeing more and more in rangefinders and I have found it to be incredibly useful. Whether you are using a power cart or a pushcart, being able to attach the rangefinder to almost any metal surface cuts down the time it takes to acquire the right yardage.
I don’t think I would want a rangefinder without this feature after using it.
Optics and Viewfinder
Optics (or visibility) are an important factor when choosing a rangefinder.
There are two aspects to this that I looked at. First, was the magnification sufficient to be able to hit a faraway target and was the viewfinder clear enough in less than ideal conditions that I could still see my target.
The Tour V5 and V5 Shift have a 6x magnification factor. This seems to be a sweet spot.
Too little magnification and you wouldn’t be able to see and hit targets, but too much and you would be too zoomed in to scan the area easily which would actually make it harder to find targets. Their previous model had 5x magnification.
Bushnell also made improvements in the optics in terms of brightness. The V5 has double the brightness of the previous model (and other similarly priced models) as well as improved color and definition.
This comes in real handy when you are playing early in the morning or late in the afternoon when its not that bright out. The improved visibility makes it much easier to see and shoot targets.
The improvements also made for better contrast when the sun is behind your target. Some lenses will completely wash out when the target is backlit. This was pretty well controlled on the V5 optics though. I had no trouble seeing a flagstick with the sun right behind it.
Bushnell Pro XE vs. Tour V5
The next step up from the V5 is the Pro XE. The Pro XE is Bushnell’s top of the line model from Bushnell. It has everything that the V5 Shift has, plus it can adjust the yardage based on temperature and barometric pressure.
Most golfers know that temperature can effect the distance that the ball will fly, but there’s a lot of conjecture out there as to how much it actually affects your shot. The Pro XE takes the guesswork out of it and gives you an adjusted yardage.
If you’ve ever played golf at a higher altitude then you know that the difference in barometric pressure can also affect the distance of your shots. So with Bushnell’s “elements” function, you won’t have to guess at that either.
Of course if you primarily play at the same conditions, this may not be as helpful as it would for a player that travels often for golf and plays in a variety of temperatures.
The kicker is that there is a $150 difference in price for this added feature. Personally, I’m not sure if those added features are worth the extra cost, but that decision is up to you.
Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the models as well as links to check the latest prices…
|Bushnell Model||V5 / V5 Shift||Pro XE|
|Bushnell Model||V5 / V5 Shift||Bushnell Pro XE|
|Range||1,300 yards||1,300 yards|
|Flag Lock Range||400 yards||450 yards|
|Lock Notification||Jolt and Light||Jolt|
|Slope Function||Yes (Shift model only)||Yes|
|Dimensions||4.5″ x 1.5″ x 3″||4.5″ x 1.8″ x 3.1″|
|Weight||8 oz.||11 oz.|
|MSRP||$300 / $400||$540|
Who Is This For?
The Bushnell Tour V5 Shift is perfect for the avid golfer that is willing to spend a little extra for fast and accurate yardages.
If you don’t play all that often and are just out there to have a good time with your friends, then you’ll better off saving your money and buying a round of pints at the 19th hole.
But if accurate yardages and having a device that doesn’t slow you down is important to your game, then I don’t think there is a better value on the market than the Tour V5.
Whether you get the standard version or the shift largely depends on whether you find yourself in tournaments that don’t allow slope functionality on rangefinders. Sure, you can switch it off, but you’re still inviting issues in the event that you forget to switch it off or an official doesn’t recognize that it’s switched off.