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There are countless ways to calculate the distance needed for an approach shot while on a golf course. Some methods are easier than others (look at you, Tour caddy who runs away from that sprinkler head at 20 feet away and tries pre-cal math). For the average golfer looking for the exact distance to the flag, the most accurate tool is a laser range finder.
Distance seekers are generally in two variants: a linear calculation version and one that also calculates the slope to account for height differences. The most important reason to stick to the non-sloping basic model is simple: costs. The upgraded models that calculate the slope often have a price of $ 400 or more, while the more simple versions without slopes can usually cost $ 200 or less.
Enter the TecTecTec ULT-X laser rangefinder, which includes not only a slope calculation, but also another feature with a high dollar rate: pin search technology with confirmation feedback. With a list price of around $ 250, the ULT-X seems to offer real value when compared to the comparable Bushnell Tour V4 Shift that contains around $ 450.
So is there a reason to spend $ 200 more on the range of brand names? Let's figure it out. I used the ULT-X on multiple courses for several weeks for two weeks, tested it in different situations and circumstances and my overall impression of it was very positive, especially for the price.
I found the size, shape and overall ergonomics to be top, especially compared to my current GolfBuddy range finder that is in the same price range. The ULT-X is compact, making it easy to store in any golf bag pocket or even in your pocket if you play in cart-path-only conditions (which is the bulk of the suddenly-subtropical Eastern US from this writing). I thought it fit very well in my medium hands and as a bonus it only weighs 0.46 pounds.
While my test sampler was supplied with a custom-fit all-weather rubber cover, I didn't think this was necessary because most enclosures of the model are covered with a non-slip layer. The white-black motif is sharp and the overall appearance and feel of the TecTecTec ULT-X is solid and premium. There are no signs of cost savings from outside, so things look up.
Furthermore, tapping the on / off button and looking through the eyepiece does not cause any disappointments either. The graphic representation is clear and easy to read. There is a pleasant series of crosshairs to center your target and icons that let you know when it is in the flag. Yards / meters are displayed to the tenth decimal, which indicates a very high degree of accuracy (more on that in a moment). Cycling through the modes is easy, although I had to read the manual to understand how to activate the feedback function to confirm that you hit the flag and not that tree at a distance of 58 meters (spoiler warning: you just keep the on power button and scans from left to right until it buzzes).
There is no point in spending money on a range finder if it does not reach its goal. The ULT-X performs satisfactorily, but not exceptionally. The device wants to display sequences as soon as you press the power button, but unless you hold it down, you'll probably get a different number with each tap. Before using the press + hold method to get the target, I often had to take 3-4 measurements to make sure I hit the flag.
By holding down, the rangefinder provides real-time measurements so that you can generally select the flag with the number most logically associated with its position in the foreground or in the background.
Like other 2-in-1 remote search engines, the TecTecTec ULT-X can be set to "legal" tournament mode or sloping mode by sliding only the edge of the device. If you do this, you will see a visible yellow warning for other golfers and tournament leaders that you have crossed to the country of the outlaws (worth noting: the yellow band indicating non-tournament is legal is relatively narrow and I have the slide be able to manipulate it close almost the entire opening before the slope function is switched off)
Regarding accuracy, I have not found blatant errors as long as I have caught the flag in my measurements. During my final lap I had a play partner to compare distances with his more expensive distance meter and he found several yards other than mid-iron range. That probably doesn't affect most informal golfers, but it certainly doesn't make the decimal view so useful.
In addition to some minor accuracy issues, the most important adverse factor that I found was using the ULT-X time. As with any other device, there was a learning period to master when to press the power button and how long it had to be held to get the most accurate and efficient reading. But even after several rounds I found it time-consuming to get a good yardage. The device needs two full seconds to start up before it is ready to measure. Add a few more seconds of printing and scanning, and I noticed that most measurements took 7-10 seconds.
That may not seem like an eternity, but consider an alternative: I could look at a GPS watch and quickly make some mental calculations about green depth and pin position in less than 5 seconds and about the same level have faith in the song. GPS watches are of course cumbersome and make you look like Inspector Gadget, so there you are.
Price: B +
It seems that the main selling point of the TecTecTec ULT-X is the price and despite the small performance deficiencies, there are numerous price-conscious golfers who sacrifice a little accuracy and patience for a brand new device that hundreds is less than the big brands. With so many features and just a few annoyances, the ULT-X is a good buy for $ 250, but not a bargain. If you are looking for amazing speed and accuracy, then there are probably better options, but the ULT-X is a competent offer.
The TecTecTec ULT-X can be found on Amazon or at https://us.tectectec.com
Total figures: B +
About Ben Grehan
Ben Grehan is a veteran of the US Army and former contractor to the government, who now takes away almost every moment of office swimming in the Mid Atlantic. He played more than 100 courses since he first picked up a golf club eight years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ben is a local consultant and employee of Golf Advisor and organizes a weekly golf discussion group on Twitter called #GolfChat. You can follow him there @ Back9Ben or on Instagram @ Back9Ben.