UpSide’s LOCKON rangefinder has overpriced golf tech in its crosshairs

UpSide Rangefinder

UpSide’s LOCKON Rangefinder has its sights set on improving your game.

The techy side of golf has been on full display over the last few years with a rash of launch monitors, simulators, game improvement apps and even “smart clubs” that collect real-time data for any not-pro golfer that can afford it. But whether you’re a data junkie, or just don’t trust your buddy’s club recommendations, there’s one piece of golf tech that really can change your game for the better, and it’s been around for awhile. We’re talking about the rangefinder.

It’s a simple concept: find your target, press a button, and play the yardage it tells you to — something any rangefinder on the market will accomplish to varying degrees. But the simplicity of the device also makes it easy to overlook the best among the rest. What really sets rangefinders apart comes down to reliability, added (useable) features and price, and Upside Inc.’s LOCKON Laser Rangefinder checks all of those boxes.

Surely there are Bushnell truthers out there already scoffing at the idea of a better buy, and not without reason given the company’s track record for producing high quality devices. But UpSide has delivered a reliable, ridiculously-easy-to-use device suited for golfers at any level, and at a price point that’s A LOT more approachable. That’s a fact.

The LOCKON rangefinder is ready to go straight out of the box (I have to admit that I didn’t even need to open the user manual to figure everything out before my first test round). Press the power button once to turn it on, and again with the crosshairs on the target to get a reading — that’s literally it. The device even vibrates once locked onto your target so there’s no left to right panning required, unlike some other brands. The LOCKON comes with two modes; “Tournament” mode measures exact distances while “Slope” mode displays both exact and compensated distances, which it bases on elevation changes. Switching between the two is a simple click of the “Mode” button.

Speaking to reliability and features, LOCKON’s expertly calibrated laser is accurate to half a yard, with 650+ yards of range. The viewfinder boasts 6x magnification, 7 degrees field of view and a crystal clear LCD display allowing you to see your target and readings quickly, and the auto power save feature ensures you won’t drain the your battery while it’s not in use. The ergonomic design is compact and easy to store with the included hard case, but the icing on the cake is the patent-pending LOCKON magnet build specifically to hold on tightly to golf carts and club heads. Forget about losing this bad boy anytime soon — the magnet is no joke — whether secured to your cart or your clubs, the LOCKON promises to stick around when you need it (wink).

UpSide LOCKON rangefinder

True to its name, the LOCKON rangefinder’s magnet keeps it from going anywhere and always close at hand.

Now for the best part. Somehow UpSide offers all of this for $179.00, with free shipping and additional discounts available through Amazon. (Disclosure: The company sent the LOCKON to CGB at no cost for review purposes.) For comparison, Bushnell’s latest offering, the Pro XE which also boasts a magnet, slope readings and has additional barometric and temperature calculations, comes in at $549.99. You tell me, are air pressure, temperature readings and a brand name worth an extra $370?

On the other hand, to be fair, there are of course other quality rangefinders available for less than the LOCKON, too. But the further down the price scale you go the more you’ll be giving up, like range capability, reliability, and measurement variables — and the magnet. I can tell you that’s worth an extra 70 bucks or so, easily.

Really, whether you need a new rangefinder or not, the LOCKON is a must for golfers looking to hone in on their distances with an easy-to-use device without paying an arm and a leg for unneeded features. (Selling your used Bushnell could cover the cost and then some anyways, ahem.) With just the right amount of data and an unbeatable price, UpSide clearly has its sights set on changing how we look at high-tech golf accessories.

The Max muni course shines as a excellent golf destination on the southern border

The Max flag

The Max is nothing close to your average municipal course.

When you hear Laredo, Texas, the last thing that comes to mind is great golf. But believe it or not, built on the bluffs over-looking the Rio Grande — just a pitching wedge away from Mexico — the Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course has everything you need for an unforgettable getaway to wait out the Colorado cold season.

“The Max” as locals call it, is a Robert Trent Jones II Signature Design. This great facility is one of only six RTJ II designs you can play in Texas, with others including notable properties such as Horseshoe Bay, Mill Creek and Las Colinas.

The Max is not your run-of-the-mill municipal golf course — flat and featureless with holes stacked next to one another. Instead, the course weaves its way through what seems an endless mesquite tree forest, often leaving you with a feeling of seclusion during your round, and plenty of shade. The natural soundtrack of the Texas borderlands surrounds the course, and the wind fanning through the trees provides a cool respite from the Texas sun!

The design takes advantage of the gentle, rolling terrain to create The Max’s one-of-a-kind character — appealing to the eye from tee to green. Large, flat green complexes provide plenty of chances at the dance, but the Bermuda greens are quick, and the subtle breaks prove plenty challenging. Overall, the course is exactly what you would expect to find at an expensive country club, with manicured fairways, greens rolling fast and true, and (somewhat) forgiving penalty areas.

The Max 15 flag

The course is designed seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, calling for decisive shot planning.

Aside from the fantastic course conditions, The Max’s variety of holes demands players’ attention throughout the round. From beautifully framed par 3s to reachable par 5s and drivable par 4s, each hole provides a new and interesting challenge. The par 3 at no. 15 is a perfect example, with strategically placed trees obscuring your view of the the bunker-protected green. From the right angle, the twisted, ancient looking mesquites frame the flag perfectly, and add a an opportunity to get a little fancy with your ball flight — get your cameras ready.

The par 4 no.18 couldn’t be a better finishing hole. A wide open landing zone from the tee sets the stage for an interesting approach, the fairway shrinking to a sliver as it doglegs left around a vast natural hazard. Regardless of your tee shot distance a layup could be as risky as challenging the hazard and cutting the corner — two green side bunkers will make you second guess your approach, no matter where you’re playing from.

The Max hole 18

Hole 18 ensures you won’t forget your experience at The Max anytime soon.

After you finish the round, the great experience only continues. The Max’s new stunning clubhouse, a rustic adobe-inspired structure, fits seamlessly into the Texas landscape, as if it’s been there for decades. The main level is dedicated to the bar and Las Islitas Grill, dishing out delicious clubhouse favorites and chef specials before, during and after your round, and making it’s own mark on Laredo’s food scene. (See everything else Laredo has to offer here.) The upstairs event space, meanwhile, boasts the best views of the Rio Grande River in all of Laredo and the perfect place for weddings, corporate events and any type of private party you can think of. When the space isn’t booked, The Max hosts a variety of public events including yoga and live entertainment nights, making the most of one of the best overall venues in the city.

The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course is truly a treasure for the people of the City of Laredo. The friendly staff, outstanding course design and conditions, delicious food with hearty portions and world class views to be expected from such a unique setting truly makes this place a worthy golf destination. The city cares about this municipal track and recognizes everything it brings to the community — as every muni course should — and it shows. The Max promises a unique, high caliber golf experience you may never have considered, and one you’re sure to remember.

Laredo Texas has everything you need for a perfect golf vacation

Laredo hotel

La Posada Hotel’s pool is a perfect getaway by itself.

What are the makings of the perfect golf getaway? Where to play and how many rounds you can squeeze in may be first on the mind, but don’t neglect the most important parts of your vacation, meaning, well, everything else. Whether you’re playing sun up to sundown, or a quick round in-between tourist stops with the family, the time you spend on the course is a mere fraction of your vacation as a whole. Where you’re staying, dining options, local nightlife, attractions and all “the little things” are the factors that will determine just how great your golf getaway will be.

It’s those special little things that set the city of Laredo, TX, apart from the Scottsdales, Orlandos and others typically associated with golf getaways. A city somewhat lost in the mainstream perception of a US border town, Laredo exists in a world unto itself; rich with natural beauty, a culture steeped in history, and offering a kind of rest and relaxation unlike anywhere else.

Though founded in 1755, during the Spanish effort to colonize northern Mexico, it wasn’t until after the U.S.’ annexation of Texas in 1845 — and the subsequent war with Mexico — that Laredo became a part of the United States. Centuries of Spanish, Mexican and American cultural exchanges have left an indelible mark on the city, making for an unmatched experience for anyone looking to explore one of America’s most unique regions.

Living History

San Augistín Cathedral

San Augistín Cathedral looms over the city center.

Laredo’s cultural identity is defined by the city’s center, San Augistín Plaza in downtown’s San Augistín Historical District. A beautiful, tranquil park lined with brick roads neighbors the 19th century San Augistín Cathedral, completed in 1872 and run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laredo. The building’s roots date back to the 1760s, when a small mission was built as a place of worship, later replaced by a small stone structure in 1778. Visitors can still see the outline of that stone structure outside the cathedral’s front doors, with colored bricks marking the original foundation that still rests several feet below ground.

Adjacent to the cathedral, is the gorgeous property of the original casa consistorial (think town hall), now an impeccable Four Diamond hotel, La Posada. The property was once converted into a high school — the building that now houses the main lobby, restaurant and other amenities — before becoming the city’s foremost boutique hotel, touting impressive views of the Mexican border and famed bridge crossings from the banks of the Rio Grande. The historical building flies seven flags above its doors, each representing a territorial claim on the land (see image caption below) a proud deflection from Texas’ usual “Six Flags” moniker found throughout the city.

7 flags of Laredo

The “Six Flags of Texas” represent the 6 nations that claimed the land. Laredo flies 7 flags, with addition of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande.

Inside, La Posada’s quaint elegance is evident at first glance with rustic accents and refined features highlighting the property’s design and historical significance. Manicured courtyards lined with pristine gardens serve as corridors to the guest rooms, with the stunning main courtyard hosting one of the properties two outdoor pools, a poolside bar and water feature surrounded by towering plants and livened by the sound of birds singing as they bustle to and from. All in all, La Posada delivers a quintessential vacation setting. Rooms include nods to historical elegance as well, with exposed brick walls and more rustic accents characterizing the cozy, comforting and well-maintained spaces. With a top quality full service bar and restaurant, ballroom and event venue, La Posada Hotel has created its own signature brand of rest and relaxation you can only find in Laredo.

Right outside the hotel doors is The Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, Laredo’s definitive historical center. The small museum is one the city’s oldest structures, having served as the capitol building of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande and the former residence of the famed Bartolomé Garcia, the mayor of Laredo. Though small in size, the museum is rife with artifacts dating back to the earliest years of the territory, and authentic displays transport visitors into a day in the life of those living on the Rio in the 1800s, and a must-visit for anyone wanting to make the most of this unique cultural experience.

All You Can Eat

While Laredo’s “authentic” dining scene is dominated by latin cuisine — don’t sleep on the local gas station’s tacos — the growing metro is home to many locally-owned restaurants, and trending towards the modern craft movement with more and more casual, hip, and delicious options abound. Lolita’s Bistro is a shining example of the latter with gorgeous plates served in a delightful, social media worthy atmosphere. Unbeholden to a specific cuisine, Lolita’s menus delight with a range of Middle Eastern, American and Asian flavors alongside its stand-out Latin options. The appetizer list cannot be missed, especially with the salpicon tostadas and Baja style lobster taco waiting to dazzle your taste buds. The salpicon (shredded seasoned beef served cold) sticks to the Mexican variation — shredded beef stewed with onion, garlic, and dried spices served cold — heaped on a fresh tostada with fresh pico, avocado, queso fresco and onion coming together for an unforgettable bite. Not to be outdone, the lobster taco’s creamy texture works surprisingly well inside a tortilla, with saffron rice, chipotle avocado and black beans complimenting the fresh lobster flavor and making for an addictive teaser.

Paleque Grill

Paleque Grill wows with stunning plates and spot on flavors.

For an authentic taste of Laredo, the Palenque name is inescapable. Taco Palenque is a local fast-food mainstay for 24 hour favorites, serving the signature flavors of its tacos and quesadillas from multiple locations all across Southeast Texas. It’s more refined relative touting the same moniker, Palenque Grill wows diners with bountiful servings of North Pacific Mexican Cuisine, superb presentation, and spot-on flavors. Per Texas standards, the meal begins with complimentary chips and salsa, which you do not want to skip. Whether sweet, smoky or spicy, the sampling of house salsas disappear all too quickly, serving as a perfect compliment to anything else you order, too. Mouth watering options line Palenque Gill’s menu cover to cover — from seafood to enchiladas, parrilladas and more — meaning the most unenjoyable part of your dinner will be having to choose one. For an excellent sampler option, go for the parrilladas; enormous sizzling platters of perfectly cooked meats, vegetables and peppers served with accompanying sides and tortillas. Grilled meats show strong with or without accoutrements, but the shrimp stand without equal — stuffed with cheese and peppers, wrapped in bacon and charred impeccably.

Exceptional flavors stick close to Laredo’s premiere golf offerings as well, as evidenced by Las Islitas Grill inside The Max’s stunning adobe-style clubhouse. Las Islitas’ attention to quality is on display in any of its traditional clubhouse menu items — sandwiches, apps, burgers, salads and more. But a watchful eye on the restaurant’s specials will catch a number of affordable must-have dishes to enjoy wether you’re playing or not. Local favorite Stone and Stein pizza, meanwhile, crafts wood-oven pizzas to order in the Outlet Shoppes at Laredo (see below). The Subway-meets-Chipotle-meets-pizza concept is built to turn out fresh pies without delay, boasting all the freshest ingredients you could want on a custom pie.

Cultura Beer Garden

Cultura Beer Garden sets the tone for an evening on the town.

For a quick fill up before a night out begins, Cultura Beer Garden is a must. The unique spot showcases Laredo’s handle on modern food trends, with live entertainment, libations, and local food trucks all in one, with amble outdoor seating and indoor space as well. Start with drink orders at the front bar before choosing from a variety of food trucks lining the back driveway — you can’t go wrong. The large community tables and live entertainment complete the beer garden vibe, and set the perfect tone for what’s to come.

From Dusk Till Dawn

When the weekend sun sets on the city center a different Laredo comes alive, fueled by bright lights, loud music, and refreshing cocktails. Siete Banderas has mastered each. The Banderas building is unique in and of itself, with its second story roof top patio bar overlooking the uncovered portion of the immense ground level — another full service bar offers covered seating at the ground level, too. The music blares from each corner of the property and through the pulsating sound system, playing top American and Latino hits that keep the crowds whooping until last call. Aside from the club scene, Laredo’s bustling nightlife is sure to suit any style of entertainment one could be looking for, including karaoke, jazz, sports bars, pubs, and everything between.

When the last call beckons and the music subsides, a walk through the city center proves as enjoyable as the day before. The perfect nighttime climate blankets the city in preparation for the next sunrise, though the city doesn’t sleep. Just across the banks of the Rio Grande, thousands of Mexican day laborers, trucks, trailers and travelers, make their way across the border 24 hours a day, and represent the city’s main economic driver. Laredo’s population balloons by the tens of thousands daily with legal border crossings, and afforded a sense of security by a presence from every branch of American law enforcement patrolling the city and surrounding areas.

Laredo Outlets

Shop till you drop at Laredo’s premiere outlet mall.

As Laredo’s population and development continues to boom, the city’s finding new ways to capitalize on its unique situation. Of the thousands crossing the border each day, many make their way through the city to outlet shopping hotspots further north. In order to cut that travel distance and introduce travelers to all Laredo has to offer, the city opened The Outlet Shoppes at Laredo. The beautifully colored, open air mall touts some of the best mainstream brands, including Nike, Puma, Columbia, H&M, Vans, Rue 21, Zales and a whole lot more — with clearance prices and savings opportunities unmatched by most outlet malls. Crowds line the corridors from open to close, speaking not only to the success of the mall but also the high quality shopping options for locals and travelers alike.

Laredo as a whole is in the midst of reimagining itself, squashing the misinformed stereotypes that come with being a southern border town. With so much to offer — from top quality golf offerings to a one-of-a-kind cultural experience — the city not only deserves consideration as a destination vacation, it demands it.

What’s in your bag: The best golf accessories of 2019

For those of us in more seasonal golf locations, the coming of the Masters each year marks the unofficial start of the golf season. Lord only knows what all’s accumulated in the depths of your golf bag since last season, so before you go trunk slamming to your first tee shot of 2019, it’d be wise to take inventory.

We’re skipping past the obvious golf necessities — count your clubs, clean your grooves and wash your balls — and focusing on what’s in your bag’s extra pockets: tools and accessories. There is no shortage of these products on the market, from gimmicky to practical and everything in between, but the items below are sure to earn a permanent spot in your on-course arsenal.

Birdicorn divot tool

Birdicorn bottle openerThe tagline “The best divot tool in golf,” is a little misleading when you’re talking about Birdicorn’s claim-to-fame. Don’t get us wrong, it is the best repair tool on the market, but that’s literally a fraction of what this product can do. Birdicorn‘s genius lightweight design packs 6 functions into one easy-to-use tool; a repair tool, putting alignment aid, grip rest, bottle opener, line stencil, and ball mark holder (fits any 1″ ball marker). The compact, ergonomical design fits comfortably in your pocket, meaning you’ll have absolutely no reason to leave pocked greens behind you on the course. Birdicorn tools are made from CNC anodized aluminum for longevity, and come in a wide range of colors and matching ball makers — or you can take it to the next level and choose a custom design. In short, Birdicorn is simply “the best tool in golf.”

Ampcaddy speaker

Amp Caddy speakerWhether controversial or not, CGB believes golf and music go hand-in-hand — there’s nothing like the sounds of Nature when the beat drops. Ampcaddy knows exactly what we’re talking about and has delivered us from the days of shitty cellphone speakers and clunky wired setups. As a matter of fact, the Ampcaddy is a speaker designed specifically for the golf course with directional audio features (keeping the music from disturbing other golfers), an adjustable attachment clamp, a rechargeable lithium battery, 33′ of Bluetooth connectivity and a weather/shockproof housing. Don’t worry about keeping your connected devices safe, secured and fully charged, either — Ampcaddy’s portable charger has two USB ports for multiple devices, and the phone holder keeps your device from going anywhere. Like keeping the tunes to yourself? Ampcaddy’s bluetooth ear buds and beanies keep you jamming on and off the course, anytime, anywhere. Hey DJ, play that song for me.

Electric Golf sunglasses

Electric GolfYour fashion choices on the course are your own business — though we hope you’re at least trying — but protecting yourself from the elements is important stuff. Electric Golf sunglasses represents the best of both worlds with affordable, stylish, and high performing eyewear specifically designed for all golfers. The company’s offerings are a perfect substitute to their often overpriced competitors without skimping on performance, including the Knoxville Pro which earned a Golf Digest Editor’s Choice Award for best eyewear in 2018. Accompanying Electric’s golf-centric designs is a variety of lens options to make sure you get the exact style and performance you’re looking for. As your Electric sunglasses become your go-to, you’ll want to keep an eye out for anything else the company may be up to — its award-winning design team is constantly cranking out some of the hottest golf accessories and apparel you’re going to find.

Pins & Aces headcovers

Pins&Aces head coversSticking with the theme of style and performance, don’t forget about your club heads. Pins & Aces has bust onto the headcover scene with quality, stand-out styles that are sure to draw attention to your bag. While we may be partial to the company’s Colorado Collection, the Keep America Great! collection, sporting a likening of 45 himself complete with a tuft of yellow hair, has become a hot-list item (and a sure conversation starter). Available in sets or driver through rescue, Pins & Aces headcovers are all hand-made from premium leather to ensure the highest quality and longevity. Bigly.

Haywood Golf Slope rangefinder

Haywood Slope RangefinderHaywood Golf is making a name for itself in the golf club game with stunning wedges — rumor has it a full set of irons is in the offing, too — but that’s not all the company is about. HG’s Slope rangefinder is perfect for golfers aiming, quite literally, to up their game. With 500 yards of range, 6x magnification, slope adjustment and even more features, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value for $175. It may seem menial, but knowing your distance from the pin or target area makes all the difference in making a confident swing on the ball. HG’s compact design is easy to hold, water resistant, and also comes with a hard carry case to keep the unit safe in your bag. With a plethora of rangefinders now touting dozens of features, something like the HG Slope is an excellent product to test the waters with at a lower price. You may not find a better value when when you’re shopping for rangefinders.

Uther golf towels

Uther golf towelsGolf can be a dirty game — in more ways than one. But if you let all the dirt and grime build up on your club heads unchecked, it’ll start affecting your ball striking. Golf towels, the ever-preferred cleaning method, have always been a must-have, and another way to flash a little personal flare on your bag. Uther plays that game better than most by producing the most durable and stylish golf towels we’ve been able to find. Keeping your clubs clean is the easy part, selecting a print from Uther’s ample offerings will prove much more difficult. It’s literally impossible to find a Uther towel you wouldn’t want on your bag — you can even customize your own to make sure of it.

Asher Golf gloves

Asher golf gloves“Look good, feel good, play better” usually rings true, but like everything else, the difference is in the details. Asher Golf specializes in the details of premium golf gloves. Asher gloves come in a wide variety of colors and styles, including NBA logos and collabs with other brands. Made from high quality leathers and durable velcro and palm inserts, these gloves are also made to last — more than you can say about the wrinkled mass of dried leather at the bottom of your bag. With styles and color sure to match any ensemble, durable materials, and a price point much lower than other premium gloves, there’s no reason not to give Asher a swing.

Colorado Golf Club is setting itself apart from every other

This list of awards and accolades for one of the newest courses in the state immediately sets this facility apart from nearly every other in Colorado:

#33 in Golfweek‘s Top 100 Modern Courses (2018)
#4 in Golfweek‘s Top 100 Residential Courses (2018)
#111 in Golf Digest‘s Top 200 Greatest Courses (2017-18)
2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship Host Site
2013 Solheim Cup Host Site
2010 Senior PGA Championship Host Site
Clubhouse of the Year – Golf Inc. Magazine (2013)
Best New Private Course – GOLF Magazine & Sports Illustrated (2007)

Colorado Golf Club‘s prestigious layout is routed through the rolling plains, ponderosa pines and rugged barrancas affording players amazing views of the Rocky Mountains. The duo of Coore/Crenshaw did a brilliant job designing this incredibly difficult test of golf, further bolstering their reputation as some of the best modern course designers in the game.

As far as service goes, Colorado Golf Club exceeds all expectations — every single club employee we encountered was helpful, friendly and invested in ensuring all of our needs were met during our visit. We were visitors to the facility and we were all treated as though we had been founding members of the club!  The impression the staff made on all of us was a lasting and positive testament to how well the club is managed.

Colorado Golf Club stands as truly and elite Colorado golf facility. Colorado Golf Club is slowly climbing the list of enviable private club invites for those in the know.

Colorado Golf Club

Parker, CO

Designers:  Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw

Opened for play in 2007

Private Golf Course

www.coloradogolfclub.com