Best Golf Apps: Play Better with Technology

Introduction

Long gone are the days when golf clubs tried to stop people from using their mobile phones. Even the R&A now produces an app for the rules of golf!

Probably the most obvious use for a mobile phone would be as a golf GPS. There are also apps to help improve your game both physical and mental.

Here are some of the best golf apps that I’ve managed to find.

Golf GPS

I’ve used a SkyCaddie SG 2.5 for many years and in terms of its performance on the golf course, I’ve always been quite happy. The problems I have with it are that it only holds 10 courses and the update process can be a real pain.

I also only joined the mobile revolution quite recently and then only because I was using it for matched betting.

I had tried a couple of golf GPS apps several years ago when I forgot to take my SkyCaddie but was never that impressed with the performance. That may have been down to the phone though!

Here’s my experience of some of the golf GPS apps currently available in the Google Play Store. I’m afraid I don’t have an iOS device to test them on.

As with most of these apps you get a certain level of free features and have to pay for more advanced facilities.

What a dedicated Golf GPS can offer

The other disadvantage with these apps is they use yardages based on photographs. A company like SkyCaddie sends people out to physically map out the golf course. Your standard of play will determine whether you think you need the extra accuracy of a SkyCaddie. That’s why SkyCaddie charges a fee!

Some of the standard features you will commonly see:

GPS distance to center. Obviously, to be of any use the app will need to provide the distance to the center of the green as an absolute minimum. A few also provide the distance to the front and back of the green for free. As I’ve been using a SkyCaddie for many years I find knowing all three distances is quite useful. You can usually see the flag is in a particular section of the green so that should be good enough for everyone but Bernhard Langer!

Auto advance. Another feature I’m used to with my SKyCaddie. The GPS will detect where you are on the course and move focus onto that hole automatically. Works pretty well with a SkyCaddie.

Voice hole. A feature I don’t have on my more than 10-year-old SkyCaddie, the GPS speaks the pertinent information for the hole.

Shot tracking. Keep a history of your shots.

SkyCaddie Mobile App

As a long-time Skycaddie user let’s start with their own app. The biggest advantage of using the SkyCaddie app is you will have access to all the course data that they have accumulated. The downside is you will have to pay at least $19.95 a year for the privilege. If you are already a paying SkyCaddie customer then you should be able to access most of the features without additional cost.

Paid Features

  • Advanced Course Mapping
  • Basic green maps (front/middle/back)

GolfShot GPS

Aside from its GPS functionality GolfShot offers a tee-time booking service. Unfortunately, the search facility only seems to reach 20 miles. Since there aren’t that many courses within 20 miles of where I live the results weren’t that impressive. You can of course search within a particular area but you are still limited to a 20-mile radius. If I was looking for somewhere different to play then I would find this way of searching fairly annoying! Premium starts at $4.16/mo.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to green center
  • Auto-advance
  • Voice hole
  • Scorecard
  • Tee time booking
  • Connects to android watch

Paid Features

  • GPS distance to hazards
  • Shot tracking
  • 3D flyovers
  • Club recommendations based on past performance
  • Money off equipment and tee times
GolfPad App
GolfPad App – Saunton G.C. West Course

GolfPad GPS

Unusually this gives distances for front, middle and back as part of its free plan. You can also get the distance to any point on the course from your current location!

This is pretty unusual!

They also offer tags that can be added to your clubs so your NFC-enabled phone will be able to keep a track of the clubs you use. Similar to the Arccos system but only $99 for 15 tags. Premium costs $19.99/year.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to front, middle and back of green
  • GPS distance to any point
  • Scorecard for up to 4 players Including fairways hit, sand saves, putts and penalties
  • Aerial flyover
  • One tap shot tracking

Premium Features

  • Distances and shot tracking on a smartwatch
  • Strokes Gained
  • Club recommendations
  • Detailed stats and analysis
Vpar App
Vpar App at Saunton

VPar App

Although VPar will be used mainly as a GPS app it also has the option to let you play tournaments and matches with friends and society groups. You will be able to see live leaderboards and it supports strokeplay, Stableford and matchplay formats. Pricing starts at £3.49/mo.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to green or hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Covers more than 30,000 courses

Premium features

  • Green Fee Discounts
  • Lesson Discounts
  • Free Golf Balls
  • Many benefits depending on level of membership
18Birdies App
18Birdies App at Saunton G.C.

18Birdies App

Offers the basics of the GPS and digital scorecard. Note that some of the paid features such as “plays like” would make this app unsuitable for competitive play unless you have disabled them. Starts from $9.99/mo.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to green center
  • GPS distance to hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Shot tracking

Premium features

  • “Plays like” feature which factors in weather and slope
  • Ad-free
  • AI coach
  • Compare stats with other players

mScorecard

A free digital scorecard and GPS app. A bit odd to promote yourself as a scorecard app with GPS functionality. For me, GPS functionality is the most important feature.

Standard features

  • 43,758 courses!
  • Check distances to target or hazards
  • Keep a track of sand saves, putts, fairways and greens in regulation.
  • Digital scorecard
  • Play multiple side games or wagers.

Mobitee App

A paid app and not particularly cheap at £18.99. The big selling point of this particular app would be the option to purchase their on-glove display. Yes, you read that right you can buy a small readout that can be attached to any golf glove. This doubles up as a swing sensor to give you feedback on swing tempo, path and clubhead speed.

That will cost you an additional £200 when you factor in sensors to attach to the end of your grips.

Premium features

  • GPS distance to green or hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Optional glove display
SwingU App
SwingU App at Saunton G.C.

SwingU Golf GPS

Offers the basics of the GPS and digital scorecard plus you can also get a handicap once you have posted enough scores. Every golf course in the world is included apparently! You can upgrade to get additional features such as strokes gained. Premium starts from $8.33/mo.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to green center
  • GPS distance to hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Instruction tips daily
  • Free handicap

Premium features

  • “Plays like” feature which factors in weather and slope
  • Shot tracking
  • Club suggestion
  • Paid drills
  • One-to-one tuition

GolferLogix App

This version offers the usual basic GPS functionality and a digital scorecard. This particular app does have some interesting options if you do decide to upgrade to the premium version.

It will allow you to view the slopes on the green both for your approach shots and when putting. Indeed the putting option will even give you a “read” if you can position the flag and your ball correctly on the green. A monthly fee is $9.99 or an annual fee of $49.99.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to green or hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Downloadable maps

Premium features

  • Green slope for approach shots and putting.
  • Ad-Free
Tag Heuer App
Tag Heuer GPS App at Saunton Golf Club

TAG Heuer App

In addition to the standard GPS and scorecard features, this also has 3D maps of 30,000+ courses.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to green or hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Downloadable maps
  • 3D
  • Connects with TAG Heuer smartwatch

Skydroid

This is a paid app with no free features and given how many free GPS apps there are now it doesn’t seem like a great option. Even less so when you read the reviews and find it hasn’t been updated since 2017 and just uses images from Google Earth. I would suggest you avoid this one.

Hole19

If you are looking for somewhere new to play then Hole19 has reviews of over 43,000 courses worldwide! You can also track your scores and even share your progress with friends. Visualize your scorecards on the Hole19 website. Premium starts from £3.33/mo.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to green or hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Reviews of 43,000 courses
  • Downloadable maps in case of spotty signal coverage

Premium features

  • Club Recommendation
  • Enhanced Maps
  • Ad-Free

Arccos Caddie

The Arccos Caddie app ties in with their smart sensors and gives you accurate data on your yardages and offers club suggestions for your next shot. The app also adjusts suggestions based on wind speed and direction as well as elevation.

After you’ve logged sufficient rounds using the sensors (at least five) you should find the data it provides is very accurate.

Also offers strokes gained analysis after the round.

The sensors come pre-fitted in some clubs or if you looking to add them to an existing set of clubs that will cost you around $180 for a set of 14. Probably the most expensive option but arguably will give you the most accurate data.

Premium features

  • Real-time A.I. Caddy advice (Sorry Arccos but that’s how I spell caddy!)
  • A.I. powered rangefinder with slope and weather adjustment
  • Strokes gained analytics

MotoCaddy App

A complete completely free GPS app swearing distances to front middle and back along with hazards for more than 40,000 courses. You can also view a flyover for the hole.

For those of you in the UK or Ireland, the app also lists the location of any defibrillators at the course you are playing. There are also instructions on how to perform CPR.

This is a very useful feature. At one of the clubs I was a member a golfer received prompt treatment following a cardiac arrest. The pro shop staff drove the defibrillator over to him in a buggy. He was airlifted to a local hospital and made a complete recovery. Knowing where the nearest defibrillator is could save a life!

The app can also be used to connect to some of MotoCaddy’s GPS-enabled trolleys. The reviews for this feature though seem to be somewhat mixed.

Standard features

  • GPS distance to the green front, middle and back
  • GPS distance to hazards
  • Digital scorecard
  • Defibrillator location (700+ UK and Ireland courses)
R&A Rules App
R&A Rules App

Rules of Golf

Rules of Golf 2019 by The R&A

Available in 17 different languages, This handy guide can save you from searching through the printed rules of golf. You can still browse through the rules if you wish but I find the search function to be really useful.

You can test your knowledge with the handy rules quiz or use the visual search to look for rules advice based on different areas of the course.

Handicapping

The Grint

While this does offer GPS functionality on over 40,000 courses it also looks like one of the better apps for handling your handicap. They are a USGA-approved tech provider and handicaps calculated by the app are issued and maintained following the World Handicap System in partnership with USGA. You can even take photos of your scorecards and they will be transcribed!

GolfGuru App
Golf Guru App

Mental Game

Golf Guru

There’s a reason that Jack Nicklaus said “the game of golf is 90% mental and 10% physical”.

If you’re struggling with the mental side of golf then the Golf Guru app might be just the ticket. There are over 25 hours of mental game techniques, lessons and visualizations.

Work out your golf IQ and then try some of the tips and drills to see if you can improve it.

They offer a number of starter sessions to free or to access everything you’ll need to pay for a premium membership which starts from £3.49 /mo.

Imagine Golf

Takes 3 minute “snackable” audio lessons from some of the greatest players and coaches. More than 400 classes, stories and drills from the likes of Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam. New content is added on an almost daily basis.

To gain access to all of the materials will cost £49.99 /year, although a 7-day trial is available.

Coaching

Coach’s Eye

This app can record your swing and then you can add telestration or use slow-motion to analyze the footage. It also allows you to zoom in on the teach and do side-by-side comparisons.

Zepp Golf Swing Analyzer

Probably works better as an android app you can use your Apple watch to get additional data on tempo, hand path and speed. However to get all the information you will need to spend $150 on the Zepp sensor.

V1 App

The free version of the V1 app allows you to capture your swing and review it in slow motion. You can also do a comparison with a number of professional model swings. If you already have a coach then you can upload your recordings or you can try to find a new coach. If you upgrade to the premium version then you no longer have the irritation of ads and you can also share videos via social media and email. You also have access to the full model swing library.

Conclusion

I quite like the GolfPad app and after a bit more testing might use that rather than renewing my SkyCaddie!

What golf apps do you use?

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