Cheech Marin is a 7.5, Jack Nicholson is a 14.7, Samuel L. Jackson is a 6.9. Rumor has it that Michael Jordan hovers consistently around a 3 while fellow (newly) retired pro athlete turned avid golfer Derek Jeter, a man used to being the best of the best, is struggling his way down from a 10. We're talking about golf handicaps of course and the fact that they are every bit as important to the amateur golfer as they are to the pro.
In fact, even for the weekend warrior, one of the first questions golfers will usually ask each other is for their current handicap. It's a time honored way to judge a player's overall level of golfing expertise and now that smartphones have become a course staple keeping track of your handicap is easier than ever, thanks to a growing number of apps designed to do exactly that. But with an app store full of them, and offered at price levels that vary from free to $20+, which should you choose? Here are our picks for the best of gold handicap apps out there for both iOS and Android devices.
Diablo Golf Handicap Tracker
Developed by Diablo Golf
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Android
Free (membership fee of $14.99 per annum also currently waived)
Considered by some to be the gold standard of handicapping apps Diablo offers players the chance to get a USGA official handicap index even if their own club does not offer one via a network of golf clubs licensed to use the Handicap System nationwide. Once that baseline has been established, which calls for at least five rounds of golf to be tracked via the app, the ongoing input of scores and stats, which is made exceptionally easy, will keep the handicap up to date at all times and easily sharable via email and various social networks.
The Diablo Golf Handicap Tracker also features a built in GPS for over 40,000 courses and crowdsourced rankings and reviews of various courses. All in all this a great app and now that the fee has been waived it may be the very best choice out there right now for both operating systems for gold handicapping.
Developed by Grint LLC
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
Free (with in app purchases)
The Grint is a fabulous multi use app. Not only does it offer a similar free official USGA handicap as Diablo does but it also features a GPS with 50,000 courses built in (international as well as US), a range finder and a rather good scorecard .
In fact the only way in which Diablo really tops The Grint is in the number of included services. Diablo will update your handicap from live scores far more quickly for free than The Grint, which will charge you a fee if you are looking for speed. Also missing are the crowdsourced reviews which are actually often more useful than the official snippets of information as they offer a slightly more realistic view of a course. Other than these points though The Grint is another very solid option for the serious golfer, as long as you avoid those tempting in app purchases.
hdcpTracker – USGA Golf Handicap Tracker
Developed by Tim Santaniello
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
This app also offers a USGA based handicap but it is not an official one like the one offered by Diablo. This does mean that for the more advanced golfer, one who might want to use an official handicap to meet the requirements of a tournament, this app is not really suitable. However for the casual golfer simply looking for a guide (and a solid number to give to golfing partners) it is more than adequate.
This is a very basic app. There is no course information and no GPS but it is also very, very easy to use and features a rather nifty ‘live tracker' that will alert a player when they are approaching a per hole score that will affect their handicap as well as interactive charts that breakdown just how their current handicap has been calculated, a great learning tool for those still becoming familiar with the concept.
Developed by Anderson Lane Associates/MacPixels Productions
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
This is another app best suited to the very casual golfer who is simply looking for a way to calculate a basic handicap, keep it updated and gain a better understanding of the factors that affect it at any given time.
One interesting feature though is that golfers are offered a way to ‘guesstimate' their new handicap after every hole. Doing so would usually be considered a rather silly waste of time but for someone just learning the game it might be rather interesting to try out.