It doesn’t matter whether you’re a young novice or an older expert; you are likely to own a smartphone and you are probably interested in how that smartphone could be helping you to improve your golf game. First of all there are three types of app, and you will want at least one of each in order to really get the most out of your smartphone on the course; news, information and entertainment.
Now – there are four apps I would personally recommend that every golfer install on their mobile devices; golf rules, course GPS and a golfing news application. For each of these apps you have a selection of options, some of which are free and some aren’t – however, I will be trying to concentrate on the free applications to make life a little easier for everyone.
Golfing Rule Book Apps
At some stage you and your fellow players will feel the need to consult with the rule book, one of you might keep a copy of this in your golf bag but the much easier option is to have a version of the rules on a smart phone where it can be accessed instantly and the required information be found quickly.
App; Rules of Golf
Seller; The R&A
Platforms; iOS, Android & Windows Phone
Description; This is probably my favourite of these rules apps, firstly because it is one of the few available free apps that provide a simple interface that is easy to use across a wide range of devices, and secondly because it offers a little more than some of the alternatives.
All of the rules are organised into categories and pages to make everything easy to find, and of course there is even a section regarding etiquette and some guides to help you. If you find yourself visiting the same resources frequently you can even add them to your favourites, which makes access to those resources much faster and easier and there’s a quiz for those feeling a little bored or wanting to test their knowledge.
My notes; this is a pretty small app, just 54.3MB, however there are those who have reported that it can crash at times should you be lacking in space or have a lot of other apps open at the time. So in general; so long as you have the space for it and you don’t panic if the app freezes for a moment or two, this could be the perfect golfing rule book for you.
App; Golf Rules and Score Card Free
Seller; Purple Penguin.com, Inc.
Description; The app boasts the use of the most recent rules according to USGA standard as well as full integration with a very useful scorecard. You can set up the scorecard through the interface and save it; meaning that you can load up the scorecard associated with that course every time you play there.
The whole idea is to become more technologically advanced; ditch the extra effort of carrying around a rulebook, forget about your paper scorecards and your pencils; a digital scorecard on your iPhone – that’s what you really need.
My Notes; the fact that this app is free really leans in its favour – I would feel bad for anyone who paid for the experience. The first disappointment is the lack of compatibility with other platforms, second is the lack of reliability within the ‘operational’ platform. The app closes frequently, the interface is lacking any real indications of being use friendly and the general functionality of the app is highly questionable. Although the idea behind the app sounded good I found that once it was installed it was completely useless.
App; Master Golf Rules Pro Free
Seller; Ocean Red, LLC
Description; The Mast Golf Rules Pro Free is an effective an reliable way of accessing the latest rules, and the producers of the app boast that it gains the most recent rules directly from USGA to ensure the more accurate possible information is provided. This does not include the score card but provides a similar interface as that seen with the Golf Rules and Scorecard Free application.
My Notes; This app is considerably more reliable than the previously mentioned app, but not as reliable not user friendly as the primarily mentioned Rules of Golf application. Of course the lack of compatibility across platforms does present a slight problem, however if you have an iPhone or other iOS run apple device you may find it to be quite a good tool, particularly for those who weren’t a fan of the clean and organised look the alternative provided. So far I have not experienced any problems with this application and it does seem to do everything that was promised.
Golf Course GPS Apps
The GPS apps are one of the most useful application you have available to you in order to help you map out the route you’re going to take, and they often have a lot of little extra bits of information that help you to make an informed decision.
App; Free Golf GPS & Scorecard
Seller; Swing by Swing Golf
Platforms; iOS & Android
Description; The Free Golf GPS & Scorecard is a fantastic app produced by Swing by Swing Golf to provide solutions to your biggest golfing problems, including finding a course that is close to you. The app uses your social networking profile to login, though you are given the option to simply register a basic account specifically for this application. The app then uses your personal information to input things like your name and take account of your gender and age to make an educated guess as to which tees you’ll be playing from, though you are given the option to change this should you feel that it could or should be corrected.
My Notes; After looking around at the functions and features of this app I have to admit myself as being impressed. Aside from helping you find courses close by it also shows you how many courses are in a given area, which you control using a map feature. You can add courses to your favourites and you can even record the results of your recent scorecards to track statistics on your game. All in all I would say that the app is very well put together. I particularly enjoyed playing with the ‘in-game’ features, which allow you to see where the holes are, judge the yards and make educated judgements based on a fantastic aerial view of the course.
App; Mobitee Golf GPS Rangefinder Scorecard
Platforms; iOS & Android
Description; This app combines all of the information you could possibly need. Unlike the Swing by Swing Golf alternative this does not the location of your device to suggest golf courses to you but instead provides you with a list and allows you to choose the country, region, area and course best suited to you.
The app provides important information concerning each of the courses, including the contact information, price and opening times, as well as offering vital every day information such as a weather update for the course. As you would expect once you have selected a course and set up your game the app allows you to manipulate your view and aim to help you understand the yardage and angle of each hole; this will give you more than a fighting chance at the perfect scored round and the app will even recommend a good club for you to use for the particular show you have lined up.
My Notes; this app is full of little gadgets and things that it could probably be fine without, however it doesn’t take too long to get used to it and a few minutes of playing around with the app is all I needed to become acquainted with the features and functions. The app provides you with a lot more options than the other free alternatives and considering that it is a completely free to use application it is of outstanding quality.
Golf news App
App; Golf NEWS!
Description; The Golf NEWS! App is a free to download application that offers frequent updates on golfing related news. The application uses an internet connection to provide current news and information, which is categorized into a number of sections which help to make finding an article or item of news that is of particular interest to the reader an easier process.
My Notes; This is a pretty well thought out application, there are additional categories that could be used to improve the specification of the article, however the interface itself is very easy to understand and use, which is exactly what users need from a system like this.
App; Golf Channel
Seller; Golf Channel
Platform; iOS & Android
Description; When it comes to a free and professional source of golfing news you can’t go wrong with Golf Channel. The application provides you with the most recent news and information, including the scores of recent tournaments, in order to ensure you remain up to date with everything golf related – including free access to live audio streaming.
The professional and carefully designed layout of this app ensure a use friendly, positive environment that is certain to be of benefit should you be seeking golf related news.
My Notes; Of the golf specific sports news apps I have used this is by far my favourite; the interface makes it very easy to use and the internet connectivity and social network integration ensure that you’re getting all of the most recent and relevant news for your interests and of course there is the streaming for live audio which makes it possible to stay up to date on all the big competitions no matter when in the world you might be.