Taking your Golf Game Mobile
By Jackelyn Crawford
There's an app for everything these days, and when it comes to golf, there's an app for everything and then some. The iTunes App Store sells thousands of sports-related apps, hundreds of which are of the golf variety, and choosing the one that'll help lower your handicap can be as tough as trying to find a lost golf ball in a snow bank. We've made a list of golf apps by category to guide the download-driven player.
Score Keeping Apps
Keep proof of your best games and store away less-impressive results with caddyr, Golf Memoir, GolfCard, and smartSCORECARD. Monitor your progress at any level of intensity you wish - there are basic apps that essentially act as digital score cards, like Simple Score Keeper and The Golf Scorecard, and more complex ones like ViewTi, which allows you to track the results and lie of each shot, and Scorecard, an application for Mac OS X and Windows that calculates handicaps, scoring averages, putts per hole, average putting distance and much more. (It even lets you see if your game is affected by weather conditions.)
GPS Distance Tracking Apps
There are numerous GPS-enabled apps that allow you to view yardage at various points from tee to green. AirVue Golf provides detailed satellite aerial views of courses and provides the exact location of greens, hazards and points on the fairways. GolfLink Game Tracker & GPS and SkyDroid - Golf GPS have similar features. Golfshot and GolfLogix, which are kind of like apps of all trades, track specific distances on tens of thousands of courses worldwide, providing detailed graphics and aerial views, and also come with comprehensive scoring features and in-depth statistical analysis.
If a duffer's schedule isn't flexible enough to work in that much-needed golf lesson, there are apps out there that act as a pseudo golf instructor. The VI Golf App, which Angus Glen head pro Terry Kim is an advocate for, allows you to take a video of your swing and then analyze it with slow motion playback and side-by-side swing comparison to the pros.
"A lot of pros out there use the VI system," said Kim, who thinks technology will be integral in the next wave of teaching.
"It used to cost around $50,000 for a pro to buy; now you can get it for $5."
Similar teaching apps include iSwing, Tiger Woods My Swing and the Golf Genie Practice Drills PRO, which sees the troubled golfer through drills to remedy specific issues like hooking and slicing. If you're a beginner golfer, the Power Lesson app, based on CPGA pro Dave Hartmann's 20-minute-results teaching system, features a 12-week lesson plan with brief instructional videos that take a golfer from the driving range to the 18th hole. For an extra fee, you have the option to record your swing or short game and have it sent back with detailed voice-over analysis.
Course Specific Apps
You can keep your favourite courses at your fingertips if they're of the app-savvy kind. Several golf clubs worldwide have apps that allow you to do everything from booking tee times to viewing comprehensive hole-by-hole guides. Cardinal Golf Club in Markham has an app that gives you pro-sourced tips for each hole. The app for the Las Vegas-based Badlands Golf Club even has a feature for players to keep track of bets.
Matt Gawley, CPGA associate pro at Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton, believes he may have been one of first to design a an app for a Canadian golf course. He created the Royal Mayfair app back in December 2010, based on the idea that utilizing fast-moving mobile technology would benefit club communications. The free app can be used to book tee times, track scores, and stay on top of course news.
"It's better than getting a paper newsletter in the mail," said Gawley. "Now all the mail and e-news comes directly to members' phones through the app."
If your go-to course doesn't have its own app (give it some time), it might be featured on apps like MyRound for Android, which provides contact information and news for hundreds of courses province-wide, or U.S. Golf Courses, an aggregator with info on 13,500 American courses.
Ardent golf fans can always stay on top of John Daly's stunts and Tiger Woods' love life with the app versions of GolfDigest and SCOREgolf. You never have to miss watching a tournament with PGA Tour, which provides live real-time scoring from events and play-by-play updates on every player throughout a round. The Golf Channel app similarly lets you keep tabs on the pros, giving you experts' winning picks for each tournament and access to articles and blogs.
For the App-Happy Golfer
If you thought you knew appsolutely everything when it comes to golf apps, think again. Stretch your golf knowledge even further on your smartphone with novel apps like the R&A Official Rules App, which allows you quick reference to rules on the course, and Golf Trivia Pro, which provides entertaining golf facts and info, like how many golf balls there are on the moon (three). For those who still haven't figured out what the term "rabbit" refers to, there's Golf Terms, which reveals the meaning of cryptic golf jargon. There are also countless golf arcade apps to entertain you while you're waiting for a tee time, such as Golf Putt Pro, Super Stickman Golf, Let's Golf and more.