There are apps for everything, and there’s no shortage of options available when it comes to golf. From posting scores, to statistical tracking, and reserving tee times, everything you could possibly need for your golf experience is at your disposal on your smartphone. In the midst of a pandemic with closures and many things going virtual, a record number of golfers have turned to these apps over the past year.
A recent study from the National Golf Foundation (NGF) revealed that 78% of core golfers who play eight or more rounds a year have at least one golf-specific app downloaded on their phone as opposed to only 37% in 2011. More than half of these golfers have three or more of these apps. Of these golfers, 43% always use at least one app during play while 71% say they are actively engaged with golf apps while playing. The rise in smartphone ownership and the ease and accessibility of these apps have contributed to this shift in technological consumption.
Personally I think golf is a great way to escape the screens for a couple hours, but if it improves your overall experience and helps you become a better golfer in a fair way, then I’m all for it. Here are seven of the best apps that you can use to help all aspects of your game:
There’s no need for a pencil and paper with this app. Golfshot helps you keep score with a digital scorecard and tracks important statistics for you such as fairways hit, GIR, recovery, putting, pars and scoring percentages/averages. You can even input details about your equipment and it will give you insight about your club’s performance as well as give you club recommendations based on your statistics to plan your next shot.
Golfshot is also connected to the World Handicap System, which allows you to get an official Handicap Index and post scores through the app. We may be a little biased, but that’s definitely one of the best features of any golf app.
With a simple recording of your golf swing, this app analyzes your swing in minutes and provides feedback on where and how you need to improve. 18Birdies also recommends custom drills that you can do anywhere to help practice your technique. Sure you can invest in a real golf coach, but this gives you custom tips straight from your phone and you don’t even have to leave your house.
While there are many tee time booking sites and apps out there, this one reigns supreme. Supreme Golf is the largest tee time booking site that scours the internet for all of the best deals and tee times from other brands and sites like GolfNow, Tee Off, and Groupon, and combines them all on one platform without any additional fees.
In addition to popular features found in other golf apps (scorekeeping, GPS, shot tracking), Swing U boasts an extensive catalog of golf instruction content and access to some of the best coaches around. Swing U holds a library of 600+ swing tips and drills from top-100 instructors right in the palm of your hands.
We can’t always have a rules official at our disposal 24/7 whenever we have a rules question, but that’s what the USGA’s Rules of Golf mobile app is for! This app features all rules and interpretations as well as videos that are all easily accessible at any time. Perhaps most importantly, it features a search function so you can quickly access any rule in question while on the course.
If you took a minute to check out the NGF report linked above, you’d know that posting scores is the number one use of a golf app. Once you have a membership through a golf association like the SCGA, you can get access to one of the largest handicap management tools in the world from the USGA: the Golf Handicap Information Network (GHIN).
This app allows you to post your scores from recent golf rounds in order to get a handicap index. Establishing and maintaining a handicap index is critical to tracking your progress and also allows you to play fairly against other golfers in tournaments and competitions.
So now you can be equipped with all of the best golf apps that are out there, but what’s really going to keep you entertained when golf courses are packed and you’re constantly waiting on that dreaded fivesome in front of you to just finish the hole? Instagram. You can scroll through and see what courses your friends are tackling and even take a look at what some of the top SCGA clubs are up to. Who knows? You could be their next follower, or even their newest member.
With competitions, socials, and everything else these clubs have to offer, you’ll be immersed into a golf community that might even keep you off your phone. Don’t want to miss out? You can get a head start and check out some of the top groups for golfers under 40 and their socials here (and don’t forget to follow your favorite local golf association).