Golfers all around the world are constantly looking for that newest golf ball to give them added distance or that latest club to give their game confidence and control. Walk into any sporting goods store or browse golf items on Ebay and you will see that there are dozens of tools and gadgets to make your golf game that much more enjoyable. Like the ball retriever or the adjustable loft iron, many of these items come and go as fast as a Tiger Woods tee shot. However, over the last few years course GPS and range finders have made incredible leaps and bounds, both technologically and price-wise. The neatest thing about many of these new items is that they’re available on your Android or iPhone.
Here are five of what I think are the best golf apps and gadgets available this holiday:
Golf Logix– This free app is able to be used on just about any smartphone and boasts nearly 35,000 golf courses in its library. This app not only provides you with accurate tee to pin distance, but it also has features that will give you distances to hazards or lay up locations. One of the neatest things about this Golf Logix app is its “fly over” feature. One touch of your smartphone and you get to see a tee to green birds-eye view of the hole you’re about to play. This feature is extremely helpful when playing a new or unfamiliar course. Golf Logix also has built in features to allow for not only scorekeeping, but shot by shot record keeping and even post-round video lessons on the areas your game needs work on. Golfers can even book future tee times at thousands of courses through Golf Now on the Golf Logix app, with daily updates and discounts. It’s pretty obvious why over 3 million golfers have chosen this app as their go-to golf app.
Swing By Swing- This golf GPS range finder and scorecard ups the ante a bit on other golf apps by also offering wind speed and direction on every hole. The unique “Plays Like” feature takes into consideration wind and elevation to give the golfer a more realistic distance that the ball needs to carry. Claiming to have every golf course in the world in its library (by the way, I didn’t check each one) Swing By Swing also offers a website community where golfers can share theirs scores, stories, and even pictures from their round. The scorecard feature not only keeps track of every stroke entered, but will also help organize various betting games such as Skins, Stableford, Nassau, and more. Swing By Swing is free for life and available for download on most platforms.
Golf Pad GPS– Don’t be fooled by it’s name, this handy little golf caddy is available for smartphones as well as iPads and tablets. Featuring over 30,000 free golf courses, Golf Pad GPS has taken the best features from the industry’s top apps and made them even better. The GPS range finder gives distances to the front, middle, and back of every green, while also giving distances to course hazards. The 4-players scorecard tallies the shots, putts, and even penalties of every player playing in the round. Hole by hole fly overs, round by round playing history, and accurate game-improving statistics are just some of the reasons why Golf Pad GPS is quickly gaining in popularity in the free golf app category. And by the way, if you find a course that this app doesn’t have a simple visit to their website allows you to map the course in about 20 minutes.
SkyCaddie LINX Golf GPS Watch– For those not wanting to constantly be fidgeting with their smartphone while playing golf, one of the GPS industry leaders, SkyCaddie, has introduced its new Golf GPS Watch. While this isn’t designed to have all the colorful bells and whistles of the smartphone apps, it does get the job done unite well. For around $150 this versatile and sporty watch can be worn on and off the course. It features not only the time, but also a built in odometer which users can then download onto their own profile on the computer. With regards to the GPS range finder feature, this SkyCaddie watch gives a large display of the distance to the front, center, and back of the green. Distances to various hole hazards can also be displayed with a click of a button. This watch is water resistant and durable. It comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and includes mini-USB cable for charging. For me, this SkyCaddie Golf GPS watch could be my next acquisition. A simple glance to the wrist will provide me with more than my next golf shot will need.
World Golf Tour (WGT)– For those days when your golf game gets rained out WGT comes to the rescue. Escape the local thunderstorms by playing a round at historic St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, or any other spectacular course around the world. World Golf Tour is truly the most realistic online golf game ever. This virtual golfing world allows players to connect with one another and play amazing golf courses regardless of the weather outside, day or night! Whether you play from your computer, smartphone or tablet, WGT offers realistic play which even the pros have claimed adds to the improvement of your golf game by working on your course management and decision-making skills. World Golf Tour simply requires a one-time sign up (username and password) and within minutes you’re playing with friends that you’ve invited in, or others from halfway around the world.
Remember that while these golf apps and gadgets are on the cutting edge of technology and offer never before applications for one’s game, nothing will ever replace the need for practice, play, and the occasional lesson from a PGA professional. But with that being said, those looking for a slight competitive edge, or just some plain fun to add to their game, the download of any of these five will surely not disappoint the inner Jack Nicklaus or Natalie Gulbis in all of us.