GPS golf equipment has sky-rocketed over the last couple of years. Equipment prices have been driven down by making the technology more accessible, but the equipment can still be expensive with most of it costing around $200. A lot of these systems require subscription services as well, which increases the overall price. But what if a golfer could use their iPhone as a golf GPS. Fortunately for these golfers, there are several apps that provide this functionality. Today I want to talk about my favorite golf GPS app, Golfshot: Golf GPS.
Some golfers might feel that using a GPS might interfere with the old charm of the game of golf, but I think most can appreciate the benefit of using a GPS system. It can help amateur golfers play their best golf by providing accurate distances for each shot. Not only will this help them improve their game, it can also help keep the round moving at reasonable pace. A golf GPS helps take the guesswork out of the game, which translates to more confident shots and hopefully more fun.
Golfshot: Golf GPS provides more functionality than just a GPS. The app also includes the ability to track scorecards for up to four players, statistics (such as % of fairways hit), shot tracking, ability to enter notes and pictures from holes, and overall statistic tracking from previous rounds. The app also has a battery save feature which helps keep the battery in check, although it is a wise idea to head to the course with a freshly charged iPhone.
When first opening the app and signing up for a Golfshot account, the app will download golf courses that are synced through the GolfShot system. Once all of the updated courses have been downloaded, the app will load the courses closest to you. Just select the course you are going to play and enter up to three other players to keep their scores as well.
When first downloading all of the course data, make sure you are on a Wi-Fi connection and plugged into a power source. Otherwise, you might see your battery start dropping off pretty quickly.
The biggest feature of the app is the GPS. The GPS feature in Golfshot: Golf GPS allows users to obtain distances to hazards, greens and also pre-entered club layup data. When first teeing off on a hole the distance provided will show an increasing grid of distance items until the green distance is registered. These are presented with a front edge, center and back edge distance.
A great feature is the shot tracking. Using the GPS, the app will track the distance of any shot while on the course. To activate this feature, press the golf ball next to the center of the green distance measurement. This will reveal a menu for shot tracking, image capture, notes, scorecard and access to club averages. Pressing Done when arriving at your ball will save the distance. Just considering the GPS features of the app alone make it worth the price of the admission.
It should be noted that the GPS is working very hard to give accurate and timely data. With the GPS being active for an extended period of time it will use up a considerable amount of battery life. While viewing distances, there is an option to turn on a screensaver to save your battery. This keeps the GPS active, but in a reduced power state so it will quickly update distances when clearing the screensaver. I have been using this app for over two years and on average you will see the app use 40%–60% of the battery. A lot of factors are included in that estimate, such as GPS signal and length of round, but users should expect around a 50% drain on the battery.
As previously mentioned, the app supports manually entered club layup data. The items entered will show among the GPS data and is sorted by distance to the green. For example, in the screenshot below I usually hit with my pitching wedge around 130 yards. In order to have a 130-yard shot to the green, I need to hit my next shot 215 yards.
GPS also supports seeing an aerial view of the golf course. To access this area, press the GPS text at the bottom of the screen when viewing distances. An aerial view will load showing distance markers on the course. The maps are rendered through Google and mostly are helpful if you would like to get the big picture of a hole.
Within the aerial view, a user can tap on a location and drag with their finger to obtain a custom distance or to map out a shot to the hole. On occasion, you might not have a good view of the hole due to it being located on the edge of the course.
The statistics section is accessible from the home screen. The sections within the statistics section include driving accuracy, greens in regulation, recovery performance, putting averages, scores by par, scoring and swing tracking.
All of the statistic screens are interactive, allowing the user to determine how many rounds are used when making the calculations. Going into the Options screen also allows the user to change how the statistics are calculated by changing the course and/or adding a date range. All of the statistic screens show a graph and percentages in the top right. On the bottom half of the screen, statistics for the individual rounds being used to make up the overall numbers are scrollable. Scrolling in the bottom area will reveal a line graph showing the statistics for each section.
The driving accuracy screen provides information about fairway percentages hit and the percentage of fairways which were missed left and right. The green accuracy screen shows the percentage of greens that were hit or missed. Recovery performance shows the % amount of scrambling and the percentage of sand saves. Putting averages will show the average putts per hole and average putts per green in regulation. The scores by par will show the average score by 3, 4 and 5-par holes. The scoring page will show the scoring numbers whether it was an eagle, birdie, par, bogey or double bogey.
Scorecards are viewable and accessible from the home screen. The front nine holes will show in a landscape view. Scrolling to the right will reveal the back nine. The scorecard is laid out in a grid format, and the score is put above the par of each hole.
The app provides a visual score with a colored box depending on the score of the hole. Also, the scorecard will show more statistics, such as if a green in regulation was achieved and how many putts were hit.
Scorecards can be emailed to other players in the group if their email address is within the iOS contacts app.
Golfshot: Golf GPS is a complete Golf app that can be appreciated by amateur and tour minded players alike. The GPS is as reliable as a Sky Caddie at a fraction of the cost, and with no yearly service cost, the initial $30 price tag seems very fair. If you are looking for a good way to track shot distances, track statistics and be more confident with each shot, give Golfshot: Golf GPS a try.