By Andrew Fraser | email@example.com
No sport seems further from technology than golf. The golf experience requires concentration and an enjoyment of the scenic surroundings that is often at odds with the always-connected calling of tech.
Though it seems like golf might be a chance to get away from gadgets, golfers are starting to find benefits to using technology.
A bevy of developers, some hired by major golf companies, have released mobile phone apps that can enhance a day on the course. Phones provide a particularly nice vessel, because most people have them, and premium models allow extra access to data and global positioning system.
Here’s how you can use apps on the course:
PREPARING FOR A ROUND
Though not directly related to golf play, weather apps can help a golfer prepare comfortable clothes to wear on the course and warn of possible inclement conditions. AccuWeather, WeatherBug and The Weather Channel are a few good options.
An app for directions to the course is helpful for finding the best route to new courses, especially for those on vacation. Most phones come with a default mapping app, but feel free to try others, since accuracy can vary. Google Maps is a good choice on most platforms, and Apple’s Maps app is a solid built-in option on iOS.
A variety of apps can help set up tee times at your favorite course. The U.S. Golf Courses app contains a directory of United States golf courses and provides quick “call course” buttons to set up a call to the course’s clubhouse, while the GolfNow Mobile and Golflogix apps let golfers book tee times right from their phone.
PERFORMANCE AND PLAY
Digital scorecards and rulebooks are nice to have as an alternative or supplement to physical copies and writing utensils. Golfcard, among other features, provides a comprehensive scorecard and stat tracking. The GHIN Mobile app lets users view and update handicaps. To look up rules, the USGA offers a free Rules of Play app for Android and iOS.
Want to know how far your ball is to the pin, or what club to play? Apps can act as a virtual caddie, advising you on approaches to playing the hole. Golflogix and Golfcard both provide range finders that use your phone’s GPS to tell you how far you are from the pin.
Prominent golf companies have put together apps to help analyze your game. The V1 Golf and Golf Genie Practice Drills Pro apps can give you feedback on your swing and offer tips for improving play.
SHARING THE EXPERIENCE
Beautiful courses and solid play can be pushed across networks of friends and colleagues, making golf a shared experience.
Photos captured by the smartphone’s camera can be posted to Facebook or Twitter through their respective apps, or pushed to both through a photo-sharing app such as Instagram. Panorama features are starting to become standard in most smartphones, but apps such as Microsoft’s Photosynth or Panorama 360 will work when the phone doesn’t support panoramas natively.
For users who want to tweak their course photos or videos, Camera Plus, ProCamera and iMovie provide robust (for mobile) image features and editing tools. Full computer programs will edit better and more precisely, but the mobile versions are great for quick editing and sharing.
Apps on the golf course aren’t for everyone or for all situations, but they can make an already great experience even better. Try a few free apps to see if the convergence of technology and the classic game is for you.