The Best GPS Golf Apps to Download
Updated article 2023: 6 of the Best Golf GPS Apps
The way we enjoy the game has changed drastically over recent years, with the introduction of smartphones and smart watches providing us with more information about the sport we love than ever before. Many of these can be used to provide live, on-course data - such as distances from flags or hazards, whilst others specialise in analysing your game post-round. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a golf app that’ll suit your needs. We’ve grouped some of our favourites below, but why not let us know which apps have become part of your golfing routine?
One of the most-used golf apps in the UK, Hole19 boasts an extensive list of features, designed for both on and off-course usage. Whilst there is a Premium version which adds further statistical analysis, club recommendations, more detailed maps, and removes adverts, the free version of Hole19 is more than sufficient for the majority of golfers.
On the course there’s GPS mapping for more than 40,000 golf courses, with the app able to keep a tally of your scores, and even compete against your mates in multiplayer mode. The on-course features are accessible through the app for both phone and wearable tech (watches), and one of our favourite features is ‘offline mode’, meaning that you can save on some of your data (and battery) during the round. Once your back home, you can check out your performance statistics, showing you exactly where you are losing (or gaining) shots - providing a detailed assessment of the areas that need further work!
All in, Hole19 is a strong product offering and definitely one to check out if you’re looking for golf app that does everything.
In truth, there’s a lot of similarities in features between 18Birdies and the aforementioned Hole 19. Both offer GPS, statistical tracking, and multiplayer options. However, there are a few additional features in 18Birdies which may be of real interest to some. Firstly, the app has a built-in AI Coach, allowing you to upload your own swing and get recommendations and tips instantly. The 18Birdies App also helps to create a handicap for you based on your scores within the free version (this sits within the ‘Premium’ section of Hole19).
In terms of the paid-for offering from 18Birdies, there are some unique features, including Caddy+ … a Tour-like digital caddie to help recommend clubs and on-course strategy. There’s also a live weather map, which is useful to have - although we’re sure you’ll already have an app (or two!) to help you with this on your phone. A final feature (which is great) is the Blind Shot Compass. Sounds simple right? But the ability to know exactly where you’re hitting when you can’t see the flag is massively useful, and a lot more dignified than running back and forth between your ball and where your ball probably should be!
Tag Heuer released their golf app in partnership with their Connected Golf Watch, although it is available for use across Apple and Android products too. Whilst there are post-round stats to dig through, these are relatively simplistic when compared with some of the other apps on the market. However, don’t let this put you off, as the simplistic nature of the app is actually one of its main benefits. If you’re mainly looking for a wearable GPS, the Tag Heuer Golf app is great, and unlike some others, you scroll up and down the hole you’re playing to get more exact yardages - rather than just a ‘front, middle back’ option into the green.
As you’d expect from Tag Heuer, there is a relatively premium nature to the app as a whole, with bright graphics which showcase each hole well. This looks particularly good on mobile, and can be a lifesaver when playing an unfamiliar course. That said, if you are going to be pairing it with the latest Tag Heuer Connected Watch, you’ll also benefit from the app's ability to automatically track your shots, as well as a magnetic ball marker built into the watch’s strap.
Many will be familiar with the Arccos shot tracking system thanks to their partnerships with leading manufacturers such as PING and Cobra. The small sensors are fitted within the grips, pairing with the app on either a mobile phone or a wearable device. Arccos differs from most of the other apps mentioned as it has been primarily designed to pair with their hardware, although golfers are able to download the app and access some of the GPS functionality without having the sensors. However, we’d recommend going all-in with Arcoss or not at all, as the whole ecosystem works much better when used in this fashion.
We love the strokes-gained analysis that comes from the app, as well as the club recommender (based on your exact yardages, gathered by the system, directly from your clubs!). Within your profile too, you’re able to seek ‘what to work on’ recommendations, with Arcoss claiming that their active users generally reduce their handicaps by as much as 5-strokes. A serious consideration then for those looking to improve their scoring.
Golfshot is perhaps a touch more US-centric than some of the other apps mentioned thus far, although it is still fine for use across the globe. Americans are able to link their GHIN (handicap) directly, and upload scores from the app - negating the need for multiple sign-ins across different apps pre-round. Another cool feature of Golfshot is their voice assistant, allowing you to leave your phone in the bag and simply call out for a number to the green. Be careful not to use whilst you’re playing partners are over the ball though!
A final big benefit of Golfshot is its partnership with GolfNow, allowing users to book their tee-times directly through the app, again reducing the overall number of different golfing apps you may need to have in your life.
Last but by no means least is SwingU. Like others, the app offers real-time GPS data, as well as scoring functionality and post-round statistical analysis. This is done using strokes-gained, making it amongst the most accurate and easy-to-understand system for improvement. The paid version of SwingU also features some great additions such as the ‘plays like’ number for your yardages, as well as a wind and elevation data, and even green reading maps!
Be careful though, as not all of these will be eligible in competition. Although there’s nothing wrong with using them in a practice round to get familiar with your own course, or a new venue ahead of an important tournament.
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