Can iPhone golf GPS apps help out your golf game and save you a chunk of money at the same time? There are several apps to choose from, and if you find the right one and download it onto your iPhone, you can save the expense of buying a separate golf GPS device.
There’s no question that a good golf GPS can help any golfer’s game. A golf GPS will display the distance to the green, no matter where you’re at on the course. More elaborate versions can tell you how far you hit your shots and how far the bunkers, ponds and other trouble spots are from where your ball is sitting. Many even allow you to keep score digitally and track your shot statistics. But with so many people carrying smartphones nowadays, do you really need to buy a separate GPS unit and carry that around with you too?
Not necessarily. We now have several apps to choose from, and they’re all available for download at iTunes. Obviously, downloading an app is a lot more convenient than driving down to the sporting goods store to buy a dedicated golf GPS unit. But even better, it’s also much cheaper.
There is one very important thing to remember about iPhone golf GPS apps: although different apps have different features (just like dedicated GPS devices), they can all drain an iPhone’s battery very quickly. In fact, it’s possible to completely drain a fully-charged iPhone battery during the course of just a single round. The intense battery “appetite” of all apps means you must remember to charge your iPhone before you start every round. You should also modify your phone’s battery settings to conserve as much battery life as possible.
With that word of warning, here’s a quick rundown of some of the apps I’ve come across so far this year:
GolfLogix has been making dedicated golf GPS units for a long time (in fact, the first golf GPS I ever saw was a GolfLogix), and now the company’s in the iPhone golf GPS app business too. The GolfLogix app has two big advantages over most of the other apps mentioned in this review: its course coverage is extensive; and it has a slick-looking, very polished user interface. Unfortunately, at $40 per year, it’s also one of the most costly apps I’ve found, and you can’t select a different view to be shown on your iPhone’s display. The good news: a free 24-hour trial period lets you test the GolfLogix app without spending any money.
ViewTi 2010 does the basics – it displays satellite images of the holes and your distances to various points, but the interface for its statistics-tracking module is awkward at best. This app has a few features the other iPhone golf GPS apps don’t offer, but for its $30 price, it needs a more user-friendly interface before I’d recommend it.
The AirVue iPhone app is a lot harder to resist than the ViewTi 2010 – the AirVue app only costs $10 and it displays all hazards and their distances in addition to your distance to the green. This particular golf GPS app also does a good job of tracking your on-course shot statistics. Course coverage seems a little spotty, though, so make sure AirVue has mapped your favorite courses before forking over your money.
The Golfshot iPhone app offers a great user interface and excellent statistics-tracking, along with impressive satellite images. It costs $30, but it’s worth the price, consistently getting strong user reviews.
A Few Other iPhone golf GPS Apps
I’ve found a few additional iPhone golf GPS apps, but I’ve seen reports that say some of them are buggy or don’t launch properly. I don’t know if those reports are true or not (I haven’t tried the apps myself), but here’s a partial list of these iPhone golf GPS apps:
These aren’t the only iPhone golf GPS apps out there. You can look around on iTunes and find some to try out. Hopefully, though, this quick rundown will get you started on your way. You could help your game and save some bucks by finding the right GPS app.