Let's be honest, a lot of these apps stink, and it’s hard to find the good ones out there amidst the mediocre. So here are our nominations for the most helpful free ones:
It’s far from a given that the #1-ranked golf app would really be great, but it is the case with gottaGolf. This free app seeks to bring into golf all the energy and fun that social media has brought to other walks of life (while leaving behind some of the less pleasant aspects of that medium). If you love shooting videos of your and your partners’ shots, gottaGolf offers the opportunity to add shot tracers to the flight of the ball, simulating a Tour telecast experience for the rest of us. The app also has some slick functionality to help you coordinate your next round of golf with your buddies.
Golf GPS apps have gotten fairly sophisticated – and fairly expensive – in recent years, which makes the fact that Hole19 is free stand out big-time. Like its competitors, it delivers real-time information about a golfer’s distance to the front, middle and back edge of a green by using high-definition aerial views of the hole the golfer is currently playing.
You can also use Hole19 to measure the distance to an important feature on the hole that is not the green. Just hone in on, say, a nasty fairway bunker, and Hole19 will serve you the yardage to that feature, informing your club selection.
This free app also has GPS capabilities, but the centerpiece is the social element. They have developed a Facebook-like feed specifically for sharing on-course exploits with friends and fellow golfers everywhere, which extends to the ability to create and manage a multi-group match or tournament if you choose.
Yes, the year’s first major championship may be in the books, but we’d be remiss not to mention the portal app for all things Masters, which is absolutely fantastic. It offers multiple video feeds of key holes throughout every day of the tournament, to compensate for the relatively short TV coverage window, the leaderboard is always easy to access, and the video runs better and smoother than anything. Oh, and it’s totally free. We’re already counting down the days until the 2018 Masters app is available.