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Best Golf GPS Apps
Technology is such a huge part of golf these days and your smartphone has the ability to download a whole range of top golf apps to help you play better golf and just make the game a little easier whether that's on the course, or when practicing. The best golf GPS technology combines with your smartphone to give you a clearer picture of the golf hole ahead.
Usually, the best golf GPS apps deliver a map or birds-eye view and show you where the hole goes, where the hazards are, and give you distances to features like the front, middle and back of the green. Additionally many apps help you understand your game a little better and can give you tips on which club to hit on a particular shot. Many apps have scorekeeping and statistical measures as well.
All of this is designed to make your life easier and so you are better informed on what is ahead of you. That way you can focus on the important stuff, like specific swing thoughts and the shot you want to play. From standard GPS yardages to detailed hole maps and cutting-edge shot tracking data, there is an app for you. Here, we take a look at the best golf GPS apps available to download to help you find the right one for your golf game. And while you're here, why not check out our guides on the best golf shot tracking apps and devices, or the best golf GPS watches as well.
Best Golf GPS Apps
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Working in tandem with the Arccos' Smart Sensors, Arccos caddie offers a ton of data that you can look at and use to help you play your best golf. The application automatically tracks your shots and data and gives advice on how to strategise around a golf course. After logging five or more rounds, Arccos will get truly familiar with your game, we found the information given to be very accurate and would definitely recommend using it.
Another huge benefit of the Arccos app is that once your round is over, an in-depth insight into performance through the strokes-gained algorithm is available. For those looking to improve, this is invaluable and has allowed us to practise more efficiently in the areas where we actually lose shots. For that reason this application is great for any golfer looking to improve their scores on the golf course.
One of the most widely used GPS golf apps in the game, Hole 19 offers a staggering amount of features and is completely free! The application has over 42,000 courses mapped and delivers players precise GPS distances to the green, hazards and also gives you a complete overview of the hole from a birds-eye map. You don't need an internet connection either and we've found that it isn't too draining on your battery life.
For those with an Apple Watch, Hole 19 also works for free on your wearable device and broadcasts distances as well as allowing you to keep track of your scoring from your watch. If you want to have an even more immersive experience with the Hole 19 app, a premium membership options is available. The premium membership comes with an initial 14-day free trial and then costs $7.99 a month from there - or you can save money with a year membership for $49.99.
The GPS app from Motocaddy is completely free to use and will offer up key distances including front, middle and back yardages, hazard information and hole data like flyovers for more than 40,000 courses around the world. We like the redesign it has been given since its initial launch, as well as the incredible lifesaving AED and CPR features for golfers in the UK and Ireland. The biggest plus point, for us anyway, is its ability to track stats, which helps golfers learn more about their games.
We found the yardages given to be mostly accurate, although there was the odd exception. On the whole though, this a solid and user-friendly golf GPS app that doesn't cost a penny and, although Motocaddy maybe famous for producing some of the best electric golf trolleys on the market it certainly knows a thing or two about creating a superb GPS app.
Bushnell are one of the best in the game when it comes to producing laser rangefinders and it's application is free to download for Apple and Android users. The app allows you to use your smartphone for GPS distances on 38,000 courses around the world while also showing 3D graphic layouts of each hole.
For those that like to enter their scores as they play, this is really easily done and can help the user track trends in their game. Analyzing swing speed is also possible while there are some nice fitness perks. For example, daily steps can be monitored as can average speed, pace and distance for people who enjoy running and/or cycling. While you’re here, why not check out our guide on the best Bushnell golf rangefinders, too.
VPAR is much more than just a GPS app, although it will give you accurate distances on more than 30,000 courses around the world. Its real standout feature, aside from the GPS aspect, is the ability to play tournaments and set up matches with friends or in larger society groups.
It shows live leaderboards and genuinely adds something to a tournament round. As well as strokeplay, it also supports matchplay and stableford formats. And for those who want to get serious about their golf, a host of performance stats can be analyzed to inform your practise and make tangible improvements in the areas where it's most needed. They can all help you tailor and improve your swing so that you can perform better on the golf course.
Golfshot has over four million members and provides accurate and real-time distances to greens, hazards and other targets on more than 45,000 courses around the world. It also comes with the ability to input your score on each hole for those who prefer that to getting your scorecard out.
Detailed statistics are also at your fingertips, meaning golfers will be able to learn more about their game than ever before. The best feature, however, comes in the form of Golfshot’s AR (Augmented Reality). This turns your phone camera into a detailed 360-degree course map, enabling users to identify targets and hazards and plot their way round the course like never before.
More than five million people put their trust in the SwingU Golf GPS to give them yardages as well as a place to enter scores. This already shows it is one of the best golf GPS apps out there but there are more benefits. On the course, the app measures wind speed and elevation so users can make the most informed club decision possible, while the shot tracking feature also provides recommendations based on your tendencies.
Once you’ve completed a round with the SwingU GPS, a detailed strokes-gained analysis is available to show you areas of potential improvement.
The SkyCaddie Mobile golf GPS app is powered by the same TrueGround Course Maps that make SkyCaddie also one of the best rangefinders on the market. As well as featuring extremely precise course maps, tapping on the interactive hole view will give you accurate information required to inform your next shot.
Like most, it also comes with the ability to log scores and track stats, although this app doesn’t deal in strokes-gained analysis. What this app has in its favor is that it won’t drain your phone battery like some others on the market, meaning there isn’t any risk it won’t make it through 18 holes.
This app is extremely easy to use and gives really accurate yardages when compared with the best laser rangefinders on the market - most either matched up exactly or were only a few yards out. Being able to set the flag position on greens came in handy too, as did the app’s ability to spot distances to hazards or ideal lay-up spots.
In addition, the calorie counter and personalised analysis of on-course performance are great for post-round inspection. With over 35,000 courses and counting, this is one of the best and most versatile golf apps available today.
How to choose the right golf GPS app for you
Golf applications come with a whole range of features and functionality. For that reason, there are plenty of great options out there, but some may be more suitable to your needs than others. For that reason we've set out a few key considerations below that you should consider when picking the right golf app for your needs.
It is important for you to know what you want to use the app for. There are many apps that give information in terms of yardages and hazards but what degree of detail do you want from the app? Some keep things very simple whether that be easy to ready numbers on 2D displays, whereas others go into minute detail on what the hole looks like and give a more 3D picture of what the hole looks like.
2. Ease of use
Apps have to be easy to use and we would recommend using some of the ones we picked above so you can decide which one you liked to use the most, and which one you found the easiest to navigate.
3. GPS maps
Depending on where you're playing and how much you're playing, you're going to want to ensure your GPS golf application has enough courses and the right courses for you. The more courses on it, the better! You'll also want to ensure your application comes with comprehensive and insightful course maps that will help you strategise your way around the golf course.
4. Shot tracking features
Shot tracking features and score card functionality are perhaps the most important functions to have in your application. These can help you keep track of all the data, stats and information about the shots your playing and you can use this info to help you improve as a golfer.
5. Compete and share rounds with your friends
A lot of applications will also allow you to share scores, data and rounds with friends. You can also access leaderboards with others around the world, connect with golfers and play online in competitions and tournaments with other players. This level of connectivity is a great way to help players increase their social circles and measure themselves against other golfers.
What is the best golf GPS app?
There are lots of high-quality golf apps on the market right now so the best would come down what a particular person is after. For shot-tracking and data analysis, the Arccos Caddie app is hard to beat, whereas if you want an app with a whole range of features the Motocaddy GPS App is an excellent choice. We have included some more of our favorites in our handy guide.
How do I download a golf GPS app?
Many of the golf apps we have included here will be available through your smartphone on an app store, such as Apple Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, or Google. To download you would simply click on the download icon and use your login information that you first used to set up the phone.
How accurate are golf GPS apps?
We have found GPS apps to be very accurate because of the investment in GPS technology of late, Brands like Motocaddy, Bushnell and SkyCaddie all make excellent lasers and GPS tech that has now been implemented into apps.
Do I need Wifi to use an app?
When downloading an app, or the golf course you are going to play, you will need to have Wifi. Once these things are downloaded though, you won't need Wifi to use the app whilst playing out on the golf course.
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
- Sam TremlettSenior Staff Writer
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