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Review: Golfshot Golf GPS App
Touring pros have caddies, detailed yardage books and a wealth of course knowledge to give them the confidence to hit their best shots. For many of us mere mortals, we simply have yardage stamped on sprinkler heads to help us figure out how far to hit each shot. It’s hard to pick the right club and play our best golf without having accurate information, and the Golfshot GPS smartphone app provides comprehensive yardage for every shot on more than 40,000 courses worldwide.
Golfshot GPS for iOS and Android devices provides pinpoint distances to up to 30 targets on each hole, shot tracking, scorecards for your entire foursome, robust statistics and even an augmented reality view. It’s simple to start your round, beautifully designed and easy to use and the database of courses is continually updated. Since its an application for your smartphone or tablet, you don’t have to lug around another device on the course. And for a one-time fee of $30 with no annual fees and automatic updates, Golfshot GPS is packed with more features and a lower price than most standalone GPS units.
You can download the app on iTunes and Google Play. If you just want basic scorecard data and not the GPS distances, there is a Lite version for free which you can download on iTunes and Google Play.
- Massive database of 40,000 courses.
- Accurate distances for up to 30 targets per hole.
- Simple, intuitive interface.
- Robust scorecards and detailed statistics.
- Universal app for iPhone and iPad.
- Seamlessly integrates stats with the GolfPlan App.
- The price — until you realize it is only one-time with no annual fee.
- The GPS will drain your battery quickly if you’re not careful.
- Shot tracking could be a bit easier and include position not just distance.
- Golfscape view needs some more polish before I’ll use it regularly.
Starting a Round
Starting a round is as easy as tapping “Play Golf.” After you set some basic profile information about yourself and sync the courses in your state, Golfshot will find the course closest to you from a database of 40,000 courses worldwide. Once you’ve selected the course and the tee you’re playing, you can add additional golfers to your round. You can add golfers from a list of your Facebook friends, your contacts or you can manually add a new golfer. That’s it — you can start your round.
If you’re not in a rush, Golfshot has a fairly extensive settings menu that allows you customize the app to your needs. GPS settings allow you to maximize battery life and score settings allow you to set specific layup distances, your club set and specify which stats to track for you and your other golfers.
This is where Golfshot really shines. Every hole can have up to 30 targets including front-edge, back-edge and center of the green, bunkers, water, hazards, doglegs and even layup distances. While I haven’t done a scientific study, I have noticed that the numbers generated by Golfshot are generally within two yards of standalone GPS units, sprinkler head yardages and even laser rangefinders under normal conditions. I haven’t hit a shot yet where the Golfshot numbers were so off that I should’ve selected a different club.
The design of the GPS screen makes viewing the distances quick and easy. But there are times when you need to know the distance to a part of the hole that isn’t tracked, such as a layup point. You can easily toggle between a GPS view and an aerial view. The aerial view pulls in satellite imagery of every hole and allows you to zoom in for greater clarity. TouchPoint positioning allows you to tap anywhere to get an exact distance to that point and from that point to the green. In addition to the regular GPS Screen, this is one of the features I use the most because it allows me to see the hole before I even tee my ball up. I don’t have to guess how much room I have before the fairway runs out or how far I need to hit my drive to cut the corner.
Golfshot is a universal app, so when you download it for your iPhone, you also get the app on you iPad. Before a round, my buddies and I also use the aerial view on the iPad app to run through the course and plan our round, the clubs we might hit off the tee and get a feel for the course. In the most recent update, you can add notes to each hole just like the pros.
“Four, two, driver, right.” That’s how easy it is to enter scores on each hole for yourself and your playing partners. You select the score on the hole, the number of putts, the club you hit off the tee, mark if you hit or missed the fairway and even select sand shots or penalties. While it takes less than 10 seconds to mark a score, you aren’t required to track all those stats. If you simply want to keep your score and nothing else, you can. Although, tracking these stats allows Golfshot to provide a ton of valuable data to help you better understand your game.
From within the application or on Golfshot.com, you’ll have access to statistics such as greens in regulation, putting, scrambling and driving accuracy — including how often you miss left and right. You’re able to filter these stats by round, by date range and even by course. Most people will buy Golfshot for the GPS course data, but the robust statistics really make this app complete. If you’re a golfer trying to improve, the statistics in Golfshot will be eye-opening. For example, I’ve been working on trying to limit how often I miss right off the tee. From the statistics screen, I can see I’ve missed 31 percent of my drives to the right during the last 50 rounds. But during the last five rounds, I only missed right 24 percent of the time. You can get even get a chart that plots your change over time.
It’s all well and good that Golfshot provides you exact distances to virtually any point on the golf course, but if you don’t know how far you hit your clubs, it probably won’t matter. The shot tracking feature within the app can help. While I think it’s a bit clunky and inaccurate at times, with a couple clicks you can track any shot and have access to average distances right within the app. Instead of guessing that your 5i goes 195 yards or that your average drive is 250 yards, you have actual, on-course data that tells you how far you hit each club. This is another way Golfshot can bring you closer to the pros. They know exactly how far they hit each club and that helps them make smarter decisions on the course.
Profile and Golfshot Community
As with almost any app these days, you will have a Golfshot profile and access to the Golfshot Community where you can connect with friends. Your profile contains basic information about your location, home course and a photo. But it also contains a snapshot of your best statistics, all the rounds you’ve stored in Golfshot, swings you’ve recorded and you can select the equipment you play. Golfshot also generates a handicap automatically, but I’ve found inconsistencies in the data and use the USGA handicap generated from MyScorecard.com — I’ll review that site in a future article. When you connect with friends, you’ll be able to see their profile, all the rounds they played with Golfshot and even high-level statistics.
The augmented reality view in Golfscape is available as an in-app purchase for $9.99 and you can access it directly within the standard Golfshot GPS screen. When you open the Golfscape view, it turns on your phone’s camera and takes all the GPS target data for the current hole and drops it on top of the camera view. As you look down the fairway, you can see it’s 180 yards to carry the right bunker or it’s 225 yards to reach the water. This is the exact same information available on the standard tracking screen, but the benefit of the Golfscape view is that you can see the numbers plotted right on hole as if that bunker had a big sign sticking out of it with the exact distance printed in bold colors.
As much as I love technology, and even augmented reality specifically, I haven’t used this on the course very often for anything other than showing off how cool it is.
If you’re looking for a GPS unit and you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you should definitely consider Golfshot. Yes, there are free GPS apps, but with the one-time price and no annual fee, you get access to a polished, accurate, easy-to-use app with a robust feature set and a continually updated course database. It’s hard to beat Golfshot.