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Review: Golfshot Golf GPS App

by   |   February 11, 2013
Golfshot 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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

Up to 30 GPS Targets on Every Hole
Golfshot GPS Screen

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.

Scorecards & Stats
Golfshot Scorecard

“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.

Shot Tracking
Golfshot GPS Screen

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.

Bonus: Augmented Reality View
Golfshot AR Screen

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.

Bottom line

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.

About

When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range.

On a quest to become a single-digit handicap golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.


17 Comments

  1. Barry Bevis

    April 13, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Just downloaded Golfshot GPS and its terrific – just 1 problem in the Aerial mode how do you get rid of the Touchline distance indicator?. It comes on when you touch the screen and I don’t know how to turn it off.

  2. Ray Fairclough

    September 28, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Hi guy’s, after reading all these good reviews I am upgrading my mobile, sorry Cell Phone to a smart phone just to purchase GolfShot app. A few questions, if I may? How much data does the app use and does anyone’s phone become hot with 4 – 5 hrs of use.

    • Max

      December 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Hi it uses about 30-40% for a round for me. If I start out at 100% charge then there is no worry at all you can still get through the rest of the day. It uses GPS on the course only so no data is consumed, unless you sync the course library but you should do that at home on the wifi.

  3. Chris

    June 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Shotzoom, the company that makes GolfShot, just released TourCaddie, which is basically the same product, but now costs $30.00 a year.

    My guess is GolfShot will not be updated and will soon not even be supported in future iOS releases.

    Sure hope I’m wrong, but it doesn’t look good.

  4. Diana

    April 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    My golf GPS is working great. Got a great deal from Amazon and I’m so excited that I want to share the discounts that I received with everyone: http://amzn.to/Y4TQRi – Believe me, you will not be disappointed.

  5. RD

    April 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I have had this app for a few years now and I am a big fan. They have always seemed to improve the app every year; now adding the augmented reality feature which is super cool. The yardage is typically within 2-3 yards when compared to a laser range finder. You can chalk that up to pin placement changes though. I think the only thing they are missing, that the range finders have these days, is the ability to measure the yardage with slope factored in. You can’t beat the stats and the ability to track, share, and review all your scores historically. And the best part for me, is the ability to track the scores of your 2 some or 4 some in real time. No more counting from the score card on the turn or at end of the round. There is nothing more delightful then ending a round and telling your buddy he only hit 20% of the fairways and 5% of the greens in regulation as you drive the carts back..LOL

  6. Trent

    March 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Love this app! Been using it for almost two years and have several dozen rounds on it. The stats it keeps are great for keeping an eye on my progress/lack of progress and where I can zero in on my weak areas. Yardages have been really consistent even against other range finding tools. Shot tracking is a great feature and once you’ve figured out how to keep the GPS from gobbling up the battery, you could go two rounds on on full iPhone charge. Well worth the one time price!

  7. Jake

    February 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I have been using this app for the past couple of years (ever since the MXPro did the recall cause it was…. Crap). Anyway I can not say enough great things about Golfshot, I absolutely love it. For me the yard ages have always been on (within 2-3 yards of rangefinders or incart GPS) I love all the stuff u can track and that it all dumps into the golfshot website to give u graphs of all your stats. I have not played any course where the golfshot did not have the score card for the course. If you have a smartphone buy it you can not go wrong!

  8. Scotty

    February 18, 2013 at 1:15 am

    I used golfshot primarily to track my handicap. I loved this app when I had it for the iPhone, but when I bought an android 2 years ago I found the handicap function didn’t work. Although requesting it be fixed it still doesn’t work 2 years later.

  9. Tom D

    February 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Another nice property of Golfshot:GPS is the size of the text fonts used. Us “mature golfers” can read the yardages without the need to put on reading glasses. Many of the other GPS yardage devices seem to be built for younger eyes. I still use Golfshot:GPS and have for over two years.

  10. Ed L

    February 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve been using Golfshot on my iPhone for 2 or 3 years now. A great application, especially considering a dedicated golf GPS device costs 10 times more. Unfortunately, the USGA/R&A has made the use of this application (on a smartphone) illegal in tournament play (when Distance Measuring Devices are allowed). Their position is that the presence of apps on a smartphone (some that can’t be uninstalled like the Compass or Weather spps on an iPhone) that could be used to gain an unfair advantage is reason enough for prohibition regardless of the apps actually being used during play.

    Now, the USGA/R&A has made decisions regarding the use of all sorts of devices like cell phones, PDAs, computers, compasses, radios, etc… and the common theme is that the devices can be used on the course as long as the intent of use does not gain the player an unfair advantage. Using the compass as an example, if a player has a compass in his/her golf bag, that is not a breach of the rules. If the player uses the compass during play, then it’s a breach of the rules.

    Why this notion of “intent” is not applied to smarphones is a mystery and is contradictory to many of the rules in the Rules of Golf. Whether intentional or not, the USGA/R&A have sided with companies that manufacture Golf GPS devices. I’d have to spend $300+ for a device that has similar functionality to Golfshot on my iPhone.

  11. Chris

    February 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

    This program is consistently off by 8 to 10 yards. I just finished playing Pebble Beach and Coyote Springs (near Las Vegas) and even after adjusting pin positions it read short of actual distance (as determined by a top of the line range finder). I love the app, layout, course info etc but the yardages are so off it makes it unusable for its primary mission.

  12. Keith

    February 12, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I’ve been using Golfshot for about two years, although I rarely if never use the GPS features. After every round I entered my score and stats in and use it in that manner. I’ve got over 100 rounds in it and it’s a great tool to see where you need to improve. Golfshot also ties in with the Tiger Woods Swing app where you can videotape your swing and put lines on it/compare it to other swings.

  13. Desert Dweller

    February 12, 2013 at 4:10 am

    A friend recommended this app to me a few weeks ago and I can’t rate it enough – fantastic app. Great usability and interface, easy to get your head around, and the online golfshot community to connect with friends, see their scores etc is a great idea. Brilliant.

    I am a relatively new golfer and because I want to see improvement it certainly highlights the areas in detail where I am not performing as good and where I can improve to (hopefully) see my scores reduce.

  14. pg

    February 12, 2013 at 1:17 am

    I’ve been using golfshot for several years and absolutely love it. The yardages aren’t always 100% spot on, but I’ve stood next to friends many times shooting the same targets with various range finders and Golfshot has always been within a few yards of accuracy. For $30 it’s a steal.

  15. CJ

    February 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I like this app. BTW, it is also available for Windows Phone and I find it very gentle on the battery in this version.

    • Kane Cochran

      February 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thanks for mentioning Windows Phone, can’t leave them out! Slightly different interface to fit within the Windows Phone style, but all the same great features. It’s even a bit cheaper at $19.99.

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