Best Golf Apps in 2023 - Smartphone Caddies for Your A Game
Updated: September 12,2023
Apps can make practically every aspect of our lives a lot easier, so it’s no wonder there’s a multitude of feature-rich golf apps that can vastly improve your experience on the course.
Golf apps started humbly, initially only allowing you to book a course or find your way toward one. Nowadays, however, the best golf apps boast extremely useful features, like range finding and stat tracking. Additionally, they rely on GPS technology to show you your exact location on the course, provide you with an aerial overview of the course and holes, as well as give you tips and instructions.
Whether you want to analyze your performance, settle disputes with your opponents, or learn how to play, dedicated golf applications can help. We’ve reviewed the most popular ones, so all you need to do is choose among them.
5. Zepp Golf
5. Zepp Golf
- AR capabilities
- Auto Shot tracking
- In-depth stats
- Advanced features require a subscription
First up, we have probably the best golf app for an Apple Watch - Golfshot. Shotzoom’s application can be found on practically all top-golf-app lists, with good reason. This full-featured GPS golf app comes with scoring, augmented reality hole distance view, and much more.
The Golfshot app is available on Android, iOS, as well as on Apple, Samsung, and Android smartwatches. This golf app for the Apple Watch and other smartwatches gives optimum results in conjunction with its smartphone version if you want access to better course visualization and more detailed hole overviews.
Just looking at the list of Golfshot’s features reveals why it’s considered the best golf GPS app for iPhone by most. First of all, its GPS capabilities give you access to valuable data like distance from the green, yardage, difficulty, and a 3D preview of the course. Pro-version users get real-time distances to all targets and hazards, as well as on-spot club recommendations. Golfshot has over 40,000 golf courses in its database, which is pretty impressive.
One of Golfshot’s strong points is its Augmented Reality feature, which uses your camera to work. With it, you get a 360° view of the entire course, as well as distances to the green.
Golfshot is also among the best golf scorecard app solutions, as it provides both your golf statistics (recovery, putting, pars) and scores. Other great features include Auto Shot tracking through smartwatches and Handicap Index scoring and tracking.
The base version of Golfshot is completely free to use. However, if you want access to valuable features like real-time distances to the green, club recommendations, GHIN-number linking for posting handicap scores, and 3D previews of each hole, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version.
The Pro plan for an iPhone will set you back $49.99 per year. You can also bundle the Pro plan with Golfplan, a coaching application, for $69.98 per year or opt for a lifetime membership, which will cost you $99.99.
If you’re looking for golf apps, you really can’t go wrong with Golfshot. Overflowing with great features, this app scratches every golfing itch. Just be ready to subscribe for a paid plan if you want advanced golf support.
- AI coach
- Intuitive AI
- Social media features
Next up on our Best golf apps for iPhone and Android list, we have 18Birdies. This is another superstar golfing app with a massive following and over a million downloads on Google Play alone. 18Birdies was also promoted by ultrafamous golfers like Ernie Els and Paige Spiranac, which further boosted its popularity.
Besides the usual cocktail of features found with GPS golf applications, 18Birdies offers great social-media-like features and an AI coach that can help you vastly improve your game.
The first thing you’ll notice when you fire up 18Birdies is just how neatly designed it is. The app rocks a modern, sleek interface that makes it both easy and enjoyable to use. Unlike with some of the best golf apps we’ve reviewed, you won’t waste precious time on the course trying to find a way to get the yardage or add up the score. Thanks to a highly intuitive UI, everything is just two or three taps away.
As usual, GPS capabilities take center stage here. 18Birdies provides high-quality satellite imagery of your course, with pretty precise distances to the green, holes, and hazards. On top of that, the app feeds you other valuable data, like wind speed and elevation. Similar to Golfshot’s Pro version, a Premium membership will net you real-time distancing, club recommendations, and shot tracking.
18Birdies is also considered the best golf score app by many due to its powerful stat and score-tracking capabilities. In the Stats tab, the app will keep track of all your shots and clubs used (if you’ve input the data). 18Birdies can then tell you which areas of your play to improve.
The AI coach is also a great way to better your play. The app will use your phone’s camera to detect how your body moves during a swing and identify the portion of the movement that needs the most work. The AI coach will also give you a Swing Rating and assess the individual aspects of your swing, like tempo and stability.
What separates 18Birdies from other best iPhone golf apps is its social media and community features. Through the community feature, you get access to a Facebook- or Twitter-like feed of fellow 18Birdies users. You can share golf tips, stories, organize tournaments with them, or get access to score leaderboards and virtual tournaments to compete with other players who have been on the same course.
The free version features GPS, as its core features are free to use. However, advanced tools like the AI Coach, real-time distances, live weather maps, and more in-depth stats are available only with the Premium plan.
If you decide to purchase this app, review the payment plans carefully, as each comes with a different number of free days attached:
- $99.99/year + 14 days free
- $9.99/month + 7 days free
- $4.99/week + 0 days free
18Birdies has enough features to stand out from the competition. Besides the usual string of GPS golf options, the AI coach and community features make this app truly deserving of its place on our top list.
- Handicap tracking
- 42,000-plus courses
- Score mode toggle
- Many features behind a paywall
Another staple name on any Best Golf GPS Apps for Android list is Hole19. This free app is available for Android, iOS, and wearables. While this golf tracker app’s free plan gives you access to all GPS-powered features - like yardage and hole distances - handicap trackers, advanced stats, and similar tools are reserved for the Premium tier.
Hole19 has a vast database of saved courses - over 42,000 of them, in more than 200 countries. You can also see reviews about them written by fellow golfers in the course browser, which can help you make your choice.
Once you reach your selected course, the GPS comes into play. Like with practically all the best golf GPS app solutions we’ve tested, the application uses your phone’s locator to measure course distances. This includes distances to the green, holes, and hazards, which removes the guesswork from your playing sessions. The distances feature is also available on the Apple Watch and Wear OS devices.
Hole19 also has three toggleable Scoring modes: No Score mode turns off score tracking, letting you play without the app remembering how you did. Simple Scoring is for free users, while Premium scoring ups the ante, providing you with more detail on your performance and a professional-looking Digital Scorecard.
Similar to some of the other best golf apps for Android, Hole19 also has a social aspect. You can connect your social media accounts with Hole19 to communicate with other golfers.
Hole19’s Premium plan also brings forth AR capabilities, but only on iOS devices. Augmented Reality provides you with a 360° view of the course, along with precise distances to the green - all through your iPhone’s camera.
Besides the Free plan, Hole19 also offers a paid Premium tier. Premium brings augmented reality, better scoring, statistics, distance and shot tracking, a handicap simulator, and more. You can pay either monthly ($7.99), yearly ($49.99), or every six months ($29.99).
Hole19 is, without a doubt, one of the best free golf apps you can find on the market. While most advanced features are reserved for the paid plan, golfers looking for a neat, easy-to-use GPS app need not look any further than Hole19.
- Ultraprecise GPS
- Satellite overview
- Approach heat maps
- Could be cheaper
GolfLogix is a popular and robust app for Android, iOS, and wearables. The company GolfLogix previously manufactured golf GPS hardware but has since switched to its smartphone app exclusively, halting GPS device production.
Thankfully, GolfLogix is a powerful enough app to make you forget all about unwieldy rangefinder hardware. Besides rangefinding, the application features tools like Putt Line and detailed stat tracking, which all golfers will surely appreciate.
The best golf rangefinder apps for Android rely on two core attributes to stay competitive in their market - precision and course coverage. GolfLogix has both covered, with ultraprecise GPS technology providing you with your exact location on any of the 35,000 courses from its library. All of the frequently used courses, especially those in the US, are supported by GolfLogix.
The app provides a satellite overview of the course you’re playing on, too. Owing to this feature, you can get precise distances to any point of interest - holes, the green, hazards, and so forth. Additionally, this is one of the best golf apps for tee times, as you can easily reserve a slot on any of the available courses straight through the app or via the GolfLogix website.
GolfLogix also features interactive 3D approach heat maps to help you anticipate how the golf balls will roll on the green after your shot. Besides that, GolfLogix has another great feature that should improve your game in a direct way: Putt Line. It shows you how your ball will break from your putting position on the green.
Another reason why GolfLogix is often lauded as one of the best golf course apps is its premium stat tracking function. The app records a multitude of stats, including scoring, chip and sand shots, penalty shots, etc. These stats can be reviewed in the scorecard and compared with the performances of up to three other players.
As most other golf yardage applications do, GolfLogix comes in two versions - free and Plus. The free tier provides you with a basic GPS rangefinder. Unfortunately, you’ll have to endure lots of ads while you use GolfLogix’s unpaid version, as even the best free golf GPS apps have to pay for themselves somehow.
If you want access to Putt Line, 3D approach map, pin positions, and real-time distances, you need to subscribe to the Plus edition, either on a monthly ($9.99/month) or yearly ($49.99/year) basis.
We liked what GolfLogix has to offer. The app is easy to use, with a straightforward interface that’s pretty to look at as well. The application also has features that separate it from the competitors, like the Putt Line and the heat maps on its 3D course renderings.
However, its Premium version is fairly expensive, as is often the case with the best golf apps, meaning that users on a tight budget should probably stick to the free option.
- Swing improvement
- Great golf instruction features
- The app is free
- Swing detector sets you back $150
While it does feature GPS and rangefinding capabilities, Zepp Golf’s primary purpose is to help you improve your swing. The app has to be used in conjunction with a $150 piece of hardware you attach to your glove, which allows the app to provide you with precise swing assessments. However, if you don’t feel like parting with that amount, you can still use the free version and its basic training features.
Zepp Golf is, without a doubt, one of the best golf instruction apps we’ve come across. We’ve previously seen some instruction features among the apps we’ve reviewed here. However, if they had swing improvement tools, they relied on your smartphone’s camera to capture, analyze, and assess your movement. Zepp Golf forgoes this method. Instead, it uses proprietary hardware to provide ultraprecise assessments.
Unlike other similar hardware, Zepp Golf’s swing detector is not attached to your cub, but your glove. This means you won’t have to reattach the detector every time you switch clubs. If you’re worried that having a sensor attached to your glove might impact your swing, don’t be - it’s practically weightless, and you’ll quickly forget it’s even there.
Zepp Golf is considered one of the best golf training apps because of the wealth of data it collects, as well as the way that data is then presented to the user. Once you connect the sensor with your smartphone via Bluetooth and take your first swing, the app will give you an overall score of your swing.
The score is then broken down into various categories, including club and hand speed, tempo, backswing length, club pane, and so forth. You’ll also be treated to a 3D rendering of your swing path. Based on this data, you can easily see the areas you need to improve.
Even the best iPhone golf swing apps wouldn’t be worth much if they lacked instructions to help you improve your swing. Luckily, Zepp Golf’s Smart Coach feature provides you with personalized video training programs from reputable PGA/LPGA golf pros.
The Zepp Golf app can be downloaded for free on Android and iOS. However, the free version will only give you access to instructional videos, the professional swing video library, and video analysis tools. If you want the Zepp Golf swing detector, it’ll cost you $149.99.
Users looking for the best golf yardage app for Android or iPhone will be disappointed that the Zepp Golf app lacks GPS features. However, it’s probably the greatest swing analyzer app you can find, and the tailored training it provides based on your data is a feature you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
Top Apps for Golfers in 2023 - Our 5 Picks
- Zepp Golf
Choosing the Best Golf App - Our Evaluation Method
Golf isn’t the most widely played sport, so there aren’t thousands of golfing apps to sift through. Still, the selection is impressive, and it can be difficult to find the best golf app for your needs. In this section, you can see the evaluation methodology we rely on when reviewing GPS golf applications. By keeping these metrics and categories in mind, you can easily pick out the right app for your needs and preferences.
The main difference you’ll notice among golf applications is the set of features they bring. For example, GPS capabilities such as finding your position on the course are present in practically every application you can find on Google Play and the App Store, so users looking for the best golf GPS app will have a wide array of choices.
However, when it comes to other features, these apps can vary greatly in terms of functionality. Some focus on providing tips and instructions for improving your play, especially if you’re a beginner. Others excel in providing high-quality satellite shots or advanced 3D rendering of the courses. Additional possibilities, like offering real-time distances to the green and hazards, are also golfing app staples.
Hence, when trying to make a choice between the best golf GPS apps, you should keep in mind that there’s no single app that excels on every front. Instead, decide which features you’d find the most useful and pick an app that fits that profile.
Location accuracy makes or breaks a golf app. Thankfully, GPS technology has rapidly advanced over the years, so nowadays, most smartphones and their golf apps are incredibly precise (but still slightly less so than laser rangefinders). As such, top golf apps should provide a similar level of GPS and range precision.
On the other hand, a golf GPS app for iPhone, Android, or smartwatch users needs to be more effective at detecting hazards between you and the hole than its competition. During our reviews, we made sure to note if an app is particularly precise (or imprecise) when measuring distance, detecting hazards, and so forth.
Another vital aspect to keep in mind when looking for the appropriate GPS golf applications is platform availability. As you can imagine, it would be somewhat difficult to bring a PC or a laptop to a golf course. Thankfully, all golf apps are made for either smartphones or smartwatches.
Keep in mind that golfers looking for the best Apple Watch golf app have a somewhat limited choice compared to those using smartphone apps. Due to the limited capabilities of the Apple Watch itself, golf apps on that device will have more rudimentary features than their smartphone counterparts.
Most smartphone golf apps come in both Android and iOS versions, but you should double-check whether the application you’re eyeing is supported on your device.
If a golf rangefinder app has an overcomplicated interface, it’ll be more of a detriment than a benefit on the course. The best free golf GPS app shouldn’t be wasting precious minutes whenever you want it to perform essential functions. Hence, our reviews do take into account both the design and user-friendliness of each golf app’s UI.
Last but not least, we considered the cost of using these apps. Practically all golf GPS apps come with a free plan. Most of the time, the free tier isn’t even as limiting as you would expect and contains all the basic features the app needs to be an actual aid on the course.
However, the best golf handicap app, or one dedicated to rangefinding, will still lock its superior features behind a paywall, to make subscribing worth your while (and a few dollars more). These features range from real-time distances to the green, better aerial views of the course, advanced 3D renders, stat tracking, club recommendations, and more.
Most of these apps charge a monthly fee for their premium features, but some require a one-time fee only. The cost of these apps plays an integral part in our review process, as we aim to assess how much bang for your buck you’re getting with each.
If you’re a newcomer to the golf app market, you might wonder what these applications can actually do.
Most of these apps are so-called golf GPS applications. They employ GPS technology to pinpoint your location on the course for the purpose of providing you with accurate GPS distances to various points of interest on the course; for example, the hole you’re aiming for, distance to the green, or location of hazards like water.
Therefore, by using the best golf apps for Android or any other system, you’ll have a much better read on how to take your shot, almost as if you had a personal golf coach with you. Additionally, GPS apps can provide detailed satellite imagery or 3D renderings of the course for an even better overview.
Golf apps are great for keeping track of your performance through statistics. By analyzing the effectiveness of your shots, you can see how well you’re playing and which areas you need to improve. These applications can also be used for scorekeeping, so you can hold competitions with your friends or other app users.
Lastly, golf training and the best golf swing apps serve to help you improve your play. They may analyze your swings either through motion sensors or via your smartphone’s camera and present accurate swing data. They can then provide you with personalized training videos or tips based on that data.
Frequently Asked Questions
We found Golfshot to be the best available app for both iOS and Android. However, other apps on our list all have standout features that make them worth checking out as well.
Almost all golf apps have a free plan with basic rangefinding features. The most generous free iOS apps are Hole19 and Golfshot.
The Golfshot app costs $49.99 per year.
Yes, nearly all of the best golf apps come with a free version that provides you with basic GPS features.
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