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Your smartphone can help you do a lot more than book a tee time or find directions to the course. You can use the GPS technology in your smartphone along with one of these great apps to pinpoint your location on the course, get a bird’s eye view of each hole and understand which club you’ll need for the best shot.
Unlike laser rangefinders or GPS devices, a golf GPS app allows you to have all of the data and knowledge necessary to thrive on the course without having to get new gear. The best golf GPS apps show you a map of each hole, marked with doglegs and hazards, as well as show your location and tell you the distance to the front, back and middle of the green. Many apps have scorekeeping and statistical measures as well.
Try out some of these great golf GPS apps today and in the time it takes to download, you’ll have changed the whole way you play golf.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Golfshot
The Golfshot app is easily one of the best golf apps out there whether you’re a casual links lover or a serious golfer. The app, which is available for Android, Apple, Apple Watch, and Android Wear, has both free and Pro features.
The free features use GPS and your input to track each shot you hit on the course and which club you were using — great data for personal improvement. It also lets you see the distance to the center of the green, keep the score of up to a foursome, review stats, and check golf news.
Golfshot Pro requires a membership but lets you do a lot more. The app will give you real-time distances to the center of the green, the back edge, the front, and all hazards on more than 40,000 courses. The app acts as a seasoned caddie, giving you “on-the-spot” club recommendations based on your lie. You can zoom in on the full-color, birds-eye-view map of the course with Pro or adjust your view for a full 3D display of the hole. Additionally, the Pro apps have games, leaderboards, and many other features. Pro can be paired with other membership services from Shotzoom that help with golf instruction.
Best Free: Hole19
Available for Apple and Android mobile devices, including watches, Hole19 provides a high-quality golf GPS app for free. There are a wide range of golf GPS apps that are free or at least partially free, and Hole19 is no exception with a Premium stat-tracking function, but what sets this app apart from the rest is the excellent user-interface and intuitive, stylish design.
With this free app, you can view your distance to the front, center, and back of the green on tons of courses. You also get a bird’s eye satellite image of the course not— a cartoonish rendering — that lets you see hazards, doglegs, and anything else the course may be hiding. Hole19 also has a great scorecard function that looks professional and fun, more at home on a professional sports app than a free golf one. You can book times and tie your game into social media with ease as well with the Hole19 app. It’s simply fun, free, and can help your game.
Best for Greens: GolfLogix
Most golf GPS apps are focused on helping you get onto the green. However, GolfLogix takes it one step further. This hugely popular golf app has added a feature that lets golfers see the green as they would in a video game or during a broadcast of the Master's, with a 3D, topographical and in-depth map of each green.
The GolfLogix app is among the most downloaded ever and features more than 8,000 golf courses. Available through the Apple or Google Play stores, this app has many of the fairway features of other GPS apps. The Putt Breaks feature is what sets this app apart. It allows you to simply click the location of your ball on the smartphone screen and drag the box to wherever you want to hit it on the green. This will show you a close-up and accurate map of the green, made with laser scanners by GolfLogix. The zoom-able 3D map is complete with arrows showing the location and direction of all the contours of the green. Putt Breaks comes as a free trial and can help you seriously improve your short game. This app gives you data about golf courses you didn’t even know existed.
Best for Handicapping: TheGrint
TheGrint is a fun and easy-to-use GPS app for golf that makes keeping track of your handicap simple. Built into the app is a free Golf Handicap Tracker that provides you with valid handicaps for USGA Registered Golf Clubs. This means you can quickly find your or your friends handicaps and set a concrete goal for yourselves.
The Grint also has many other useful golf features. You can keep score easily within the app through its simple interface or use the “scorecard picture service” to turn that paper and pencil scorecard into a digital record. You can even compare your live scores to others using the app via a live leaderboard feature. The app can track complex stats from iron accuracy to average GIR percentage.
Of course, this app also features a GPS component. Allowing golfers to see their location on a bird’s eye view of the course, displaying satellite photos of every hole and letting you know the distance to hazards and the front, back, and center of the green. The app features tens of thousands of courses and can add new ones upon request in just two days.
Best 3D Maps: FunGolf GPS
Only available through the Apple store, the Fun Golf GPS app offers many of the best features you need on the course, but it does it with an improved map. In contrast to the typical 2D bird’s eye cartoon or satellite view found on even the best apps, the FunGolf GPS app delivers a more detailed rendering with 3D qualities and true depth. With your Apple Watch or iPhone, you can use the app to view detailed images of the golf course you’re playing, as if you were viewing from a helicopter hovering above the fairway.
In addition to its unique perspective and detailed maps, FunGolf has a slew of other services. The app has more than 30,000 courses professionally mapped and allows golfers to easily track each shot and view your location and distance to the green and hazards. These maps can also be downloaded for offline use. FunGolf lets you record a history of your shots or drives, allowing for an excellent source of data at courses you play often. The app can also keep score, keep stats and has an effortless backup/sync function.
Best with Trackers: Arccos Golf 360 Performance Tracking System
While most golf GPS apps simply use the phone as the proxy for the ball's location, finding your location and tracking the shots based off of the phone, there are also outside devices that can be used for improved accuracy. The Arccos Golf 360 Performance Tracking System uses individual sensors on each club to help you understand exactly how well you’re hitting.
The Arccos system uses 14 “ultrasensitive” sensors — one for each club — to live track all of your shots and measure data on every club so you know if you’re hitting much better with the 3-wood or the 5-iron on fairway shots. The entire system is hands-free once you set it up — no distracting enabling through the app — it simply delivers the data in real time. You’ll be able to look at a rendering or a satellite image of the course showing your ball’s location, the live-mapped shots that got you there and the distance left on your approach. Sensors are lightweight and small, just push it into the top of your club and forget about it.
Arccos features more than 40,000 courses in its library and you can compare your performance against the many other Arccos users out there to see how you stack up. The sensors come with a two-year warranty and the free Android or Apple app.
Best Budget: SkyDroid Golf GPS
There is a gap between the premium app subscriptions and the free options that SkyDroid fills. The SkyDroid Golf GPS app costs only a few dollars but offers a suite of helpful features. The app, which works on Android and Apple devices, as well as Google Glass, delivers all of the important golf GPS qualities at a very reasonable price and without any hidden subscription or course download fees.
The SkyDroid app lets users see a satellite image of the course they are playing, examining the hole for hazards and lurking doglegs. Golfers will get a simple display that tells them the hole, par, and their distance to the front, back, and center of the green. You can track your last shot or compare your distance to the green with any other location on the course.
Unlike other apps, this one is not preloaded with tens of thousands of courses. Instead, you can customize your loadout by downloading as many course maps as you want for free to your app. There is also a Course Mapper tool on the app’s website.
Best for Swing Analysis: Mobitee and PIQ
Mobitee is one of the best and most popular golf GPS apps on the market today. Allowing golfers to track their shots, understand their location, and see the distance to the green and hazards, it is a great GPS app. Mobitee has partnered with PIQ to offer its customers even more stat-tracking capabilities. In addition to understanding how well you hit with which clubs on what parts of the course, the Mobitee and PIQ app allow you to track your swing.
With club and hand sensors, PIQ and Mobitee can show you your swing speed, your tempo and your swing path all on your smartphone for every shot. These numbers are even analyzed for one simple number: Your 0-10,000 PIQ Score will tell you how good each swing was. Perfect for the course and practice, this app allows you to truly improve in every phase of the game.