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Best Overall: Golfshot at Golfshot
"Easily one of the best golf apps out there."
Best Free: Hole19 at iTunes
"A high-quality golf GPS app for free."
Best for Greens: GolfLogix at Golf Logix
"Lets golfers see the green as they would in a video game."
Best with Trackers: Blast Golf Swing Analyzer at Amazon
"Uses individual sensors on each club to help you understand exactly how well you’re hitting."
Best for Swing Analysis: Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor at TGW
"Analyze the ball's shot shape, review the launch angle, and understand its location."
Best for Handicapping: TheGrint at The Grint
"Makes keeping track of your handicap simple."
Best 3D Maps: FunGolf GPS at Fun Golf
"Offers many of the best features you need on the course, but it does it with an improved map."
Best Budget: Shot Tracer at iTunes
"Costs only a few dollars but offers a suite of helpful features."
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 version 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 is 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 of the best 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 with Trackers: Blast Golf Swing Analyzer
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 Blast Golf Swing Analyzer uses individual sensors on each club to help you understand exactly how well you're hitting.
The Blast Analyzer uses a sensor that attaches to the end of any golf club. The sensor uses GPS technology to track your golf balls and measure data so you can analyze your performance and gather insight on weaknesses. The entire system is hands-free once you set it up — it simply delivers the recorded data to your device in real-time. You'll be able to look at slow-motion playback video of your swing to see a variety of metrics including, total stroke time, swing speed, attack angle, tempo, and more. Senors are lightweight, small, and fit on a variety of club sizes.
This app also features a training center where you can learn what each metric means and get tips and drills from PGA and Tour professionals. You can share videos of your metrics with your social networks, and send them to your trainer for further evaluation.
Best for Swing Analysis: Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor is a great GPS app. It allows golfers to analyze their shot shape, review their launch angle, and understand the ball's location. In addition, this app also tracks your averages of each club in your bag and gives professional-grade accuracy on all their swing metrics. It comes with a launch stand that connects to your smartphone to store all your data and video playbacks effortlessly. However, the manufacturer notes that this product only syncs with iOS devices and can only be used in dry weather conditions.
Best for Handicapping: TheGrint
TheGrint is a fun and easy-to-use golf GPS app 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 golf 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 Budget: Shot Tracer
There is a gap between the premium app subscriptions and the free options that Shot Tracer fills. The Shot Tracer app only costs a few dollars but offers a suite of helpful features. The app, which is available for Apple and Android phones, delivers all of the important golf GPS capabilities. It lets users take videos of their shots and then creates a trailing effect, so you can review it for any weaknesses. The app also traces your shots on a 3D map on over 30,000 courses and records your score on their customizable scorecards. If you need help with your putting, Shot Tracer can create a strobe motion effect of actual ball rolls and makes your ball clearly visible on the ball flights. This app works with data or internet connections.