5 Apps to help you become a better golfer
The U.S. Open hitting our screens is just the cue many of us fairweather golfers need to dust down our clubs and hit the driving range. Then again, the sight of Tiger hacking hopelessly in the rough before going on to finish 10 over in the first round is a reminder that even the best of us can have a truly awful day. But what can you do about it? If last year’s new driver doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference, maybe it’s time to get your hands on some technical wizardry?
There’s no shortage of handy widgets promising to transform your game. Here’s a handful of some of the more credible ones.
Hot off the press: Microsoft unveils a potential game changer.
You’ve heard of the Apple Watch, but unless you’ve got your ear to the ground on all things tech, the Microsoft Band may have passed you by. It’s essentially a fitness band (and at £169.99, a rather expensive one at that). It also connects with your phone to let you preview calls, texts, social posts and emails.
So far, so ordinary - but Microsoft has just announced something that could make the Band the wearable device of choice for golfers. Putting its fitness monitoring software and GPS solution to work, the tech giant has teamed up with TaylorMade to offer what it describes as an entirely new golf experience. An all-in-one package uses the Band’s GPS sensor to calculate the distance to the front, middle and back of green. Automatic shot detection even promises to tell the difference between a practice swing and an actual shot, so in theory you could ditch your paper scorecard. You get real time fitness stats (steps taken, calories burned and heart rate). You can also view a post-round summary featuring your score, pace and longest drive.
All of this is being rolled out free to Microsoft Band users, starting on 18 June.
Zepp Glove Sensor and Golf App
If your swing requires an overhaul and you don’t know where to start, the Zepp Sensor may be just what you’re looking for. The sensor itself clips to the back of your glove and from there, analyses the physics - i.e. club speed, path and plane, upswing and downswing and even hip rotation. It then transmits this data to your smartphone (iOS or Android) via Bluetooth before scoring your efforts and presenting tips for improvement. It’s no replacement for an instructor but it can at least tell you which broad areas need more work. Available for around £129.99
There are many apps out there that use GPS to act as a kind of ‘virtual caddy’ providing hints and tips on club selection and providing comprehensive yardage information. The Golfshot smartphone app is one of the top tier. Featuring detailed data on more than 40,000 courses across the globe, features include pinpoint distances to up to 30 targets on each hole, augmented reality perspectives and virtual scorecards. Hint: having any GPS device on constant will soon suck your battery dry, so make sure you’re fully charged before you hit the course. Available for a one-off fee of £22.99 - with no annual fee for updates
Nike Golf 360
If stats are your thing, this free app from Nike is definitely worth a closer look. Featuring data on more than 30,000 courses across the globe, the app allows for automatic paper-less scoring for you and your foursome. It then translates this data into graphs, allowing you to track your progress as you make your way around the course and then presenting you with your vital stats at the end of the game. Using this data, it provides you with hints and tips for improvement and even features a series of practice drills with the pros (cue plenty of branded coverage of Nike’s sponsorship stable - but hey, it’s for free). The app also makes it easy to share your achievements in stat form socially. Downloadable following the link from here.
R&A Rules of Golf App
Are you forever having differences of opinion over the drop ball rules? Do you and your regular foursome have totally different ideas when it comes to penalties? One thing the internet can be good for is solving friendly arguments quickly. But then there’s a further tricky area: just how accurate is your source of information. Rather than holding up the field while you decide who’s right, considering packing this useful little app in your pocket: the Royal and Ancient’s handy Rules of Golf App. Fully searchable and including diagrams, images and even video footage, knowledge on all things golf doesn’t get any more reliable than this. Available from the R&A Website for free.
Keen to see how tech will make a difference to your game? Has this tempted you to arrange a corporate golf day this year? Insurance Specialists Bluefin Sport work in partnership with the Golf Club Managers’ Association to provide a range of bespoke risk management and insurance solutions, giving you the security and confidence to focus on your game.