Golf GPS devices and apps have become much more prevalent over the past 10 years, and now we can get a lot of the features that we need for free on our smartphones and our smartwatches. For each of the GPS apps that we're going through today, we're gonna look at the free features, performance, accuracy, pros and cons of the paid features, and our overall score out of 10.
The golf GPS is free on this app. You also get a digital scorecard that will auto transition you from hole to hole. Additional free features include daily tips from the pros. You can also get a handicap once you submit three scorecards. The premium features on this one will give you slope, advanced scorecards that take slope and handicap into consideration, shot tracking, and the caddy feature that will suggest clubs for you to use.
You get Swing University, which is a big practice app with access to tons of tutorials and videos and you can even get one-on-one coaching with the pros. The pros of the app are that it is very accurate and the scorecard works well. The paid coaching feature is a big bonus. Some of the cons are that it can freeze, it uses a lot of battery like most of the apps, and sometimes the carry feature suggests a club but that doesn't make too much sense.
Overall, we're going to give this one a 7.5 out of 10.
With Hole 19, you get the GPS mode for free as well. You get distances to the front, middle, and the back of the green plus 43,000 courses, which is really good as you can discover longer courses. If the course you're playing isn't included you get the digital scorecard with stroke play and Stableford match types. If you upgrade to premium you get shot-by-shot tracking with each club and it will build the stats over time to see how much you're improving.
With Hole 19, you get auto hole change and access to premium maps that give you a view of the course. The pros on this one are that it's got good accuracy, the premium version only cost $5, you can use it on your smartwatch, and you get club selection advice on iOS. Cons include connectivity issues if your WiFi or data are not stable, it can be slow, it uses a lot of battery, and you have to input the scores manually on your phone (which means you have to take out the phone to input the scores after every call).
Overall, we're giving this one a 7.5 as well.
18 Birdies is a very popular app. You get a GPS rangefinder with distances to any point on the course. You get the status tracking and round history over time to let you know how much you're improving. It auto transitions from hole-to-hole. You get the scorecard that automatically tracks the side games with your buddies. You can book tee times on over 6000 courses in the USA.
If you upgrade to premium, you get the Caddy+, which will give you recommended shot selections and club types based on weather conditions. You also get advanced stats and shot tracking as well as the strokes gained feature to show you how much you're improving from round to round. The pros of this app are accuracy, 40,000 courses, tons of free features, and a free trial for premium for one week.
Some cons are that the weather feature does not always work, the GPS can be slow, and some additional features can be distracting because there is a lot going on in the screen.
Overall, this one gets an 8.5/10.
The Grint includes free features like a golf GPS with 37,000 available courses on the smartphone or watch, a digital scorecard with live scores for up to four people, shot tracking, pro-like performance stats, Ryder Cup scoring for large games of two teams.
If you are willing to pay $19.99 per year, you get a USGA-approved handicap. Paying $39.99 gets you this, together with a scorecard upload facility, advanced stats, and performance indicators. Pros include accurate performance, speed, and all the features you could possibly need for free. The official handicap is also only $19.99.
Cons are that it can have too many features for some players, it uses up a lot of battery, premium isn’t the best value, and teething issues. Overall, this gets a 9/10.
Golf Pad is our number one choice, because you're getting all the features on this GPS app for free. It gives you distances that are front, middle, and the back of the green, or any point on the course. This allows you to plan your round and your strategy perfectly. You get a PGA quality scorecard for up to four players and a one tap shot tracker for your positions and clubs for every shot from the tee to the green.
You can track your progress with the strokes gained feature, as well as greens, fairways, and regulation, and a ton of other stats. Pros are that it's completely free with every feature you could possibly need, it connects to watches and phones, and you do not even need to open the app to get distances. Some cons are that it can disconnect from watches and that it is cluttered.
Overall we're giving this one a 9/10 as well.
And that wraps it up! And if you plan on downloading one of these apps, just keep in mind that they are free and you can't expect the same performance you get out of buying a device or a rangefinder. Go ahead and give them a try, and let us know what you think!