Today’s technology has made playing a round of golf easier for the modern player. It has also pretty much eliminated the use of caddies. The golf app has essentially become the modern player’s caddie. There are still some courses that recommend taking a caddie, or there is a charge for not using one –  Pinehurst #2 comes to mind as one of them. Tiger Woods was asked recently if there was a reason why there are not many young black players entering the PGA Tour or golf in general. His answer was, “Because there are so few caddie programs available that would introduce them to golf.” Every college program today allows the use of GPS technology when competing against other schools. However, the NCAA only allows the use of laser devices. They do not permit use of devices that give information on slope. Sometimes the use of the GPS clouds the thinking of a good young amateur player as they may grab a 9- or 8-iron to try and hit something 162 yards, without giving consideration to just where the pin is located. Maybe they only have to hit the shot 150 yards or maybe 170 yards depending on the slope of the green as it relates to the pin position. But the thinking stays fixed on the original yardage given by the GPS. As golf pros, we should be up to speed when it comes to giving advice to a student who asks which golf app is available for him to use on their smartphone or iPad. The most basic golf apps available on the market today come fully equipped and provide information on thousands of golf courses all over the world. Some come equipped with a rule book to help the average player understand the rules of the game. The golf app has changed the way both experienced and casual golfers approach their round of golf. The golf app market has become a bit over-saturated.  With many of the options available today, which ones are really good and which ones are just okay? Do you really need to spend $3.99 – $29.99 each to try out a series of golf apps to find the one you like the best? There are plenty of very good, reliable, free apps available that can give both the experienced and routine player as much to work with as some of the more expensive apps out there. I know of three free golf apps that have earned a good reputation in the golf world. They are Golfshot, Swing by Swing Golf, and Golf Logix.  iTunes rates the golf apps, and you can check out how they rate by going to the iTunes web site. These free apps have a lot in common; handicap tracking systems, leaderboard features, accurate range finder, club recommendations, satellite photos of the hole being played along with a zoom in on the green feature to see the front, middle and back of the green. All three have upgraded packages available for a price. Some upgrading features are touchscreen layup distances to any point in the fairway, GPS distance to all hazards, and the ability to set exact pin positions. Other popular apps to consider for $4.99 are Who’s Your Caddie, iPing, PGA Tour Caddie, Golfcard GPS, Nike Golf 360, Golfzing, V1 Golf Swing Analysis, plus Tiger Woods My Swing.  For only$1.99, Skydroid Golf GPS, and for $29.99, GolfShot GPS device. Whether it costs money or not for the initial installation of the golf app or the one you are recommending to a student, they all have upgraded versions that can be custom-made to fit the interest level of any player, along with systems for swing analysis for the pro teaching a student.
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