Advances in modern-day technology have spoiled us all with tons of added convenience. Nobody likes to wait anymore or do things the old-fashioned way. What’s that saying? “Times, they are a-changin!” The golfing world is no exception.
Need to book a tee time? You do not even have to call the pro shop because “There’s an app for that.” (Cheer up pro shop guy, we still love seeing you at the course)
Need to record your score during a round? You no longer need the old school paper scorecard and a pencil (even though I personally prefer this method, maybe I’m an old soul at heart, LOL).
Need to see how far out the green is? Simply log in to your new golf GPS app.
How about help with your wicked slice? You do not even have to find an in-person swing coach (although that is preferable) because many coaches offer lessons via online apps or Skype sessions.
In this article, we will be reviewing the best golf apps for 2023. We will go into detail about which golf apps are best for tracking your handicap (hopefully it is improving), keeping your score, booking your tee times, getting an accurate distance via GPS, and getting professional help with your swing (because we all need help from time to time).
To see the best golf apps for 2023 in each of these categories, keep reading! I also have a guide on the best golf apps for Apple Watch, that I encourage you to check out!
Diablo Golf Handicap Tracker (Best App for Tracking Your Handicap)
The best app for handicap tracking was a tough decision as there are many good options available out there. Here are the reasons why we selected the Diablo Golf Handicap Tracker as the best for this category.
- Diablo is available on BOTH iPhone and Android mobile phones. This was a huge key in us choosing Diablo because most golf apps are available only on iPhone or Android. Diablo gets bonus points for offering their app on both platforms.
- After completing a total of five (18) hole rounds, Diablo will establish your official USGA Handicap Index for FREE.
- Diablo is very versatile because although it uses the USGA Index, it will also let you enter your scores from non-USGA courses. This is a nice added benefit because how many times have you shot a great round only to find out that the course you played was not a USGA rated course. What a bummer! (LOL)
- Don’t have time for a full 18-hole round? No problem! Diablo accepts 9-hole scores as well. This is key, especially during the winter months when it gets dark as early as 5 pm. Yes, we cannot wait for daylight savings time to kick in!
- Diablo is the #1 Golf Handicapping App, according to iTunes.
- Diablo is also good for finding a course close to you because it has a great Course Finder feature. The app has over 18,000 courses available on it.
- Another strong selling point of Diablo is that it integrates well with Facebook! Imagine getting to brag to all your golfing buddies on Facebook after each great round you shoot! WOOOHOOO!
- Diablo saves all of your scoring stats onto their secure database! This is a great benefit because we all lose our phones or are forced to get new phones from time to time. Since all scores are saved onto the Diablo database, you do not have to worry about ever losing proof of your current handicap.
The Grint (Best App for Keeping Your Score)
The best app for keeping your score has to be The Grint! The Grint is a solid and all-around easy-to-use golf app. We almost selected The Grint as the best app to track your handicap. Like Diablo, The Grint is also available on all Apple and Google phones.
Here are some of the other reasons we selected The Grint as the best for this category.
- The Grint is by far the easiest app to keep score with when playing a round. The Grint is unique because it has an extremely cool feature called “Scorecard Picture Service.” As its name implies, you can snap a quick picture of your paper scorecard from the course, and the app transforms it into a digital scorecard right on your cell phone! How amazing is that?
- Another exciting feature of The Grint app is that you can view a live scoreboard of everyone who utilizes the app. Think your buddy forgot to count that penalty stroke on his duck hook into the water? You can see what he entered on the live scorecard! This is a pretty helpful benefit but may lead to several arguments and (hopefully not) fights on the course!
- The Grint really is made by golfers for golfers! It is always nice to support our fellow golf fanatics in their business ventures. The folks who invented The Grint launched the app in 2012 in sunny Coral Gables, Florida!
- The Grint is approved by the USGA as a tech provider to provide an official USGA handicap. Even the free version offers this cool benefit.
- The Grint also boasts an above-average golf GPS as well. The app provides a detailed satellite view of each hole on the course, so there are no hidden surprises for golfers.
- Tons of courses are available on The Grint but check this out. If the course you are playing next weekend is not on The Grint, you can email them, and they will put that course on the app in two business days (talk about outstanding customer service!)
GolfNow (Best App for Booking Your Tee Times)
GolfNow is probably the most popular overall golf app out there today. It has been around since 2001 and has stood the test of time over these 20 years! GolfNow was purchased by Comcast in 2008 and has consistently grown in popularity ever since. GolfNow is an outstanding app and offers a slew of benefits for golf junkies! Here are some other reasons why you should definitely download the GolfNow app:
- GolfNow is simply the best app out there for booking a tee time for your next round! They offer tee times for over 9,000 golf courses which is the most in the industry. Also, the booking process is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate (Heck, even my 83-year old Grandmother loves it).
- Another added benefit of GolfNow’s booking interface is comparing prices across different courses for various tee times. You can also search for only “Hot Deals,” which are deeply discounted tee times. This is incredibly helpful to golfers who are on a tight budget. I have personally been able to book several rounds of golf at nice courses for $25 bucks or less. You cannot beat that!
- If a bad thunderstorm hits and the course happens to close, your money is 100% refunded to you. This is key because many apps and courses will only give you a raincheck and not a full money-back refund.
- GolfNow also offers a generous rewards program even if you only have the free version of the app. Each time you book through the GolfNow app, you acquire points that can be used toward a future round! That is hard to beat!
- GolfNow offers tons of reviews on each golf course that they offer on their app. Each course is given a star rating based on how well previous golfers enjoyed that particular course.
- GolfNow does charge a small convenience fee when you book with them, but that fee can be avoided by purchasing the app’s GolfPass portion. GolfPass is only $99 per year, and they will waive all fees, and you can cancel up to a certain amount of tee times per year without penalty. If you play golf several times a week, it makes sense to consider purchasing GolfPass. GolfNow also throws in a small gift when you sign up, such as a free box of a dozen golf balls.
SwingU (Best Golf GPS App)
While most, if not all, of these apps feature a Golf GPS portion, I have personally had the best experience with SwingU. Here are some more interesting tidbits about SwingU:
- SwingU is available on both iPhone and Droid devices, which is definitely a plus!
- SwingU interfaces very well with the Apple Watch so that you can check the yardage or enter your score right on your wrist instead of your phone!
- SwingU offers an incredible GPS, even on its FREE version of the app. Over 5.5 million golfers have downloaded SwingU, and some claim that the free version’s accuracy is even better than their range finders that cost hundreds of bucks!
- SwingU has a 4.7-star rating out of 5, which is a great score.
- SwingU has an insanely high amount of courses in its vast database. At the time of this writing, the app has over 34,000 courses available, and you can request them to add your favorite course. Every course is available to every person who has downloaded the app, no matter if you have the free or the premium version. Even the free version shows you how far the distance is to the hole and both the front and back of each green!
- SwingU’s premium version is very affordable (only $4 per month) and offers added features such as wind speed, elevation, and the ability to track more of your stats (such as how many painful 3 putts did you suffer during your last round)
- SwingU was started in 2010, so this is their 11th year in operation. This means the company is stable, solvent, and here to stay!
V1 Golf App (Best App for Analyzing Your Swing)
There are a few different golf swing analyzer apps on the market today, but no one does it better than V1. The V1 swing analyzer app allows golfers to get instant feedback from their teaching pros even if they travel in a different country. Check out the benefits of V1 below:
- The V1 technology is second to none. Even the free version of their app allows you to send a quick swing video to your golf instructor. The instructor can then send the video back to you with their voice commenting on each portion of your swing! Geez, talk about instant feedback! The instructor can also edit the video to show any adjustments you may need to make (for me, this would be the dreaded flying elbow LOL)
- Possibly the coolest feature of V1 is that you can compare your swing to a bunch of world-famous PGA pros! Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, and Karrie Webb are just a few of the signature swings you can try to emulate with the V1 app. Unfortunately, no matter how much I practice, I still cannot swing just like Freddy Couples!
- The V1 app is a great tool to really nail down the swing adjustments that your club pro has been working with you on correcting. The app is not meant to be used as a substitute for in-person instruction, but it is a key tool in reinforcing what you have just learned. For example, how many times have you had a great lesson with your golf instructor on one day but cannot seem to repeat your performance the next day because he is not there? This V1 app solves that problem. If you are on the range and not swinging well, send a quick video to your swing instructor and let him or her make the proper adjustments right away. There is no need to wait for the next swing lesson!
Our Top Overall Golf App Choice: Swing U (also known as Golf GPS by SwingxSwing)
If you told us we could only download one golf app for the year 2023, that would be a difficult decision to make. However, when considering all factors, we would choose the Swing U app. We have tried several different GPS apps on the golf course, and SwingU proves to be the most consistent with its yardages! You cannot go wrong with SwingU’s pinpoint accuracy, and the fact that it shows three different yardages (to the hole, to the front of the green, to the back of the green) is a bonus too is immensely helpful.
The Swing U app’s free version is always quick to load information and does not glitch or have delays like some of the other free versions out there today. The fact that it is available on iPhone and Android devices is also a big plus. Even better, the SwingU app works well with the Apple Watch, which is also a nice benefit. It is always nice to look down at your wrist to check the yardage distance and not have to keep your big, bulky phone in your pocket!
The SwingU app also offers some very detailed training videos that are free to all users! The app also tracks your scores and calculates your handicap very well. All of that is available for FREE! Also, the SwingU premium version is only $4 per month, so it won’t break the bank. The premium version of the app provides some very beneficial info. It can act as your digital caddie (telling you what club to hit) and provide you with the current wind speed and direction.
The only feature that SwingU does not offer is the ability to make tee times. Who knows? As fast as SwingU is growing, they may add that feature in the near future!
And last but not least, the SwingU app lets you place little side bets during your round! If you read our article on Golf Betting Games, you will know that this feature is definitely a fun additional benefit. Use the SwingU app to keep track of who owes you a few bucks or a few beers after the round!
A Final Word: Wrapping it up and Heading to the Clubhouse
All of the golf apps we have covered in this article can be useful additions to your golf game in 2023. Whether you need swing instruction, an accurate GPS yardage tracker, a place to calculate your handicap, a convenient way to book a tee time, or simply an app to keep your scorecard, there really is a golf app out there to assist every golfer. Modern-day technology is definitely an asset for all golfers these days.
The best part is that almost all golf apps offer a free version these days. Our best recommendation is to download several of the free apps, try them all out on different rounds, then decide which one you would like to rely on the most in 2023. Consider purchasing your favorite app’s premium version for the extra benefits, as most of the time, the cost is only a few bucks per month. This is well worth it if you play quite a bit of rounds during the calendar year!
Until next time, sink those birdie putts!