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Even the best golfers know that there’s always something to learn, something to improve, or something to work on. There’s no ceiling in terms of golf—even the greats have to keep working on their game to stay up there!
The first step to improving your game is obviously getting out on the course, the driving range, or the putting green and actually playing. This is where real progress happens!
But there’s another way to boost your skill, and it’s probably in your pocket right now—your smartphone. We’ve found the best golf apps that can help you improve your game, and they make an excellent complement to your regular practice.
Download the one you like best, or download them all! Most of them have free versions you can enjoy until you figure out which one works best for your needs. Have fun!
Best Choice: 18Birdies
With over a million downloads, a 4.5-star rating on the Google Play Store, and a 4.9 on the Apple App Store, there’s no denying this app is a winner. It’s loaded with features and it may take a while for you to wade through them all. But the comprehensive nature of the app makes it the perfect one to have in your pocket on the course and the range.
The free version of 18Birdies is ideal to begin with. You can always upgrade later if you want to, but there’s plenty to take advantage of without even spending a cent.
Download the free app and you can do things like:
- Booking tee times
- Shot-by-shot tracking
- Auto hole switching
- GPS rangefinding
- Keep score
- Track the weather
- Monitor par averages
- Review your statistics
- Post to social media
- Play fun side games
- Join a golf-mad community
- Take part in the 18Birdies Sweepstakes
If you’re curious about the premium version, you get a free trial when you download the free version. If you do decide to go premium, you pay either $99.99 a year, $19.99 a month, or $7.99 a week, depending on what suits you.
Think it’s pricey? Before you judge, here’s what you’ll get on Premium:
- Personalized club recommendations
- Caddy+ feature
- AI coaching
- Tee shot planner
- Advanced metrics and GPS
- Shot snapshots
- Blind shot compass
- Live weather map
- Tee time discounts
It’s one of the most comprehensive apps you’ll find, both the free and the paid versions. If you can have only one, this is the one we’d choose!
Best Technical: Arccos Caddie
Arccos Caddie is definitely an app for advanced golfers or intermediates who have the budget for this training system. Because this is more of a training system than a simple app. In order to make the most of this app, you should be using the Arccos Caddie smart sensors or smart grips on your golf clubs.
With the sensors or grips, you’ll have access to an astonishing amount of information about your swing and your game. In fact, the company claims that the app can help golfers improve their handicap by 5.78 strokes within a year!
Aside from AI custom course mapping (with over 40,000 courses built-in), you’ll find features like Auto Shot Tracking, Strokes Gained Analytics, Smart Club Distances, AI Caddie Advice, and an excellent rangefinder.
The downside is that you can’t use the app without the sensors, so this is a fairly expensive purchase in comparison to other apps. But if bumping your handicap a bit sounds like a good goal, you won’t find a better technical app than this one.
And if you don’t want to carry your smartphone around on the course, you can always add Arccos Link, which is a small wearable device that stores your data until you get back within range of your phone.
Best Hole Mapping: Golfshot
Over 4 million people can’t be wrong about this app! If you love having details about the course at your fingertips, Golfshot could be the best app you ever download.
From tee to green, you’ll have access to all the info you need to deal with every bump and curve on the course. Pore over the 3D course maps the night before your round so you know what to expect before you even set foot on the course.
On the course, you’ll have real-time information right in your pocket. Distance to the green, surrounding hazards, and other targets are easy to see. The standout feature, though, is their augmented reality course view, which turns each hole into a video-game-like map, allowing you to virtually walk through the hole. Another great feature is its integration with Apple Watches.
All of these features come with the paid version of the app. The free version is still quite decent, but you won’t get the detailed hole mapping that you will with the premium version. You’ll need to manually input your club and shot distance for each shot, and it will show you the distance to the middle of the green.
Best For Green Analysis: GolfLogix
This app is fully-featured but it’s the one we recommend over others if you need a bit more insight and help when it comes to putting. It’ll definitely help you get from the tee to the green, with course flyovers, full-color, 3-dimensional contoured fairway maps, and club tracks.
But it truly shines once you’re on the green. Here, you can take advantage of USGA-compliant green books with detailed contour information, 3D heat maps of the greens for easy contour identification, and a 3D putt line, the first tool of its kind on a golfing app.
It doesn’t take long to see the huge value in this putting tool. The green is where many golfers lose shots, and if you view this as a way to learn how to read greens rather than the easy way out—a “cheat” tool—you can expect your game to improve significantly.
It’s worth noting that this app only features around 8,000 courses in comparison to the 40k+ of others. But if your favorites fall into those 8,000, it’s well worth investing in.
Best for Social Golf: Deemples
Before we get into the details of this app, you should know that it’s only available in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, and Malaysia. More countries are said to be coming soon, so we live in hope of it getting here quickly!
Deemples won’t necessarily improve the quality of your game, but it can do wonders for the quality of your opponents! Getting bored of playing with the same people every time? Looking for new people to learn from on the course?
Deemples is the most social of golfing apps. You can host a game or join a game nearby, depending on what’s going on with your day. It’s designed to match up golfers in the same area who want to play a round… But may not have anyone to play with at the time.
Simply browse through the games that are happening in the area and join in if you feel like it. If there’s nothing going at your favorite course, create your own game and see who comes along! You can also chat with those in the game to arrange things before you tee off.
Aside from this social aspect, you can book tee times, join 1-1 or group lessons, and earn Deemples credits to spend on future tee times.
Best Offline: Hole 19
Download this app for free on both Apple and Android. One of the best things about it is that you don’t need an internet connection to use it, so your data is safe. For a free app, it’s packed with amazing features. We recommend downloading it whether or not you’re on a budget!
You can upgrade to premium, but it’s not necessary, to begin with. Play around with the free app first, which will allow you to:
- Get accurate GPS distances
- Track your score
- Monitor club-by-club distances
- Asses trends in your game
- Compete with others on live leaderboards
- Link to your smartwatch for live information
Sign up for the paid version to access features like:
- Club recommendations
- Shot-by-shot tracker
- Augmented reality views
- Automatic hole changes
- Enhanced color course maps
- A handicap calculator
- Overall game statistics
- Ability to add your own notes
- Ad-free experience
Best for Your Mental Game: Imagine Golf
Improving your physical game is only half the battle won. The other half is getting your mental game right. You can be a great shot, but if your head isn’t in the game, you’ll never be as good as you could be.
This app is designed to be used off the course. It’s loaded with a stash of over 400 short stories, pro tips, and advice from high-authority people in the golfing world, like PGA pros, authors, and coaches.
Each one is laid out in a neat 3-minute chunk—a quick listen that’s filled to the brim with helpful information. There are also drills from best-selling golf books designed to boost your game and your confidence.
Great for when you’re driving, exercising, or have a few minutes to kill. It’s a free app, but we highly recommend getting the paid version, which is a small but worthwhile fee.
Best Free & Paid: SwingU
The “free for life” app is one of the best free ones you can find. It’s also surprisingly battery-efficient and its accuracy is impressive. The free app includes:
- A GPS rangefinder that works accurately on all courses
- A digital scorecard for an easy scoring and shot tracking
- Distance to the green plus hazards
- Handicap tracking after 3 rounds
- Strokes gained analysis
- Daily golf instructions
- Integration with Apple Watch
There are two extra tiers you can upgrade to, Plus ($3.33 per month) or Premium ($6.67 per month). Each one adds extra features, with the Premium version being like a caddie in your pocket, offering green-reading maps, relative handicaps for each part of your game, post-round analysis, and practice priorities, post-round prescriptive drills, and access to lessons on the go.
Best for Coaching: Golf Coach
Coaching is underrated and should be something every golfer goes through at some point. There’s always more to learn, and coaches can give you valuable insight into your own game and where you can improve.
This app helps you connect to a coach online. If you don’t have a coach yet, you can find a suitable one through the app. If you already have a coach, you can invite them to join so you can communicate easily and use the various tools the app offers.
It has superb video functions, allowing you to film your swing, send it to your coach, and get detailed feedback. You can input everything from where on the club face you actually struck the ball, the ball’s flight, and even how you felt about the shot.
In today’s digital world, if you’re not already using your smartphone as a tool for improvement, you’re missing out. Most of us already use our phones for productivity help, self-improvement apps, and convenience. But if you want golf improvement in your pocket, then it’s time to download one (or more than one) of the best golf apps on this list. Aside from that, investing in high quality golf accessories such as functional golf bags, absorbent towels, and quality golf shoes would improve your game play too.
Most of them work just as well on Apple and iOS phones, so whatever you use, you won’t be left out. There’s something for every part of the golf game, so there’s nothing wrong with having three or four different apps at a time.
Just don’t get so stuck in your phone that you forget to relax and enjoy being on the course! Use your apps where you need them, but also get your fill of nature, enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise, and have some fun.
Jordan Fuller is a retired businessman who spends most of his time on the golf course. When he’s not working on his own game(it never ends!), he’s mentoring young golfers. Off the course, he researches and writes value-packed articles for his website, Golf Influence.