As the smartphone and tablet revolution continues to grow, increasing numbers of apps will be released and amongst them will be golf apps.
Over the past twelve months, we’ve reviewed a fair few of the good (and a couple of the bad!) golf apps available but it has got us thinking about what golf apps we don’t yet have, but which we’d like to see.
So developers take note! Here’s a list of five types of golf apps that we think would be a real hit with the more technologically minded golfer in 2014 and beyond.
1. Automated Golf Swing Analyser
There are many golf swing analyser’s available (such as the Nike one shown above) but there is one problem with all of them in my experience and that is when it comes to feedback about your swing – you are generally on your own.
Some of the better apps do attempt to give you a little data about the issues with your swing, but the power of the processor can do so much more than this.
My vision is for an app which can not only take video of your swing from the front, side and behind, but also analyse the swing against a set of ‘perfect’ parameters and then by reviewing this against your swing, offer you simple practical advice about aspects of your swing.
It surely cannot be too difficult for a program to recognise when a players hands or elbows are too high or low in the backswing, whether the club face is too open or closed.
The analyser would look at this and then provide the golfer with not just feedback about their swing, but also some drills to help them rectify the problem, one step at a time.
In essence, this takes the golf swing analysis tool beyond that of merely recording a swing for comparison, but reviewing it to provide solid feedback in the way a professional would when looking at your swing through GASP analysis or similar.
Too advanced, maybe, but you have to aim high to shoot the best rounds don’t you?
2. You Golf
One app we’d love to see would be a game where instead of choosing to play with a default golfer, or a professional, such as in Tiger Woods Golf, why not marry two different golf apps to produce one unique one?
In You Golf, you use swing tracking software to map your swing (as is already readily available in app format) but instead of using it for diagnostics, you can then transfer this virtual copy of you and your swing into a golf game.
Swing readers can now map a whole host of features about your swing and body position, including items like clubhead speed, position of arms, legs etc at various points in the swing.
Simply tweak a few features (such as your handicap, your best and worst clubs etc) to give an accurate reflection of your golfing skills and you can then play with your virtual “You” on any of the world’s top courses?
You could have this as a point and click golf game, or perhaps even run it as a simulation and let the processor decide what you would shoot around the likes of Augusta, St Andrews, Pebble Beach and more.
Wouldn’t an app like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 be better with YOU in it, maybe it’ll be you having your pic taken with Miguel Angel Jiminez!
3. Golf Course Price Checker App
If the first two apps are pushing the limits of what can be achieved technologically at present, the third app certainly is not.
How about an app that lists the prices of a round of golf at all the courses local to you for both the current time and for a pre-booked time in the next week or so?
Of course, there are online systems that offer this service, but this version would allow golf clubs to offer last minute price deals for players, to turn a quiet, empty day on the course into a busier day.
Golf club memberships are falling in many key markets and clubs need to attract paying customers through the door. Lower priced green fees has proven to work, but the problem for golf clubs is that these days, when advertised well in advance, can get quickly filled and mean that for that time, the course is very busy.
Few golfers like to spend 4-5 hours on a round, even at a bargain price, so this new app would allow courses to offer last minute deals to golfers. So if they have no tee times booked between 10am and 1pm on a Monday, they can reduce the price by 75% for those who turn up to play between these times.
A centralised website, as is in operation at the moment, will allow golf clubs to update prices and players to book tee times on the day, or in advance.
I think this is likely to be a winner given the popularity of cheap tee time services online (which i have used several times to get fabulous rounds of golf at up to 75% off).
And of course, by using a mapping service, you can find the courses closest to you that offer the best deal, saving money on petrol and also increasing competition at local clubs.
4. More Golf Course/Club Apps
One of the best and most useful apps we reviewed this year was an app designed to support both club members and visiting players to a particular golf club or course.
I think there is huge potential for many more courses to develop their own apps and add a plethora of features to them to make all aspects of playing or socialising at the course much more accessible, just like the pictures app above for Woodhall Spa golf course.
It would not take much for many courses to transfer most of the contents of their website into an app, but they could also add a host of other features. Many already offer online booking services, but how about the chance to book golf carts or trolleys, purchase golf equipment, book rooms for private functions.
Apps would also serve as useful marketing tools to bring visiting golfers to a course, an important source of revenue given falling golf membership numbers at many clubs.
As I stated before, several golf clubs have their own app nowadays, but I’d like to see this spread to the majority of golf clubs over the next few years. The word needs to get out that golf is a great, welcoming and inclusive game to play and apps such as these are a simple, cheap and effective way to do that.
5. Golf Shot Analyser –
My final wish is pushing the limits of technology, but isn’t that what helps nurture progress?
How about an app which allows you to take a photograph or video of your next golf shot, showing the ball, the hazard, the lie and your intended target and can then digest that information to give you guidance on your next shot?
I envisage this app being particularly useful to beginner golfers who when left with 200 yards to a green, will often attempt to smash a 5-wood onto the green, rather than laying up with a safer 8 iron.
The analyser will take into account your handicap level, the weather conditions, the quality of the lie and the hazards you face on the shot before advising you where to aim, what club to play and what kind of shot you should look to hit.
It could also provide a beginner with useful coaching advice about playing the shot, especially when playing out of the rough, or from a bunker for example.
Of course, such a device would not be used in competitive situations, but for a beginner practising alone, or playing with a friend in a purely social game, it could be a very useful tool in helping them gain some course management skills, as well as helping them avoid the “all or nothing” shot which too often results in a 10 on the scorecard and a sense of great frustration!
What do you think? What apps would you like to see for golfers of 2014 and beyond?
Pictures courtesy of Woodhall Spa Golf, Nike Golf App and Gorilla Golf Stock Images