One of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to any form of Android or iPhone golf app, is the social side of the game. While many of us love our golf, we also enjoy the sense of camaraderie we get when playing with friends out on the course, or enjoying a chat following the round in the clubhouse. This aspect of golf was particularly difficult for golf apps to work into their design; until now.
Golf GameBook has been developed by GameBook Oy of Finland, hope of the company that brought you Angry Birds, so they may know a thing or two about what makes an app not just sell, but have real long term use both at home and out on the course.
What is Golf GameBook?
First of all, Golf GameBook is a free to download app (available for iPhone, Android and Samsung devices) that offers the user arguably the only complete golfing package for use both off and on the course.
Off Course features
Off the course features include its central hub ‘the clubhouse’, which contains plenty of other nifty features including:
- Live leaderboard links for in-play competitions
- Accessible from the web, even if you do not have a smartphone. The clubhouse has its own web feature allowing you to log on via a laptop or desktop to check your live leaderboard.
- Track, view, edit and analyse your personal golf stats – ideal for feedback about your game.
- Review past scorecards
- Invite friends and fellow golfers to share the software and join the growing ranks of Golf GameBook users.
- Send messages to other users of Golf GameBook.
- Full integration with Facebook so you can post details of your round with all your friends, share live leaderboards and keep an eye on how your friends games are progressing.
- Rate Courses, choose your favourite courses and submit new courses for adding to the current database
- All stats automatically updated throughout the Clubhouse when you add data from a new golf scorecard.
- Create your own challenges between friends to make your next game all the more intriguing.
In short, the Off Course features not only emphasise the tracking of your own game and development of challenges between friends, that are consistent with other apps, but also they enhance the social element of the game much further. This creates a ‘virtual clubhouse’ where all users of Golf GameBook can log in, leave messages and view the information most pertinent to them.
On Course features
The on course features of Golf GameBook are very similar to the types of things you can do on several other golf apps, but with an added focus on the social side of the game and it is this element which is driving many golfers towards this app. Features you can use on course include:
- Innovative scoring system that not only tracks the scores of you and your partners, but if you are in a competition, will collate all the scores received from players in the competition to produce a real-time leaderboard.
- A variety of different golf games and formats are supported so you can set up the app to automatically calculate your results based on your handicap and the scoring system selected.
- Fully Customizable tournaments, leagues and games which can be set up between friends.
- Photo sharing facility, so you can capture your moments on course and quickly share them to your chosen social media platform (such as Facebook).
- Chat facility available for messaging with other golfers and friends using Golf GameBook, whether they are on the course with you or not.
In our view…
Having looked at the app in detail, we think that this is certainly one of the top ten best apps available for iPhone, Android or Samsung devices and we are unsurprised that the app is quickly becoming the must have golf app on each of these devices.
What makes this app particularly useful is that using it is very much like using a social media tool, rather than a dedicated golf app. This makes navigating the app, posting photographs, messaging friends and posting your golf data intuitive and familiar for almost all users.
The data analysis of the app is excellent in terms of keeping record of your game and scores (though perhaps not as in depth as some paid apps), but for the vast majority of golfers, there is enough data stored for you to be able to draw reasonably accurate conclusions about the state of your game.
On course, the app works well, is unobtrusive when playing and the tournament feature, with the live scoreboard, is a fantastic add on for tournament play, especially if your club adapts the software to be used in your competitions.
Yet, even for a golfer who does not play regularly, the friends facility and the option to create your own competitions allows you to personalise the app in a way that makes all rounds meaningful, have purpose and with a goal.
There are lots of great golf apps out there that promise much but deliver little, but Golf GameBook is a fantastic app, well worth downloading onto your device. Some other little additions would be welcome (perhaps the ability to take and upload movies, a rangefinder etc) in future upgrades but for a piece of free software for your iPhone, Samsung or Android, Golf GameBook is as good as it gets.
Overall – 9/10
Images by Golf GameBook website & Facebook page