Dedicated readers may remember what I said at the start of the 2012 season about having no interest in a golf GPS—because I’m a purist who doesn’t want to spoil his pastoral experience.
They also may remember that I said, “I know I’m going to eat these words.’’ Let the feast begin. . . I have just finished my first full season with the GolfShot GPS–$29.95 for iPhones. Yes, I paid for it. And yes, I am a convert.
First—even though I’m good at eye-balling distances and don’t need to know the last yard because of my imprecise game—it is nice to have distances, particularly on unfamiliar courses, and I often play unfamiliar courses.
Second, the phone isn’t cumbersome. It’s not as clean as the wrist-watch GPS my cousin has—who knew that Dick Tracy played golf? But the beauty of GolfShot is that it keeps score, so I don’t have to fiddle with pencil and scorecard. That’s especially important on hot days, when that scorecard turns to mush.
Third, it also keeps all kinds of stats. Putts, clubs used, especially on par-threes. I haven’t availed myself of all those options, but it’s nice to know they’re there. One I do use measures the distance shots have traveled. You need to click when you hit and then click again when you get to your ball, though. I find it discouraging, though, to learn that a good shot hasn’t traveled nearly as far I’d expected.
GolfShot is also good for amusement. It requires you to download golf-course info by state and country. I love that it asks me if I’d like all the golf-course info for Afghanistan and Albania. It doesn’t take long; there aren’t any golf courses. GolfShot did work like a charm in Scotland, though; and it didn’t run up mobile-phone charges.
There are skeptics. I played nine holes with Rocco Mediate last spring. Although barefoot, Rocco carried an immense range-finder. Thinking I’d save him the trouble of firing that cannon, I called out a
distance from my iPhone. “No, thanks,’’ he said. “I need to know the real distance.’’ Rocco was a delight. Great sense of humor, more gags than Steve Martin and we won the shamble. He also helped us out on a couple of holes, although Lenny and I did the heavy lifting, courtesy of our honest but hefty handicaps.
I can tell you that my GolfShot is accurate enough for me. Interestingly, though, my friend Jeff, who has the same app, sometimes gets slightly different readings. We believe that’s because we have different mobile-phone service providers.
Fourth, GolfShot e-mails your scorecard to you and those you have kept score for. This is a nice touch.
Here’s my favorite feature, though: Along with the e-mailed scorecard, GolfShot will e-mail a “group photo.’’ I’m keeping a gallery of these. Love the memories.
Bottom line: I’ve become a big fan of my iPhone golf GPS. It even worked in Scotland. Surprisingly, no recurring service fee. But my favorite part still might be the photo gallery I’ve been collecting. I’m not so good with the hand-held iPhone self-portraits. But I’m having fun learning.