capsule review

Review: Golf scoring applications for iPhone

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For the real statistics junkies, a Statistics screen displays a ton of cumulative results—rounds played, total strokes and putts, stroke averages per hole type, and the total number of birdies, pars, eagles, up through the infamous (and way too common on my cards) “triple bogey+.” There’s no per-course statistics, however, but even as it is, these statistics provide information you can use to help improve your game.

The biggest shortcoming of TeeShot is that it’s a one-player application; the ability to track scores for a foursome would be a nice addition. I’d also like to see a notes field, both for holes on the course (“Stay left off the tee here”) and for a given shot on a hole (“Pull hooked the drive; nice!”).

Out on the course

My scorecard from Red Tail Golf.
I tested TeeShot with an 18 hole round at a nearby municipal course, Red Tail Golf Club. At the risk of embarrassing myself, you can see the first part of my scorecard at right—notice the indicators showing whether or not I hit the fairway (F), or missed left or right (the arrows). Nine over par for the first six holes isn’t great, but hey, it’s been about a year since I last played!

Data for the course was available for download from the web, so no data entry was required. I found the program easy to use while playing—even though I walked the course and carried my clubs on my back. I kept my iPhone—protected with a full-coverage leather case—in my back pocket. If you’re going to walk and carry a phone, some sort of heavy-duty case is highly recommended. The iPhone is light enough that I didn’t even notice its presence even while swinging the club.

At first, I had some troubles with double-counting strokes, but that was due to user error (when entering shot-by-shot information, those strokes are automatically added to your total, so you don’t need to also enter them separately). After I figured that part out, the program worked flawlessly. Battery life wasn’t a problem—at the end of the round (4.75 hours, according to TeeShot), I’d only lost maybe 1/10th of the battery indicator on my year-old iPhone. (I entered shot-by-shot information for most every hole, not just my score.) During the round, I was also checking e-mail occasionally, and I made and received a test call, just to see if that would mess up TeeShot (it didn’t). I was impressed at how well the battery held up to regular (if brief) use over nearly five hours, especially given my phone is running on a year-old battery.

TeeShot came through my real-world test with flying colors. Compared to an old-fashioned scorecard, TeeShot was actually easier to use, and the program tracks a ton of interesting information about your round. Now, if I could just get out enough to use some of that data to improve my game!

Conclusion

Overall, if you're going to buy just one golf scoring application, TeeShot is the cream of the current crop. When compared to other programs in the App Store, $20 seems expensive. When compared with the cost of a round of golf, or even that of a dozen golf balls, it's really not much at all--especially for something that works this well. Over time, I think we'll see improvements in all the apps I've covered here, and I'm looking forward to "round two" of these programs to see what they have to offer.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder TeeShot

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