As an avid golfer with an Apple Watch, you may be looking for ways to improve your game and make the most of your wearable technology. With an array of golf apps available, it can be challenging to pick the perfect one that caters to your specific needs and preferences.
We’ve spent countless hours on the course testing the best golf apps in order to help you get the most of out of your Apple Watch. In this article, we’ll share our top picks, guide you through the process of choosing a golf app. And since the Apple Watch 9 just released, we’ll also take a look at the new features.
Table of Contents
What to Look For in a Golf App
- Shot Tracking & Data Calculation
- Scoring & Handicap
- Price & Value
- Battery Drain
The Best Golf Apps for the Apple Watch
TheGrint’s Apple Watch app is probably the app I use most on my Apple Watch. It’s my top pick for tracking scores and GHIN handicap. It also scores high for ease of use and doesn’t drain the battery.
The watch app functions are considerably more limited than those on the phone version of the app. But I like this because all I want is for the watch app to record my play info and tell me yardages. You can check the detailed stats and all of that other data after the round on your phone.
- Golf GPS rangefinder (app+watch)
- Official USGA/GHIN handicap & score tracker
- Live golf scores for your social circle
- Organize tee times with the Groups tool
- Golf scoring and calculations for Skins, High & Low, Medal, Best Ball, Niners, and Stableford
- Shot editing post round
- Pro golf stats help you improve
- Integrates with apple health app and lets you track your golf workout
Price: There is a free version, or you can upgrade to the Pro Membership for $39/year.
Wish you could have a caddie in your back pocket? Well, now you can. The Arccos Caddie app not only has GPS data for more than 40,000 courses, but it features highly accurate swing data and strokes gained analytics. Paired with Arccos sensors the app automatically captures on-course shots and then takes it one step further by helping you break down the data and make smart decisions on the course.
And the big, recent upgrade to the Arccos Caddie app is that you no longer need to have your phone in your pocket. Now you just need to wear the watch and the shot tracking is automatic.
- A.I.-powered GPS data for over 40,000 courses worldwide.
- Pair with Arccos Smart Sensors to automatically capture on-course shots.
- New members improve on average by 5.71 strokes in the first year.
- Players may track their shots using their phone, Arccos Link wearable, or Apple Watch.
- Start round directly from watch, no phone required
- Get AI Rangefinder with real-time adjusted yardages to front/middle/back
- Personalized club recommendations and caddie advice for every shot
- Mark the pin location for more accurate data
- View scorecard and edit shots directly from your watch
- Longer battery life (Series 6 and above).
Price: $156 USD billed annually
Golfshot Golf GPS
The Golfshot Golf GPS app provides on course distance information and simultaneously collects information about your golf swing. I don’t mean just your shot distance information. Golfshot’s new Swing ID feature also tracks your swing characteristics. You will need to upgrade to a Golfshot Pro membership to access the Swing ID feature.
Other apps can track your tendency to hit the ball to the right, but Golfshot’s Swing ID feature may be able to tell you why you are hitting it left.
- GPS distances to center of green
- Track your shot distance, direction and club used
- Score for yourself or your foursome with Stroke Play and Stableford
- Use Siri to ask Distance to the Green
- 3D video course previews
- Purchase and track your Handicap Index® through Golfshot
- Book GolfNow tee times
- Track your pace and activity on the course with the Health app
- Auto Strokes Gained Analysis with Apple Watch*
- Get swing analytics and analysis on every shot with Swing ID for Apple Watch*
- Use Auto Shot Tracking to track and review every shot with your Apple Watch*
- Distances to the front, center, and back of green*
- Smart caddie powered by machine learning to guide you on every shot*
- View and edit shots tracked in Flyover Round Review*
- View real-time distances to all hazards and targets*
- Link your existing GHIN® Number to post scores directly to your World Handicap Index®*
(* GolfShot Pro Features)
Price: Free or upgrade to GolfShot Pro for $59.99/year
GolfLogix has been a player in the golf GPS game for quite a while. Their Apple Watch app is utilitarian, which is not a bad thing. You get yardages and can input scores easily from your wrist.
The coolest thing about the GolfLogix app is looking at the 3D approach views of the putting greens on your phone. The app will show you the topography of the green. You’ll be able to see where that elephant is buried before you hit your shot into the green.
The most helpful, or perhaps controversial feature of the GolfLogix green reading system is the ability to draw a line from your ball to the cup to see how it will break. This is great for learning how to read greens, but could lead to fisticuffs in a money game.
- 3D course maps
- Full score and stat tracking
- 4-player scorecards
- Pro-level stats analysis
- Exclusive deals on discounted tee times
- Get the exact GPS distance to any location from tee to green*
- Slope-adjusted distances*
- Experience 3D hole flyovers*
- Visualize fairway or green club landing zones*
- Green slope heat maps*
- USGA-approved green break maps*
- Draw a line from your ball to the flag to see how your putt will break*
- Track every shot with club tracking technology*
- 3D putt line guidance*
(*GolfLogix Plus features)
Price: Free, or $59.99 annually to upgrade to GolfLogix Plus
The V1 Games app has a lot of overlap with the Arccos Caddie app. It contains GPS coordinates for tens of thousands of courses. It keeps track of your scores and it even has automatic swing detection.
The difference between the two is that the V1 Games app does not pair with the individual club sensors like Arccos. This means you will need to enter club data manually. After you enter enough data, the app will act as a virtual caddie, suggesting the club you should hit. The more swings recorded, the better the recommendation.
The V1 Games app offers three different membership options, with the available features increasing with price.
- Golf gps data available for 40,000+ golf courses worldwide
- Golf gps rangefinder provides accurate golf distances to greens, tees, hazards, and landing zones on both the phone and watch*
- Aerial satellite views*
- Manually set the pin for precise golf distance to facilitate correct club selection
- Track golf shots live or post-round at your convenience
- Track your strokes, putts, penalties
- Track golf shot distance, location, and club used
- Stats are instantly generated analyzing your golf performance
- Statistics include: strokes gained, shot patterns, club distances, scoring, greens in regulation (GIR), fairways in regulation (FIR), scrambling, putts per green, putts per GIR, estimated handicap, and more
- Strokes gained stats are broken down by overall score, driving, approach, short game, and putting
- View personal bests and scoring history
(Advanced features require higher subscription level)
Price: PAR: $19.99 annually, BIRDIE: $59.99 annually, EAGLE: $119.99 annually
Am I the only one who finds it ironic that a watchmaker makes an app for the Apple Watch? It’s especially odd since Tag Heuer makes a golf smartwatch. The Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch was gorgeous. However, the app seemed to gorge itself on the battery, precluding even 18 holes of play unless all notifications and such were disabled.
Thankfully, we can use the Tag Heuer app on an Apple Watch. The app is a good one. The visuals and functions on the watch are top-notch and they don’t completely kill your battery. The visuals on the phone are certified artistic. I love the way the holes look on the iPhone.
Hopefully, Tag Heuer will come out with a more stalwart smartwatch in the near future. Until they do, your Apple Watch will serve nicely as a less fancy substitute.
- Exclusive 3D maps of more than 39,000 golf courses around the world
- Distance to the green and hazards
- Measure your Golf Shot distance
- Save your scores and get insights to improve your game
- Select the right club with a real-time club recommendation feature
- Save your Golf rounds as Workouts and review the energy burned and total walked distance in the Health application
- Interactive 2D course maps on your wrist*
- Distance to the green and hazards*
- Get Club Recommendations instantly*
- Instantly save scores (up to 4 players) and follow the leaderboard*
- Measure your shot distance*
- Visualize statistics on your phone in real time*
(*With Tag Heuer Premium)
Price: Free, or upgrade to Tag Heuer Premium for $12.99 monthly or $89.99 annually
Amazon Bonus Find: Stretchy Nylon Watch Bands
Here is something that may interest Apple Watch users. I was not really happy with the plastic or silicone watch bands when I played golf or exercised. After some searching on Amazon, I came across these stretchy nylon watch bands.
At less than $15 for five of them, I took the risk. So far, we are in five-star territory. The bands are super-lightweight and non-sweaty. Once you adjust the band, it stays on during the swing and the afternoon jog. I’ve got about six months of usage on the checkerboard one and it hasn’t lost its elasticity or even gotten very dirty.
At $3 each, I am a big fan.
The Apple Watch 9
- Apple just released the new Apple Watch 9.
- The watch is brighter and faster.
- Many of the most popular golf apps were updated.
Apple just announced their Apple Watch Series 9. That announcement makes it a great time to take a look at the current golf app market, specifically golf apps that include Apple Watch functionality.
Let’s look at the hardware side of the story and circle back to the best of the Apple Watch golf apps. As a bonus, I have included a great Apple Watch band I found on Amazon for those of you who make it to the end of the article.
Do I need to upgrade to the Apple Watch 9?
Is the latest the greatest? No question the new Apple Watch 9 is the most advanced non-Ultra Apple Watch to date. That said, is the new watch a significant upgrade over your current watch? Let’s take a look at what the new Apple Watch 9 brings to the (golf) game.
- Faster S9 Chip
- Siri on device
- 2000 nits display brightness
- Double-tap gesture recognition
- 64GB capacity
Like I said, these specs are the best ever for a non-Ultra version of the Apple Watch but how much better are they? Let’s use my Apple Watch 7 as a comparison. The new S9 chip is two generations faster than my S7 chip. Faster is better but I have no clue how to quantify the difference. Let’s just say it is “two better” and move on.
The 2000 nits brightness is double the 1,000 nits of my Apple Watch 7. That’s a big deal. Having the screen washed out by the sun can be an issue. By the way, if you want to justify your Apple Watch Ultra 2 purchase, its brightness is 3,000 nits.
The new Siri in the watch and double-tap capabilities of the Apple Watch 9 are things that my Apple Watch 7 can’t do but I don’t think they have any uses in the golf-specific apps.
Key Golf App Features to Consider
When choosing a golf app for your Apple Watch, there are several key features to consider. This section will guide you through the essential factors to look out for when selecting the perfect app to enhance your game.
GPS and Rangefinder
One of the most crucial features to consider in a golf app is GPS and rangefinder functionality. This will help you determine accurate distances to specific points on the course, such as the pin, hazards, and landing areas. Look for an app that offers:
- Real-time GPS data: Accurate and up-to-date distances are critical for planning your shots effectively.
- Course maps: High-quality, detailed course maps for easy navigation and better strategy.
- Club recommendations: Some apps can suggest the best club to use based on the distance to your target.
Tracking Your Swing and Shots
Monitoring your swing and shot performance is vital for continuous improvement. Keep an eye out for golf apps that provide:
- Swing analysis: Evaluate your swing speed, tempo, and consistency to help you make any necessary adjustments.
- Shot tracking: Monitor each shot’s distance, accuracy, and trajectory to better understand your game.
- Shot detection: An app with automatic shot detection can save time and ensure all your shots are accounted for.
- Strokes gained data: This advanced metric helps you identify areas in your game where you can gain or lose strokes compared to others.
Finally, consider the scorecard functionality of the golf app. Digital scorecards offer convenience and enhance your on-course experience. Look for apps that provide:
- Simple score input: Easy-to-use interface for entering and updating your scores during a round.
- Automated score tracking: The ability to automatically track your scores and provide instant updates.
- Storage and statistics: A comprehensive breakdown of your performance, including averages, trends, and pattern analysis.
Comparing Top Golf Apps For Apple Watches
Free Versus Subscription Apps
When choosing a golf app for your Apple Watch, consider whether you prefer a free app or one that requires a subscription fee. Some apps offer a free version with limited features, while others provide more advanced features through a subscription service. For example, the Tag Heuer Golf app offers a visually attractive interface and GPS tracking, but requires a premium subscription to unlock some of the most useful features.
User Reviews and Ratings
Pay close attention to user reviews and ratings of golf apps to ensure you select an app that meets your needs and preferences. You can find ratings and reviews on app stores and third-party websites. Look for apps with high ratings and positive feedback from users who have similar golfing experience and expectations as you.
How to Optimize Battery Life While Using Golf Apps
When using golf apps on your Apple Watch, you may notice that the battery might drain faster than usual. To ensure that you have enough battery life for your entire round of golf, follow these tips to optimize battery life while still receiving optimal performance from your golf app.
Update your iOS and App
Always keep your iPhone and Apple Watch operating systems up-to-date, as new updates often come with improvements in battery optimization. Don’t forget to update your golf app as well, as developers might release updates to enhance the app’s efficiency.
Disable Unnecessary Features
Some golf apps may track your location even when you’re not using the app, which can significantly drain battery life. Be sure to check your Apple Watch settings, and disable features that you do not need during your round, such as background app refresh and location services for non-golf apps.
Minimize Screen Time
The more your Apple Watch display is on, the faster your battery will deplete. Maximize your battery life by adjusting the screen brightness to the lowest acceptable level, and turning off the “Wake Screen on Wrist Raise” feature in the settings. This way, you can control when your watch screen turns on, only checking it when necessary.
Receiving frequent notifications on your Apple Watch can waste battery life. Go to your iPhone’s settings and select “Notifications”, then customize which apps are allowed to send you notifications. Prioritize only the most critical notifications during your round to conserve energy.
Close Unused Apps
Running multiple apps on your Apple Watch can quickly drain the battery. Before you start your round, make sure to close any apps you don’t need by pressing the side button on your watch, swiping left on the app you want to close, and tapping the red ‘X’ button.
By following these tips, you can optimize your Apple Watch’s battery life and ensure an uninterrupted experience when using golf apps during your round. Remember to always fully charge your watch before heading out to the course, so you are prepared for a day on the greens.
Final Thoughts on Golf Apps for the Apple Watch
Without a doubt, the Apple Watch 9 is the best Apple Watch so far. That said, I don’t think those of us with recent models need to upgrade. My Apple Watch 7 is still going strong and able to run all of the golf apps I need. Perhaps that 5 is starting to get a little long in the tooth, though.
If you are data-driven, I’d be shocked if you are not already playing with an Apple Watch and using one of these apps. We can debate which of the apps is the best. Ultimately, they all perform the same important task. The apps collect useful data that can provide helpful insights into the nature of our games.
Many of the apps offer a free version but, if you want to access all of the functionality, you will need to pay monthly or annual membership fees. Find the app that has the “killer app” feature for you. If you want specific swing data, then you need the Swing ID feature in Golfshot. If you look at the butt end of your grips and see little sensors, then Arccos Caddie is your best bet.
FAQ: Apple Watch Golf Apps 2023
Ready to level up your game even more? Take a look at these gear guides: