The 5 Best Golf Apps of 2021

Get the most from your tee time with these five apps

A golfer landing a putt

 Jirayu Siritorn/EyeEm/Getty Images

Whether you're an experienced golfer or are just renting some clubs for the first time, golf can be an intimidating sport. There's a lot to track, a lot of data to collect, and a lot of ways to improve. These five golf apps will help you get the most out of your game.

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USGA Official Rules of Golf: Best Golf App for Settling Arguments

Rules of Golf app screenshots
What We Like
  • A convenient rulebook you can keep on your phone when duffing about.

  • The app's content has everyone in mind, from amateurs to people with disabilities.

  • Rules are explained in multiple formats, from text to well-produced videos.

What We Don't Like
  • The full rules have to be enabled in the settings, for reasons that aren't fully clear.

  • Not all the rules are available in the app, and have to be accessed via web-link, a potential problem when you're without web access.

There are rules in any sport, and where there are rules, there are arguments. Fortunately, the US Golf Association (USGA) has a constantly updated rulebook you can download to keep in your pocket. It's fully interactive, too, with clearly shot videos and detailed explanations.

It'd be great if the app's text was updated inside the app, instead of by weblink, but it remains a comprehensive resource, at least as long as you have a connection.

Download USGA Rules of Golf for iOS

Download USGA Rules of Golf for Android

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mScorecard: Best Golf Scorecard App

mscorecard app screenshots
What We Like
  • It does a simple job well and with few frills or gewgaws.

  • It's designed to open fast so you can start swinging.

What We Don't Like
  • The interface is utilitarian at best.

  • Downloading your data is locked behind a paywall, so you'll need to look elsewhere to track your stats.

If you're sick of those tiny pencils and easily lost pads of paper, mScorecard is free and makes tracking your score easy. Just pop it open, fill it in as you go, and focus on your game. That said, the fact you can't download your data over time without paying for a subscription, which has few other features, may drive the hardcore golfer to seek a fuller featured app.

Download mScorecard for iOS

Download mScorecard for Android

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Golf GPS: Best Golf GPS App

Golf GPS app screenshots
What We Like
  • The free app is good for beginners and as you grow as a golfer, you can upgrade as needed.

  • Subscriptions are far cheaper than other apps and unlocks features that are useful, but aren't strictly necessary if you just want to play the game.

  • The videos are informative and well produced.

What We Don't Like
  • The interface can be a little clunky.

  • The instructional content tends to be aimed more at absolute beginners.

Well before it was guiding you to the nearest drive-thru, golfers were using GPS to figure out just where their swings were taking them, and Golf GPS continues the grand tradition of the "golf computer."

While this app has other useful tools and fun stuff, such as a golf news feed featuring both the serious and the wacky, the best value is the GPS tracking. It helps you track where you are on the course and work on improving your swing, your strategy, and your overall game.

Download Golf GPS for iOS

Download Golf GPS for Android

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18Birdies: Best Golf "Utility" App

18 Birdies app screenshots
What We Like
  • Almost everything on the app is useful for golfers.

  • The stats tracking is particularly useful for novice golfers, easing them into analyzing their numbers.

What We Don't Like
  • It requires either an email or a Facebook sign-in.

  • Some features will require a $9.99 a month subscription, making this more for regular golfers than casual ones.

Even somebody who doesn't know a driver from an iron needs a few tools to figure out what they're doing, and 18Birdies packs a heck of a lot into a small digital space. It's a GPS tracker, a rangefinder, a stats tracker, a tee time booker, and a social network. It wants to be the Swiss Army knife of golf apps and it largely hits the mark, although the social network aspect is likely to be the part of the app you use the least.

Download 18Birdies for iOS

Download 18Birdies for Android

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GolfNow: Best Tee Time Booker

Golf Now app screenshots
What We Like
  • The app features plenty of courses, even if it's not comprehensive.

  • You can save your favorite courses easily, making booking that much faster.

  • Using GPS, you can find nearby tee times when on vacation or away from the house.

What We Don't Like
  • The course list could be more comprehensive.

  • Some of its optional features try to be all things to all golfers.

One of golf's grandest challenges isn't fixing your slice or nailing a long putt, it's booking a tee time; or at least it can feel that way when you're on the phone for hours. GolfNow lets you find tee times more easily, offers discount rates and deals, and takes the paperwork and phone calls out of scheduling a tee time. That said, the list of courses isn't comprehensive, leading to some oddities, like the fact you can book tee times on 6,000 courses, but use some of the app's features on 30,000.

Download GolfNow for iOS

Download GolfNow for Android

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