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These are the best golf apps to improve your game

Your next birdie is just a download away

golfer giving fist pump
MichaelSvoboda from Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro

Gone are the days of relying solely on gut instinct and a well-worn yardage book. Thanks to modern-day tech, golfers can carry a personal caddy, swing coach, and statistician right in their pockets.

Whether you’re an occasional player looking to shave a few strokes off your score or a serious competitor gunning for a lower handicap, the right golf app can make all the difference.

We’ve teed up the top contenders in every category, from free basic trackers to advanced paid apps with comprehensive features. Here are our picks for the best golf apps to improve your game.

Best free golf app: Hole19

Hole19: Golf GPS Range Finder
Hole19: Golf GPS Range Finder / Hole19: Golf GPS Range Finder

Hole19 is a full-blown course management system, stat tracker, and social hub for golfers. It has tons of premium features, but we’re impressed with just how many useful tools it packs into the free version.

“Hole19 goes beyond just GPS yardages,” says Steven Athwal, founder and managing director of The Big Phone Store and an avid golfer himself. “It provides detailed information for over 42,000 courses worldwide, real-time shot tracking, live leaderboards, and even AR overlays.”

That means you’re not just getting distances to the green; you’re getting a virtual caddy in your pocket, helping you navigate the course like a pro. Track your shots, compare your scores with friends, and even see the lay of the land with augmented reality.

Pros:

  • Tons of free features, including a social hub where you can connect with fellow golfers, share tips, and trash-talk your rivals
  • More than 42,000 courses worldwide — chances are, yours is covered
  • Keep your phone in your pocket and still get accurate distances when wearing a smartwatch

Cons:

Best paid golf app: Golf Pad

Golf Pad app
Golf Pad GPS Rangefinder / Golf Pad GPS Rangefinder

If you’re looking for a paid app that isn’t going to nickel-and-dime you, the Golf Pad app is a pretty solid option. This app is packed with tools that serious golfers crave: pinpoint GPS distances, in-depth shot tracking, club recommendations based on your personal stats, and advanced analytics that’ll make you feel like a PGA pro.

What’s even better is that the Golf Pad’s premium membership is a steal at just $29.99 a year. That’s less than a round at most decent courses, and you get access to cool features like “Plays Like” distances (adjusted for elevation and weather), smartwatch syncing, and even Strokes Gained analysis — the same kind of data the big tour players use to break down their performance.

Think of it like this: For less than the price of a dozen Pro V1s, you get a virtual caddy, swing coach, and course strategist at your fingertips.

Pros:

  • Features a comprehensive suite of tools for serious golfers, including GPS, shot tracking, club recommendations, and advanced stats
  • The premium subscription is very affordable compared to other golf apps, which can run as high as $200 a year
  • Lets you access data and insights similar to those used by professional golfers to improve their game

Cons:

  • The free version is relatively basic
  • With so many features, it may take some time to get used to navigating the app

Best golf swing analyzer app: 18Birdies

18birdies app
18Birdies: Golf GPS Tracker / 18Birdies: Golf GPS Tracker

18Birdies isn’t just another golf app — it offers everything from swing analysis to GPS yardage and in-depth stats tracking. But it’s the swing analysis that really caught our eye (and the attention of seasoned golfers like Brett Hershman).

“18Birdies tracks long-term stats and trends like putting performance, up-and-down percentages, fairways hit, and where my misses typically end up,” 27-year golf veteran and founder at Hershman Consulting Group, Brett Hershman, tells The Manual. “It even shows me which side I tend to miss on.”

But the real game-changer is the app’s AI swing analysis tool. It doesn’t just record your swing; it studies every movement, every angle, and every nuance. Then, it crafts a personalized lesson plan to help you groove a perfect swing. “It’s incredibly helpful for monitoring swing changes, identifying issues, and figuring out how to fix them,” Hershman adds.

With 18Birdies, you’re not just guessing how to improve – you’re getting data-driven feedback that’ll take your game to the next level.

Pros:

  • AI-powered feedback on swing mechanics
  • In-depth stats tracking to monitor progress over time, from your GIR to your scrambling percentage
  • GPS functionality for precise yardages
  • Available for Android and iOS users

Cons:

Best golf handicap app: TheGrint

TheGrint: Handicap & Scorecard
TheGrint: Handicap & Scorecard / TheGrint: Handicap & Scorecard

If you and your buddies are the type who turn every round into a friendly (or not-so-friendly) competition, TheGrint is the app you want in your pocket. It’s basically a scorekeeper, referee, and trash-talk enabler all rolled into one.

TheGrint streamlines the whole process of tracking and managing handicaps, setting up tournaments, and engaging in some healthy (or maybe not-so-healthy) rivalries with your fellow golfers. It calculates and maintains your official USGA Handicap Index, so you know exactly where you stand against your competitors (and every other golfer out there).

With over 40,000 mapped golf courses worldwide, you’ll always have accurate distances and layouts at your fingertips. Plus, the handy scorecard picture service lets you snap a photo of your scorecard and have TheGrint transcribe it for you — no more tedious manual entry! And when you’re back in the clubhouse (or the office, let’s be real), you can easily access your stats and analyze your performance on TheGrint’s desktop platform.

Pros:

  • Keeps your official USGA Handicap Index up-to-date and accurate
  • Track your progress, identify weaknesses, and make data-driven decisions to improve your game
  • Upload a picture of your scorecard and let TheGrint transcribe it for you
  • Access your stats and data on both your phone and computer

Cons:

  • The scorecard transcription feature may not be 100% accurate, so it’s always good to double-check
  • Some features require a paid subscription

Best golf GPS app: Golfshot

Golfshot Golf GPS Range Finder
Golfshot Golf GPS Range Finder / Golfshot Golf GPS Range Finder

If you prioritize accurate distances and seamless course navigation above all else, Golfshot is your go-to app. This veteran of the golf app world has refined its GPS capabilities to a tee (pun intended), offering a user-friendly experience that’ll have you feeling like a seasoned caddy is by your side, even if you’re the most tech-averse golfer on the planet.

Golfshot’s database features more than 45,000 courses worldwide, so you’ll have access to accurate distances and detailed maps no matter where your next round takes you. It also offers additional features like 3D flyovers that give you a bird’s eye view of each hole, real-time distances to hazards so you can strategize your shots, and an augmented reality feature called Golfscape AR that lets you visualize the course in a whole new dimension.

It also offers digital scorekeeping, shot tracking, and even swing analysis (though it might not be as in-depth as dedicated swing analyzer apps).

Pros:

  • Access to over 45,000 courses worldwide with precise distances to greens, hazards, and targets
  • 3D flyovers and the unique Golfscape AR feature provide unparalleled views of the course
  • Track your shots and gather valuable data on your game without manually inputting information
  • Get data-driven insights on your swing mechanics with every shot you take

Cons:

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Tabitha Britt
Tabitha Britt is a freelance writer, editor, SEO & content strategist.
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