How Your iPhone Can Make You A Better Golfer

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Nicholas Carlson golferThis fella needs all the help he can get.

Playing golf today is a significantly better experience than playing golf in 2008, all thanks to the iPhone and its app store.

Third-party developers have made a bunch of apps that can improve your game, your round, and your time off the course.

These are our favourite golf apps for the iPhone. Most, if not all, should be available for Android folks, too.

Golfshot GPS is the best app for tracking distances.

There was a time when you had to pay $300-$550 for a rangefinder that told you how far you were from the pin. With Golfshot, you only have to pay $30 and you get accurate readings on almost every course in the world.

It also keeps track of your score, as well as fairways hit, and putts made. With all that data you can geek out on your round and see where you tend to miss. You also see which part of your game needs work.

Golfshot gives users a handicap, something that normally costs $40 through the USGA. It's not USGA official, but after a recent app update, it's pretty much just as accurate as the USGA's system.

iTunes link, price, $30

Golfshot also partnered with Tiger Woods to create 'My Swing,' an app that lets people track their swings.

If you've ever taken a lesson, maybe you've had the instructor film you and draw lines on the screen. This helps you see your swing plane, and if you're head is moving. (Mine bobs like crazy.)

With 'My Swing' you have a friend film your swing, and then you can draw the lines on the screen to see how you're moving around. It also includes some pre-recorded video tips from Tiger. Generally, I think pre-recorded tips aren't all that valuable, but that's just me.

The lines are a nice supplement for any professional lesson you get. You can measure what you're doing on the range against what you're supposed to be doing.

iTunes link, price, $5

Swingbyte attaches to your club to track your swing.

Speaking of your swing's plane, Swingbyte is a new app that syncs with a piece of hardware you attach to the shaft of your golf swing. Swingbyte then records the shape of your swing and illustrates it in the app.

It's not nearly as helpful as the other two, but it's another clever way to track your swing shape. In this case, you can do it without a partner filming.

Link to Swingbyte, which is $149

GolfNow is an easy way to book a tee time on your phone.

Once you're game is tweaked with those apps, get out on the course with GolfNow.

The GolfNow app makes it quite easy to book tee times right in your phone.

Link, free

The Golf Channel has an excellent live streaming app.

Post round, if you're still hopped up on golf, use the Golf Channel's excellent streaming app. If you're subscribed to cable, and your carrier has approved it, then you can watch Golf Channel at any time on your phone. This is a good way to catch up on what's happening in the world of golf.

iTunes link, free with certain cable subscriptions

The PGA TOUR has a lovely app.

The other, less data-intensive application that does something similar is the PGA TOUR's app. It gives you a look at the leaderboard, plus stories about the tour, and it often has live video streaming, too.

Link, free

Twitter is a good way to stay on top of the news.

On Twitter you can follow tour pros and golf writers to keep abreast of what's going on. During the dog days of summer when you're sitting on every tee box waiting for the slowpokes in front of you to get in gear, Twitter is a nice diversion.

Link, free

Instagram is the best photo taking/sharing app on the iPhone.

It's a great way to humbly brag about the awesome golf course you're playing on -- or if you've smoked a drive and measure it at 305 yards with Golfshot, you can take a screenshot and post it to Instagram.

Link, free

Another non-golf app that's useful for a golfer is CardMunch.

CardMunch comes from LinkedIn. You can take a photograph of a business card and it sucks up all the information into your phone. If you get a card from someone on the course, you don't have to worry about losing it. Just take a quick snap with CardMunch.

Link, free

BONUS: Every major has its own app, and they're usually great

The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship all offer great apps for the days of their events. Search in the App Store for the apps when the tournaments are going on.

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