We love cell phones. They can do anything … well, almost anything. For golf lovers, they now provide a way for users to turn these every day devices into golf GPS systems.
Over the past decade the place of the cell phone has become more and more prominent. Just 10 years ago they were still fairly rare. Today, it is crazy not to have one. They have become the repository of our entire social lives, holding all our personal information in their small but powerful computers. Cell phones now interact with nearly every aspect of what we do on a daily basis. Cell phone applications are making various things obsolete – day planners, watches, alarm clocks, phone number memorization, navigation GPS, digital cameras, MP3 players, and golf GPS.
Very soon, cell phones are going to be the only piece of electronica that we are going to need – ever.
As far as golf GPS systems for cell phone go, there are two main routes that people can go. They could choose to use some free software or they can go the paid route. As we all know there are pros and cons to going with either solution. Paid services cost money while often making things really easy for users and often have very rich feature sets. Free services are free but generally take a little more work to get running properly and generally have less features than a paid counterpart. This is some gross generalization and isn’t always the case in every situation, but you get the general idea.
The rest of this article follows this division between free and paid golf GPS systems for cell phones.
Free Golf GPS Systems for Cell Phones
Did you say free? Getting our GPS golf tracking software for free is certainly better than having to pay for it out of your own pocket. Some golf systems for cell phones not only cost money, but they also have an annual fee! Here is a list of some of the free golf GPS systems for cell phones currently available:
This is a golf GPS that gives you the basics for your cell phone. No more. No Less. In its free version (yes, there is a paid upgrade version) you get to know the distance from where you are at to the front, center, and back of each green on supported courses. As far as supported courses go, Free Caddie offers a pretty good selection in terms of the number of courses available for use. If they don’t have your specific course on file, you can always make one using their course creator. The course creator is available in both the free and the paid version of Free Caddie.
Right now, this golf GPS tracking system is available on a wide range of phones including Windows Mobile Smartphones, the iPhone, Blackberry phones, and Java enables phones. There are plans on adding it to the Palm Pre, but who would want to do that after their privacy invading cell phone tracking software.
This free application is from the same makers of the GolfLogix GPS-8, a Garmin golf GPS system. GolfLogix is a free golf tracking software that is designed for Blackberry. It also has a iPhone version, but it is mostly used for the various Blackberry versions. It is currently supported on:
- BlackBerry Curve
- BlackBerry Bold
- BlackBerry Tour
- BlackBerry Storm
In terms of course coverage, it appears that this golf GPS system has a few more courses than the other free application listed above. With over 24,000 golf courses mapped this is bound to have the course you regularly play. Unfortunately, it does not appear to have a way for users to build their own course files. This is a feature that most definitely needs to be added to this GPS tracking system if it is to reach its full potential.
Also, by limiting the phones that can use this software the folks at GolfLogix have really narrowed their market considerably. If you are a traveling business man or woman who likes to play golf then this is probably going to be the service for you, but if you don’t have a BlackBerry then you are out of luck.
Paid Golf GPS Systems For Cell Phones
To be honest, Green Finder is a way over priced. Right now it costs $35 per year. When you consider that it only has 10,000 courses that is a ridiculously high price. I would avoid Green Finder unless it is the only golf GPS software that works for your cell phone.
Like some of the free versions, it is compatible with BlackBerry, iPhone 3G, Android, and phones that run Windows Mobile. It also has a software in the workd for Palm Pre.
This paid service is definitely not a cheap golf GPS system, coming in at just under €35 ($50), but this is a lifetime price. This already makes it cheaper than Green Finder. Also, you get a lot of features with iGolfScorer that you just don’t get with other golf GPS applications. Some of the features include:
- On the course scoring
- Pro-level statistics
- Side games for betting
- Shot distribution and tracking
- Handicap calculator
- Email your scorecard feature
- And free web analysis
This is certainly a very full featured golf GPS system. The only problem that American users are going to find with this software is that it is heavily weighted toward European users. We find this first in the phones compatible with the software. There are just a handful of phones – all of which are made by Sonny Ericsson or Nokia. This means that the most popular GPS enabled cell phones on the American market won’t even run the software. Also, the course that the software supports is heavily weighted toward European users. Of the 2,000 courses on iGolfScorer only 260 are US courses. Chances are, your home course isn’t going to be one of them.
Most American’s won’t be able to use this software, but it make a great European golf GPS system for cell phones.
The last golf GPS tracking system that we are going to look is IntelliGolf. It currently runs just under $40 and looks to be a pretty solid golf GPS features wise. There is an additional upgrade that costs you $30 and allows you to do a host of things with the data you collect on your cell phone – like make printouts of your statistics and grants you the ability to interact with other IntelliGolf user data. I probably wouldn’t get the upgrade since this type of data isn’t that useful to me in my own golf game, but some users will really like this type of information.
When it comes to compatible cell phones, IntelliGolf is compatible with the following phones:
- Palm OS or Treo
- Windows Touch
- Windows Non-Touch
- BlackBerry Smartphones
- P900/910 Smartphones
- P1i/W950/P990 Smartphones
- Nokia Series 60
IntelliGolf also boast having course data on over 25,000 courses – the largest of any software package on the list. It also has a very robust feature list, including:
- Score cards for up to 5 golfers
- Tracks shot statistics
- Automatically keeps track of side games
- Lets you recall past course statistics for players
The website for this product is a little cheesy, and could be updated to give the system more credibility to first time users. But aside from that, this seems like a fairly useful golf GPS system for your cell phone.
If you can, go with a free golf GPS system. If you don’t like it, you can always remove it and not worry about all the money that you just wasted on the software. If you love it and find yourself craving even more features then you can take a look at some of the paid systems out there. But until you give a test drive using a free service I think you should stay away from paying if you can. Even if you really like a friends version of one of the systems it is always best to take a look at the golf GPS system on your own before making a purchase that you might come to regret at some point in the future.