PGA Tour Caddie Golf GPS Review
About a month or two ago I was perusing the App Store on my iPhone and came across the new PGA Tour Caddie app – I was stoked!
I love Golfshot GPS, but I still feel there are areas where its lacking where there is a gap waiting to be filled.
On the surface PGA TourCaddie Golf GPS looked like it might just fit the bill.
I finally was able to head out and play a round with it last week, and my high expectations, quickly turned to intense frustration. This was not the app I thought it was going to be.
Watch the video of my second round with it, for the full run down:
When I first fired up Tour Caddie and logged in, I was so excited that the app was by ShotZoom – the makers of Golfshot. Why? Because I could import over 2 years and 100 rounds of data directly into TourCaddy.
By far my biggest hesitation of switching to any new app is losing all of that data. That said, the stage was set for Tour Caddy to be my new go-to app.
The home screen is pretty simple with icons for “Play Golf” or “Academy” where you can get access to high quality short videos that help you with everything from how to tee up your ball to hitting the perfect fade. But we’ll get into that later.
The first thing I wanted to do was play a round. It had imported all of my data from my Golfshot account, and I could see my previous rounds in a big scroll bar.
After selecting Play Golf, I found my test course, Red Tail Golf Club in Portland, Oregon, selected my tees, and started my round.
Now there’s no denying that TourCaddie looks good. It’s a much sexier user interface than Golfshot is, and that’s a big part of it’s problem. It places a premium on aesthetics rather than functionality.
It’s got a pretty nice interface that let’s you see the aerial view of the entire hole – you can get even more detailed aerials by selecting the preview button at the bottom.
The distances are over to the left, and up on top is the biggest flaw in the whole app – the caddy.
TourCaddie tries to make club recommendations based on the distances you’ve tracked in the past. The biggest number on the app is your expected distance with the club they’ve selected for you in the upper left (see the 244 in the photo below).
In that example, you can see that they expect me to hit my driver 244 yards based on averages, and I hit the fairway 89% of the time.
This system is so frought with problems that I think it’s worth jumping in a little more:
- It makes recommendations based on past swings that you’ve tracked. Most of us don’t track every ball we hit – we track the good ones! So the #’s are skewed. I had one 7iron that I tracked at 174 yards awhile back. That does not mean it’s a suitable club for a 182 yard hole, as it was recommending.
- Doesn’t factor in the course. Just because there’s a 355 yard hole, that doesn’t mean I’ll play my driver. Especially if there’s a sharp dogleg or other hazards.
- Tracking is difficult. It makes suggestions based on the club it thinks you should use, and changing their recommendations to what you’re actually using is a huge pain – especially when in the middle of a round.
I’d track a ball, and the GPS would bounce all over the place – even after standing over the ball for over a minute. It did this consistently throughout two rounds with the app.
Generally speaking Golfshot works great. I’ve never had issues with tracking, and it finds your distances relatively quickly. The GPS on here just couldn’t ever seem to lock on, regardless of whether I was tracking a shot distance, or just trying to get my distance to the hole – the GPS was pretty much rendered useless.
The fact they place such a premium on the caddy feature, with a GPS system that simply doesn’t work – makes this a total no go for me.
The GPS was extremely disappointing, but that wasn’t the only thing – at first the scoring was also frustrating as well.
I was playing with 3 other people I didn’t know, and I was sitting on the 2nd tee simply trying to enter in my score for the previous hole. I couldn’t figure it out! I finally figured out you slide the big hole # up to get the menu, but even then I couldn’t figure out how to enter my score.
It wasn’t until walking up to the green on the third hole that I realized you have to swipe the entire screen left to get the score options.
It essentially had all of the same inputs as Golfshot: score, tee club, tee direction, putts, sand shots, and penalties.
However instead of doing it on 2 screens it tried to cram it all on one. This forced you to still slide the screen in order to get to sand and penalty shots – I would have rather they kept the two screens as it ended up being much faster than having it all on one.
So while I won’t be switching to TourCaddie as my primary on course rangefinder and score keeper, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s plusses.
The presentation of statistics I thought was better than Golfshot and when you select “Academy” it shows you how you stack up against other people with similar handicaps.
While playing a round you can also access your average score on a particular hole, as well as the averages for those with a similar handicap, or all golfers.
While interesting, the interface is presented in a way that is a bit jumbled, and frankly isn’t stuff you need to see while playing. Show me what club I used last time I played this hole, or something directly useful to me, and I’d be much happier.
The major benefit in this app is the academy. It features quite a few short, well produced videos that give you all sorts of little tips and tricks that you can try out during practice sessions. Are they totally going to change your game? Probably not, but it’s a nice touch.
I wanted to like TourCaddie. It had everything going for it early on. Yet unusable GPS, bad interface, and still limited/no gameification social features make this an app I’d pass on.
Price: For both advanced GPS features and the Academy it’s $30 – I picked it up for $20 during a Labor Day sale – and kind of wish I hadn’t.
On the plus side, at least it was a beautiful evening:
- A few features not in Golfshot GPS
- Useful Academy Videos
- Integrates Shotzoom Data
- GPS Essentially Unusable
- Sexy, but Not Functional
- Didn't Improve on Golfshot GPS