Windows Phone Central Roundup: Golf Apps and Games
Summer is in full swing and many are taking to the golf course to enjoy the sunshine and hit the tiny white ball all over the place. For others, sitting in the comfort air conditioning and picking up the sticks in the form of a video game may be more appealing.
Regardless of your preference, there is a small collection of golf apps and games in the Windows Phone Store that should appeal to most duffers (real or virtual). We have picked a handful of the higher rated offerings in this week's roundup. They include a few golfing games and apps that may help you navigate the course a little better. We also have an app that will keep you up to date on all the news and standings from the professional golfing ranks.
Pocket Golf is one of those simply laid out games that is fun to play and challenging enough to keep you interested. The golfing game takes on a two dimensional approach to things with courses that stray considerably from your traditional layouts.
Pocket Golf includes 15 courses with 135 uniquely drawn-up holes. You can tackle the coursed in either the campaign or free-play game modes and power-ups will become available as you progress through game play to enhance your gaming skills.
The game also has daily challenges that you can try to tackle for bonus rewards and see how your game play ranks against other Pocket Golf duffers.
Courses are progressively unlocked as you successfully complete the previous courses. Game controls are simple with directional arrows to aim your shot and a power meter to set the power of each stroke. You don't have to worry about club selection and shots can be played off the edges of the screen (you can even get your feet wet and play out of the water hazards).
Holes can be rather complex with sand traps, water hazards and elevated platforms to play from. Each hole can be zoomed in or out by touch and if you do land in a water hazard, don't worry, you can play out of the water without penalty.
Pocket Golf may not follow the traditional designs with respect to golf courses but it still makes for an enjoyable round of golf.
Pocket Golf is available for low-memory devices.
- Pocket Golf – Windows Phone 8 and 7.x – Free – Store Link
Need to keep up with the pro golfers while on the go? The PGA Tour Windows Phone app delivers everything from real-time leaderboards to player statistics to videos from the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, NEC Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA Tour China and PGA Tour Canada.
The app is laid out simple with pages for each Tour that includes:
- .Leaderboard for the current tournament
- .Groupings and Tee Times
- .Tour Feed Page (videos and news)
- .Tour Standings (FedEx Cup, Charles Swab Cup, etc.)
- .Player Profiles
- .Tour Schedule
Keep in mind that some of the tours will send you to the online browser pages where you will have access to similar features. Just in browser format.
Navigation between the different tours is done by tapping the drop down menu located in the upper right corner of the screen. This menu will also give you access to the PGA online store, Fantasy pages and the app's settings. Settings cover push notifications for the various tours and key players.
If you need to keep track with the PGA and its various Tours, the PGA Tour App is a nice option to consider. PGA Tour is available for low-memory devices.
- PGA Tour - Windows Phone 8 - Free - Store Link
Need a feature rich Windows Phone app to help keep track of your golf rounds, analyze your performance and help you around the golf course? SHOTLY is a rich option to consider.
Self described as the Rolls Royce of golf apps, SHOTLY features:
- .A GPS enabled rangefinder to help you gauge your distances while on the course
- .Keep yours and your golfing partners scores while on the course
- .Search for nearby courses, get directions and hole information
- .Map out the course with satellite views
- .Track your USGA approved handicap.
There is also a social aspect to SHOTLY where you can find other SHOTLY golfers nearby, check-in when you reach your golf course and create a social network.
If you are sporting a Nokia Lumia, you will have access to SHOTLY+ through the Nokia Collection, which adds a few bonus features to the mix. Features such as:
- .GolfScope: An augmented reality visualization of other golfers on the course
- .Lumia Themes: Cyan, magenta, Nokia Blue, white and black themes are added to SHOTLY's settings to have the app match the color of your Lumia Windows Phone.
- .Tournament Scoring
- .Live Scoring: Share your round in real-time with your friends.
The only downside to SHOTLY is that the layout is a little on the cluttered side and may take a little time to get used to things. It's nothing that will create the urge to tee up your Windows Phone and drive it 300 yards down the fairway but takes a little use to get familiar with things.
SHOTLY is available for 512MB devices.
- SHOTLY - Windows Phone 8 - Free - Store Link
Let's Golf 2
Let's Golf 2 is an oldie but a goodie available in the Windows Phone Store that has you tackling global golf courses that range from the Mount Olympus Golf Club in Greece to the Royal Safari Club in Kenya. The courses are a mixture of traditional styled courses and courses that push the envelope with some imaginative holes.
The game has been around since the days of Windows Phone 7 and while it hasn't been updated in over a year, Lets Golf 2 is a solid golf game.
You can choose one of eight characters to play in one of four gaming modes, all single player in style. You have instant play where you can quickly jump into game play, a career mode, a challenge mode and free hole games (much like a practice rounds). Some rounds are played in stroke fashion, some are match play and others are closest to the pin.
Characters can be customized with gear that becomes available through game play that increases their golfing skills.
Game play allows for club selection, shot alignment and the traditional three-tap swing mechanics. Tap the swing meter once to start your back swing, a second time to being your down swing and a third to strike the ball. While in flight, you can swipe up or down on the screen to create back spin or front spin.
Let's Golf 2 has nice graphics, challenging game play ad while the game may be showing its age it is still a solid golf game for Windows Phone. As far as availability is concerned, Lets Golf 2 is a bit of a mystery. There appears to be multiple versions of Lets Golf 2 available based on your Windows Phone manufacturer. Pricing is also a mixed bag with some versions being free and others running $4.99.
Our suggestion is to search for Lets Golf 2 from your Windows Phone for the best results. However, we have two links below that might help you find the right version of the game.
- Let's Golf 2 - Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices - Store Link (Select Lumia Devices)
- Let's Golf 2 - Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices - Store Link (Samsung Devices)
If you need a simple rangefinder app to help you judge the distance between you and the hole, it doesn't get much simpler than FreeCaddie. FreeCaddie's database of golf course is over 30,000 strong and displays your distance the green hole by hole.
The layout has pages that note your distance, let you choose your golf course, a GPS information page, a Help page and a settings page that allows you to switch between yards and meters. You also have the ability to enter a location that will override your GPS location when retrieving a course list.
Distances are displayed to indicate the distance to the front, center and back of the green for each hole on the course (keep in mind the screenshot was taken from the living room and not the tee box). A question mark will appear besides the yardage to indicate that the GPS is either reporting a position that is either not up to date or is not accurate enough to be used.
I would have like to have seen a scoring feature with FreeCaddie but as is, I can see it being a handy Windows Phone app around the golf course. If you need scoring and course maps, FreeCaddie Pro ($2.99) is also available in the Windows Phone Store.
Both FreeCaddie and FreeCaddie Pro are available for 512MB devices.
- FreeCaddie - Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices - Free - Store Link
- FreeCaddie Pro - Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices - $2.99 - Store Link
Best of the Bunch?
Each of the apps in this week's round do an admirable job of things. PGA Tour is a clean looking, informative app that delivers all the news, tournament standings and highlights from the PGA.
I'm a little partial to SHOTLY but FreeCaddie is not slouch. If all you need is a range finder to help you gauge your distance, FreeCaddie is a strong option. If you want more such as scoring, social networking, etc. then SHOTLY will be your choice.
Of the two games, I like Let's Golf 2 a little better than Pocket Golf. Graphics and game play are nicely drawn-up with Let's Golf 2 and I like the 3D approach than the two-dimensional view Pocket Golf offers. Let's Golf 2 is an older Windows Phone title but still has staying power. While Hot Shots Golf isn't available for Windows Phone, Lets Golf 2 may be the next best thing.
So what do you think? Any golfers in the crowd that use their Windows Phone to keep score or determine your distance to the green? And what about the video duffers, which Windows Phone golfing games make it to the top of your leaderboard?