Where to Golf

Most people in the U.S. consider Memorial Day weekend to be the “official” start of summer, and since that holiday passed a week ago I guess it’s time to talk about golf! It usually takes me 3 or 4 swings to get the damn ball off the tee, but any sport you can play while drinking is ok in my book.

Where to Golf does exactly what its name implies – it tells you where to golf. It’s a comprehensive listing of just about every golf course in the U.S. and Canada with all the details you could possibly want from each… par, yardage, rating, slope, green fees, cart rental fees, grass type, the golf pro’s name, the course designer’s name, the drink cart girl’s phone number, you name it.

Ok, I lied about the drink girl’s phone number (sorry!) but the abundance of info that Carpe Diem Ventures has built into Where to Golf is impressive. It’s broken down into these groups:

  • Course Access (ie: public/private, guests allowed, etc.)
  • Training Facilities (driving range, putting green, teaching)
  • Amenities (restaurant type, bar type, drink cart availability, pro shop)
  • Rentals (cart access, fees, rental clubs, caddies)
  • Design (year built, designer)
  • Layout (grass type, water hazards yes/no, bunkers, yardage markers, GPS)

A nice addition built into the app is the ability to edit these fields in case things change or if the app just happened to get something wrong. After a little research using a couple of local courses I found that the green and cart fees are usually pretty close… but there are also times when the app’s information is pretty far off.

For example, Where to Golf lists the green fee for Columbus Park Golf Course in Chicago as $31 for the weekend, but the actual answer is $15.75 for 9 holes because it’s just a 9-hole course. At another course, Cantigny Golf & Tennis Club in Wheaton, IL, the app lists the weekend price as $15 which is only in the ballpark if you’re referring to the cart rental. The actual price of 9 holes is $30, and if you want to go the full 18 it shoots up to a hefty $90. Yikes! That must be a helluva a back nine. The good news is that there’s a¬†web icon (looks like a globe with orange arrows around it) that takes you directly to the course’s website so you can double-check things if you want to make sure.

There were also a few courses I figured would be listed but were nowhere to be found. White Eagle Country Club in Naperville, IL was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is pretty well-known in the Chicago area, as is Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora, IL. Both have been around for the better part of 20 years but neither are listed. The biggest surprise omission, however, is Augusta National! I know, I know… I couldn’t afford to tip their caddies much less fork over the membership dues they get from people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, but I would have liked to have seen the course’s stats.

Other functions built into the app are a Call Course button that automatically dials their phone number, a Map button for finding the place, and you can also post reviews of each course like I did on Pebble Beach under the guise of Jack Nicklaus.

According to the iTunes App Store description, Where to Golf lists 19,000 golf courses in the U.S. and over 2,500 in Canada, so chances are it WILL find you a place to golf if you’re on the road or just looking for someplace new in your local area. I’d like to see it split pricing into 9-hole and 18-hole categories and some kind of in-game functionality would be cool… maybe build in a scorecard? I’m also a fan of in-app web browsers because switching to Safari (and then switching back to the app) kind of slows things down, so hopefully this upgrade will come in a future update.

The most pressing issue is, of course, the pricing accuracy. Like I said, it’s usually close enough to the mark that you won’t care about a few dollars difference, but it would suck to show up with $15 tucked in the pocket of your plaid knickers only to be told by some snooty douchebag that the links will cost you $90.

Overall I’d say Where to Golf is a good app in a lot of areas but I’d like it a lot more if the pricing were more accurate. Still, $1.99 isn’t much to ask from dedicated golf nuts who never leave home without the clubs. Casual golfers who only venture out a couple times a year, on the other hand, could probably live without it.

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