I don’t have the time to play golf like I used to, but I still look occasionally at the apps in the Google Play store and see if I come across any golf related gems. Recently, I was given the opportunity to review Golf GameBook and while not flawless, I ended up being quite impressed with the application.
The Golf GameBook application really focuses on one primary feature. The recording of your golf round. This may seems simplistic, but the sheer number of game types that can be used is quite impressive. You start the process by selecting the course and players. If you are unable to find the course you are playing, you can easily create the course and input the information such as par, handicap, and course rating. Additional players can be created and added to your round as well as groups. The group feature is great for those who are going to be part of a tournament. Once the course is chosen and players selected, you are ready to define what game format you want to use.
The application includes standard games like Stroke, Stableford, Best Ball, and Scramble among the 15+ various game formats. However, to add their own twist to the golf game, GameBook introduces two of their own formats, Duplicate® and Erado®. Duplicate® allows you to pick a random multiplier of 1, 2, or 3 and that number is multiplied to the Stableford points earned on that hole. The final hole will always be valued at double the points. Additionally, this mode can be used in Scramble format as well with the application tracking the score. Erado® is a fun format that allows you to erase from your score a number of holes (up to 4) from your round. You must decide if you want to erase prior to playing the next hole. Also, the score you receive on the last hole cannot be erased.
The application has some additional great features added such as the ability to add side games, contests(closest to the pin, longest drive) as well as friendly wagers based on criteria determined at the start of the round. The Primary and Side games can be the same format, or you can mix and match between individual and team game formats. The comment section that is available is a great way to update your friends on the progress of your game. According to the developers, you also have the ability to use the built-in camera app and share images from the course. However, I have not had any success finding this function.
The previously mentioned comment section within the application is a fun feature that easily allows you to communicate with others while on the course. Each round created generates a Join code that your friends will enter into the application or on the web site to receive updates during your round. If you have push notifications enabled on your phone, you will receive updates as your friends progress through their round and update them on yours. Comments sent via the app will also appear on the golfgamebook.com site so those unfortunate enough to be stuck in the office can jealously view your progress. I’m sure this feature will generate some interesting conversations between those in the office working hard and those working on their game. Make sure you don’t broadcast your game Join code if you’ve added your boss as one of your friends. You’d hate to see your round cut short by your boss calling you asking you why you called in to the office “sick” earlier in the day.
Golf GameBook’s interface is sleek and utilizes various shades of gray, green and white throughout maintaining a clean refined look. Navigation inside the application is fairly straightforward and a help icon is available on most screens. Despite the overall smooth interface, I did have an issue where I wanted to return to the previous screen, but my menu button would not allow me to return to the previous screen as it did on other screens. I was presented with two buttons, [Options] and [Summary] of which I was able to select the [Options] button to return to the previous screen. Logically, this doesn’t make sense, but I was able to get to where I wanted.
During your round, you will use Landscape mode to select the winner of any hole contests you may have created as well as record the score for each player on that hole. One thing I noticed that I hope gets addressed in the future is the ability to add the number of putts. Even if I am typically allowed two puts per hole, I like seeing those times when I was able to save par by only needing one putt. Turning the device into Portrait modes allows you to access various other sections such as your team’s leaderboard, the overall leaderboard and the current status of any side game or wagers you may have going during the round. These options are selected via tabs at the bottom of the screen.
One feature of the interface I found interesting was the integration of a customized keyboard. Instead of using the default keyboard on the phone, you are forced to use a pre-installed keyboard. The keyboard is very reminiscent of the standard iPhone and iPad keyboard with the light gray background, white keys, and black text. The keyboard looks great, but I’d still like the option to use my Swiftkey 3 keyboard. Hopefully a later release will allow you use your default keyboard.
The Golf Gamebook application might not be perfect, but it is well on its way. The immense number of game types available as well as the ability to track side games should please avid golfers everywhere. Our company has an annual golf tournament and I plan on presenting this application to the individuals coordinating the event. Ideally, we can get everyone in the tournament to download and install the software, thus making our next tournament more interesting knowing how my competitors are progressing through their rounds. If you are a golfer, download this now and start the trash-talking with your friends!