Gone are the days of being forced to go with a standalone GPS device or a rangefinder if you want to know distances while on the course. The advent of the Smart Phone has changed everything, by making GPS maps accessible to a multi-faceted device where continued adaptation and evolution of programs comes at a feverish pace. We are seeing more and more GPS apps released than I ever imagined we would, and they all are trying to walk that fine line of accuracy, features, and ease of use. One of the many options out there with such goals on the iOS side is Mobitee’s “Mobile Golf Assistant”.
FROM THE COMPANY:
Mobitee GPS golf assistant is a GPS golf application made for golf players of all levels, to make the golf game more simple and pleasurable and at the same time allow you to further increase your level of play.
This application uses the GPS feature of your Iphone to enable you to know your location on the course.
Developed by golfers, Mobitee strives to be the most simple et efficient GPS golf application.
- Complete golf guide for each of 25,000+ courses
(Nearby golf courses, addresses, reservations, rates, route guidance…)
- Precise GPS tool with moveable target to calculate distances on the course
(Distances for back, middle, and front of green; obstacles, doglegs, distance traveled…
- Satellite, aerial view of each hole
- Flyover videos
(Compatible with iPhone 3GS and 4G)
- Shot tracking
- Virtual coach
(Club advice for each hole)
- Interactive, automatic scorecard for up to 4 players
(Net scores, Stableford, index simulation)
- Scorecards can be shared via email
- Updates are free
- Simple, truly spectacular interface
I have been fortunate enough to be able to review several of the different iOS GPS apps and I always find it interesting to see just which way a company decides to go with their product. Some apps are designed to have every bell and whistle possible and others with a goal of being simple and streamlined. In the case of Mobitee with their “Mobile Golf Assistant” there is a definite feeling of an in-between, with a focus on simplicity while still being more than just a basic GPS golf app.
FEATURES AND EASE OF USE
Mobitee’s GPS golf assistant is an iOS app and is a one-time purchase ($24.99) that never charges for renewals, updates, or course downloads. Though it isn’t a new concept by any stretch, it is certainly one that is nice to see. Mobitee also boasts an impressive 35,000 courses available and I had no issues finding any of those that are around me. It even had the very small/rural 9-hole courses. Additionally, courses are being added all the time and users have the ability to request mapping as well. A particularly cool feature is that after selecting the course you want to play you get a screen with a ton of information ranging from contact information, price ranges, and even weather forecasts ranging from one to five days.
The setup of the Mobitee app is very streamlined. You simply create a user profile for yourself, including things like your bag setup and average distances. In fact, you can create multiple profiles to record the round for up to four golfers in either stroke play or stableford. One neat additional feature is the ability to select a user profile picture. Though not a big technical aspect it is a fun little added thing.
One of the going trends in GPS apps right now is the ability to utilize club selection advice depending on distances to the green at any given time on the course. Mobitee actually has their own take on this which they call their “Virtual Coach”. Essentially, when you set your user profile you can setup not only the clubs in your bag, but also your average distance for each, and the app will recommend a specific club based on distance to the green. Now, obviously this won’t be for everyone, as some golfers will want to utilize specific shots that may not be a full club like recommended. Thankfully, although it cannot be turned off, it is subdued enough to be kept out of mind if that is your preference. Overall though, it’s a very simple and clean take on this type of feature. Though an ability to toggle it off could be nice, it isn’t thrown in your face and is well done.
Mobitee also features a shot tracking capability so the user can get a better idea of just how far they are hitting that tee shot or long approach. I really liked how simple this was in the Mobitee app, as all it requires is tapping the little red icon in the bottom left corner of the screen, hitting your shot, and then walking/riding to the ball and tapping the icon again to specify club selection and save the shot. Although there may not be all of the bells and whistles that some other apps have, sometimes all you want it is a simple distance and this does that very well.
As it pertains to scoring, Mobitee has actually brought a very interesting take that is both simple and quick. This is clearly handy when on the course as you would rather be focusing on your next hole rather than entering your scores. At the conclusion of a hole you simply tap on the “score” icon in the very bottom right corner of the screen and the shot entry screen comes up. Here there are two methods to enter score, “easy” and “expert”. The “easy” method is a simple scroll wheel where you select the score on one side from 1 all the way to 19 (there is even a picked ball choice, handy for those “in the pocket” moments) and the number of putts on the other side.
The “expert” method is much more impressive/unique as you actually enter each stroke by tapping a selection from nine different choices (penalty, putt, bunker, rough left, rough right, fairway, mulligan, tee, or air shot) and it keeps a running tally. I honestly really like the expert method (the air shot could be useful for some of my buddies) but I do wish that there were either more shot options to choose from or that you could at least add some custom options within the app. To me, just a few more options would make this one of the best score tracking methods out there.
Obviously, no matter how complex, simple, or varied the additional features are, the primary focus of a GPS golf app is the actual GPS display and accuracy. The Mobitee app makes use of overhead satellite images of the courses and combines with the GPS feature of the iOS device to provide the numbers that it displays for the golfer. Not only that, but those very satellite images are what you see on your screen so you are getting actual images of each hole and not just an animated design. Not only can you see the actual layout, you also have the ability to zoom in an out by pinching the screen, which is handy to get specific angles on courses you may not be very familiar with.
One of my favorite features in the app is actually the ability to watch a “flyover” of each hole. Though it is a little thing, it is something that could indeed be very handy when playing a new course where you aren’t quite sure how the layout of the hole is supposed to flow. Yes, you can likely decipher this information just from the basic image itself, but there is something reassuring about watching the flyover actually bending from the tee, around a dogleg, and into the green. It may be simple, but it is still a very well executed idea.
The Mobitee app also features what they are calling their “rangefinder” view. Essentially, the app uses the GPS, compass, and camera features of your iOS device to allow you to view the course/pin real-time through the camera like a rangefinder and it illustrates the distances on the screen. To me this one really kind of fell a bit short, not because it didn’t show you the distances you had left, but because I found it to simply give the same numbers you get from the basic view, which doesn’t require you to try and aim the camera at the pin. It is great in thought, but it really seems like just another step that is not needed to see your distances. I have no doubt some would enjoy the feature, but it is nice that it’s up to the user if they want to use it at all or not.
Using the Mobitee app head to head with my standalone golf GPS I came to see the same accuracy that I expect out of mobile based apps. For me on multiple courses the app was consistently within 2 yards of my standalone which is quite acceptable in my opinion. Combined with getting solid full distance numbers on the screen all it takes is a simple swipe of the finger to get your numbers to a layup area, hazard, or whatever you may want to see. It’s a feature that may be the easiest to use out there compared to any other GPS based golf app.
Something that is often a concern in using an app like Mobitee is how the app actually handles moving hole to hole. The nice thing about the Mobitee’s method here is that there are multiple methods so something will fit everyone. The first way to advance holes is simply by entering your score for the hole. After pressing OK it will advance to the next hole on its own. If for some reason you want to advance it without scoring, or find yourself wanting to go back a hole, you can also simply use the arrows at the bottom of the display or tap on the hole number. By tapping on the hole number you bring up a pop-up screen that will let you select any of the 18 holes on the course. The coolest thing about this is that to the left of each hole you see the par for it and to the right you see where it sits on the course handicap. This is undoubtedly a simple thing, but it’s something worth pointing out because it is evident a lot of thought went into making it incredibly easy for all users.
As I mentioned before there are a lot of options out there for GPS based golf apps on mobile devices. The best thing about having so many options is that there is something for everyone. The Mobitee “Mobile Golf Assistant” is one of the options that are clearly focused on providing a concise and easy to use app for golfers who want to make use of their mobile devices. In fact, it is a very solid offering for iOS users who just want something that brings nice features without the massive learning curve of some others. Mobitee is priced at 24.99 on the App Store and comes with no additional fees at any time. For more information be sure to check out their website at www.mobitee.com.