The Local Knowlege

Courses & Travel

For the Opinionated Golfer

Colleague Pete Finch helps manage, produce, organize and edit a lot of projects at Golf Digest. And in addition to writing a monthly money column, some travel stories and cleaning up most of my copy, Finch also works on the 100 Greatest lists, and most recently he helped developed the Course Critic app. 

The what? Finch explains:

Got a smart phone? Golf Digest has a new mobile app you might like. Course Critic, as it’s known, is available for free for your iPhone or Android phone.
Course Critic isn’t exactly a “course finder” -- we’ll be rolling out one of these soon -- but it will give you phone numbers and directions to any course in our rankings of America’s 100 Greatest Courses, 100 Greatest Public and Best in State. 
This app is meant for people who are highly opinionated about golf courses (sound familiar?). With Course Critic, you can look up your favorite courses and rate them using the same seven-criteria grading system as the Golf Digest panelists, the low-handicap golf-architecture buffs behind our rankings. (For more on how this works, click here.) If you can’t be bothered with all those different criteria, Course Critic users can just fill out a simple “comment” form and tell Golf Digest what you think of the course. When you click “submit,” your rating or comment will come to Golf Digest by email. We’ll gather them up to help shape our Places to Play course guide on the web site. 

The app also lets you create lists: courses you have played, courses you WANT to play, your favorite courses, and courses you have rated (along with the scores you gave them). You can share these lists with your friends via email or on Facebook.
Already a few users have used Course Critic to send us notes saying their favorite course isn’t in our data base. While I’m hoping that’s a rare occurrence, it’s definitely in the spirit of this app: Send us a comment and your voice will be heard! 
While we’re on the subject of apps: I’ve also been enjoying the free iPhone app GolfShot Lite, from the company Shotzoom Software. Not only does it make it easy to keep score for everyone in my group, it tracks a boatload of numbers on each round. I’m not a big stat guy but this is cool. I can see I’m hitting 89 percent of fairways, for example, but reaching only 56 percent of greens in regulation. And my putting is pretty awful. (I didn’t actually need an app to tell me that.) 
GolfShot has a $30 upgrade that will turn your phone into a GPS rangefinder. I played with a buddy the other day who had this and it was reasonably accurate - though it was murder on his phone battery. He might need to spend another $80 and get a charger like this one.
--Peter Finch 

(You can follow Finch on Twitter @Pete_Finch. You can follow me @Matt_Ginella.)