At £12, TeeShot is tied with Golf-Ace as the most expensive program for the iPhone. In this case, though, you really do get what you pay for, because it’s also the best of the bunch.
Course data can be entered in any of four ways: there’s a live search feature to find and download courses from the web, you can enter hole information as you play, you can use the very good built-in course editor (and then upload your finished course to the web), or you can use the free CourseBuilder on the Mac to enter data for a number of courses at once, which you then upload to the web and download to TeeShot on your phone.
CourseBuilder is really easy to use, and makes creating entries for all your local courses about as simple as possible. Because users everywhere are creating and uploading courses, the population of available courses is large and growing daily.
When you choose to download a course from the web, Safari launches and displays TeeShot’s course download page. Specify your search fields, tap Search, then click on the course in the results list that you’d like to download. Tap a couple more buttons, and you’re back in TeeShot, with the new course downloaded and ready for use. Unfortunately, you can only download one course at a time, so you’ll repeat this process when downloading multiple courses.
TeeShot is a one-player application - so much so that you can’t even enter your name or handicap. You just start a round, and then start recording your scores. TeeShot can track strokes and putts (with simple plus/minus buttons), fairways hit (and missed left or right), and penalty strokes. But if that’s not enough detail, you can shot-by-shot detail - which includes club used, yardage covered, the result (fairway, green, in the hole, etc.), and if the shot incurred a penalty or not - for every single shot on each hole on the course.
Completed rounds can be reviewed at any time, including all of the hole-by-hole detail. There isn’t, however, a traditional scorecard view showing pars, birdies, and bogies. (The summary screen for the round is close, but it’s not as easy to read as a scorecard, and doesn’t include totals.) Instead, a Round Details screen will tell you the total strokes, putts, fairways hit, penalty strokes, and greens in regulation, in addition to the duration of the round. You can see these stats as you play, too, including a timer that displays just how long the round is taking.
For the real statistics junkies, a Statistics screen displays a ton of cumulative results - rounds played, total strokes and putts, stroke averages per hole type, and the total number of birdies, pars, eagles, up through the infamous (and way too common on my cards) “triple bogey+.” There’s no per-course statistics, however, but even as it is, these statistics provide information you can use to help improve your game.
The biggest shortcoming of TeeShot is that it’s a one-player application; the ability to track scores for a foursome would be a nice addition. I’d also like to see a notes field, both for holes on the course (“Stay left off the tee here”) and for a given shot on a hole (“Pull hooked the drive; nice!”).
I tested TeeShot with an 18 hole round at a nearby municipal course, Red Tail Golf Club. Data for the course was available for download from the web, so no data entry was required. I found the program easy to use while playing - even though I walked the course and carried my clubs on my back. I kept my iPhone - protected with a full-coverage leather case - in my back pocket. If you’re going to walk and carry a phone, some sort of heavy-duty case is highly recommended. The iPhone is light enough that I didn’t even notice its presence even while swinging the club.
At first, I had some troubles with double-counting strokes, but that was due to user error (when entering shot-by-shot information, those strokes are automatically added to your total, so you don’t need to also enter them separately).
After I figured that part out, the program worked flawlessly. Battery life wasn’t a problem - at the end of the round (4.75 hours, according to TeeShot), I’d only lost maybe 1/10th of the battery indicator on my year-old iPhone. (I entered shot-by-shot information for most every hole, not just my score.) During the round, I was also checking email occasionally, and I made and received a test call, just to see if that would mess up TeeShot (it didn’t). I was impressed at how well the battery held up to regular (if brief) use over nearly five hours, especially given my phone is running on a year-old battery.
TeeShot came through my real-world test with flying colours. Compared to an old-fashioned scorecard, TeeShot was actually easier to use, and the program tracks a ton of interesting information about your round. Now, if I could just get out enough to use some of that data to improve my game!