Apps, schmapps. Before you drop 99 cents (or more!) on a golf-improvement application, consider how the preloaded functions on your iPhone 6 can make you a better, happier, smarter golfer.
1. CAPTURE YOUR SWING IN HORRIFYING SLOW-MO
Enlightening: viewing your swing on video. Mind-blowing: viewing your swing on video slowed down to 240 frames per second (an option available through the iPhone 6’s “slow-mo” function.) Observing your swing at that speed can be humbling, excruciating even, but you won’t need to hire David Leadbetter to deduce where it’s all going wrong.
2. FACETIME WITH YOUR SWING WHISPERER
Speaking of teachers, how about a quick (and free!) teleconference with your swing coach to get everything in sync before your big match? If he or she isn’t available, you can always try…
3. ASK SIRI FOR SWING TIPS
She helps you book hotel rooms and track your caloric intake. She updates you on the weather and maps your commute. Given her omniscience and can-do attitude, shouldn’t she be able to straighten out your swing? In theory, yes. Here’s an actual conversation with the affable voice of the iPhone.
Student: So, what’s my problem?
Siri: Now, look here. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone-it, people like you.
Student: I meant my swing. Do you like my swing?
Siri: This is about you, not me.
Student: Let me rephrase that. I feel like I’m coming over the top. Am I?
Siri: I can’t say.
Student: Why not?
Siri: I don’t know. Frankly, I’ve wondered that myself.
Student: Seriously, though, I keep losing it right. How do I get rid of my slice?
Siri: Here’s what I found on the web for ‘how do I get rid of my slice?’
Student: But these are just links to generic instructional websites.
Siri: Who, me?
Student: Maybe I’m pronating prior to supination?
Siri: I’m not sure I understand.
Student: Don’t lie to me. My backswing’s too flat, isn’t it?
Siri: I really can’t say.
Student: Do you know anything about golf?
Siri: Golf? I wish I knew more.
Student: Me too. Have you ever even played the sport?
Siri: No. It’s difficult to play sports when you lack corporeal form.
Student: Tell me about it.
Student: Get me Butch Harmon, please.
Siri: I don’t see Butch in your contacts.
Student: You’re not much help.
Siri: I’m doing my best.
And, really, that’s all we can ask, isn’t it?
4. PERFECT YOUR PUTTING STROKE WITH YOUR INCLINOMETER
Inclino-what? You probably didn’t know your iPhone has this function (tap on the Compass icon, then swipe to the left), but it’s a jack-of-all-trades. Place your phone on your putterhead to ensure your stroke is ascending at impact -- about 5 degrees is ideal. Or lay your phone on the ground to measure the pitch of a green (not in competition – that’s illegal). The inclinometer can even tell you if your equipment is compliant by computing the angle of your clubs’ shafts relative to the ground when the clubs are in the address position. (That angle cannot exceed 80 degrees, which is probably something else you didn’t know.)
5. BROADCAST YOUR BIGGEST SWINGS ON YOUR HOME TV -- LIVE!
Live from the 17th tee at TPC Sawgrass, it’s … you! If you own an Apple TV, you can use AirPlay Mirroring to remotely share iPhone videos on your home TV -- in real time! Think how proud your kids will be to flip on the tube and see dad top one into the drink.
6. SNAP A SWING SEQUENCE
The iPhone 6 camera’s little-known “Burst” mode continuously snaps 10 photos per second. Simply hold down the shutter button and it’ll fire away. Stitch all the images together and you can admire (or abhor) your very own swing sequence.
7. SCOPE OUT HAZARDS
Forgot to grab a yardage book? Or perhaps the course doesn’t offer one? No worries. Pull up your location on the Maps function, flip it to satellite mode, and, voila, you have a bird’s-eye view of every inch of the terrain.
8. STORE YOUR EMERGENCY CHECK LIST
Head down. Butt out. Arms loose. Back straight. Paralyzing swing thoughts become useful reference points when you save them in a Notes file. Warning: Check them only in desperation, and focus only on one at time.
9. “GROOVE” YOUR SWING
Rory McIlroy jams to music on the range. So do Michelle Wie and Rickie Fowler. “When I’m listening to something I really like, it gets me quickly into the zone,” says McIlroy, who counts Calvin Harris and Route 94 among his favorite artists. Simple formula: groovy music = grooved swing. Bring your earbuds to your next range session and try it for yourself.
10. GLEAN ADVICE FROM THE GREATS
Jack Nicklaus’s Golf My Way. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons. If neither of those volumes kindles your interest, iBooks offers plenty of other instructional tomes to help you pass muster -- or time. Three-group backup? War and Peace it is!
11. CHECK THE WEATHER (O.K, SO YOU KNEW THAT ONE)
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet should ever catch you off guard. Especially on the first tee. With up-to-the-second weather data and five-day outlooks, your iPhone is a pocket-sized Al Roker.
12. TRACK YOUR STEPS
Everyone knows walking 18 holes is great exercise. But now you can monitor exactly how great. The iPhone’s built-in pedometer measures your walking and running distance, plus flights climbed. Valuable data ("Look, honey -- 4.7 miles!") for the next time your spouse nags you about playing too much golf.
13. COUNT YOUR WINNINGS
You wouldn’t trust your accountant to compute your taxes on a cocktail napkin. So why trust your beer-guzzling buddy to calculate skins and double presses on the back of a scorecard?