Content is king when looking at smartphone apps for Golf News. However, the actual news alone is not what determines best of breed in this category of golf apps as it tends to be consistent across most publishers. The opinion and analysis is what separates the winners from those who miss the cut.
Golf Digest offers its complete magazine within Newstand for iTunes on the iPad. So you can subscribe yearly for $19.99 to receive new issues each month. While the tablet edition looks well laid out and really pops on the new retina display, you can not access it on your iPhone. You can use the browser to navigate the normal Golf Digest website though.
That leaves three other big names; Golf Channel, Golfweek, and Golf Magazine. While all three are technically free, Golf Magazine offers limited content unless you pay a one-time $2.99 upgrade.
The Golf Channel app is, well perfect. The content and interface are top notch. Conveniently divided between News and Scores, users can quickly find what they are interested in. The News section is broken down to 10 sections including News, Opinions, and Reviews. A quick swipe of the finger will show each article in each section without leaving the main page. The ads that occupy the bottom of the page are hardly obtrusive for the amount of content provided.
Golfweek provides a wide variety of coverage, but has a cookie-cutter layout that has a decidedly 2010 feel and resembles a previous version of the Golf Channel app. The navigation itself works for the app. The scrollbar along the bottom allows the user to quickly switch to different news topics. The content provided does not quite match up to that of the Golf Channel app, but Golfweek is more news than analysis anyway. If you are looking for golf news you will find it quickly. The app just lacks the flair that is expected today.
The Golf Magazine Front 9 app has a similar layout to Golfweek. Offering 9 topics each week in a straight down navigation. Five of the nine articles were only available upon review, unless you paid the one-time upgrade to access the greyed out content. The app has an odd color combination of red, white, blue, yellow, and green that could leave one feeling like an epileptic watching a Wang Chung video. It is also too easy to hit the ad on the bottom of the page that quickly occupies the whole screen.
In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $2.99 for full access to the Golf Magazine app. The content offered by, and the experience of using the Golf Channel app is just second to none(and free). Golfweek has great news coverage of all levels of golf, and is easy to use. The user experience just falls a little short.
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