While apps for football or hockey players and fans already do not look surprising to people who have at least a basic understanding of the current situation in the software development market, applications for golf lovers may seem to be quite unusual. However, with the general digitalization of the sports industry, the demand for golf app development is gradually growing.
In this article, we will talk about the peculiarities of this type of software product and share some practical tips that will be quite helpful if you create a golf app.
Golf app market overview
Today golf app development and use are on the rise. Let’s have a look at some figures that prove this thesis. One of the surveys conducted by the US National Golf Foundation (NGF) in 2021 demonstrated that 78% of core golfers have at least one golf application on their smartphones. Just compare: in 2018, 56% of players regularly used such apps, while in 2011, this figure was at the level of only 37%.
The most popular purpose of using golf-specific apps among core golfers, who have at least 8-or-more rounds per year, is posting scores. According to the research, 58% of golf players say that they use apps for this goal.
34% of golfers who took part in the survey noted that they use applications to book tee times at a chosen club or course.
All these parameters sound rather weighty if you know that according to the data provided by the NGF, in 2021 there were more than 25 million people who played on a golf course in the US.
With the figures that can be observed already today and with their growth tendency, it can be sensible to suppose that in the future even more golfers will be interested in using mobile apps for improving the quality of golf playing experience.
Types of golf apps
If you are thinking about developing a golf app for iOS or Android, it will be a good idea to start by defining an app type that you want to build. There are seven key types of golf-specific apps that boast high popularity among users.
- Fantasy golf apps. Mobile applications of this type allow users to enjoy golf vibes without the necessity to leave their couches. Actually, using such apps, people can have a golf match while still being in the bed in their pajamas or sitting in a taxi on their way to the airport. With such applications, users can create their own teams online and find new friends who share the same interests. Moreover, even those who have never had any previous golf experience can have virtual courses online.
- Golf handicap apps. These applications can be also known as scoring apps. They help users calculate their own handicap scores and detect their playing abilities. With such apps, users have a very simple way to submit their scores just after the match. Moreover, these solutions are usually enriched with advanced statistics features which means that users can track their progress over different time periods.
- Golf course locator apps. These applications help users to find golf courses located in the defined area. Users are usually allowed to use different filters for finding courses with the desired properties, appropriate fees, and working hours. Applications that belong to this group can be also used for tracking a player’s location on a golf course as well as for measuring distance.
- Virtual gaming apps. These are games for playing golf on a smartphone. Modern games allow users to enjoy excellent graphics and a high level of involvement.
- Event planner and management applications. With such an app, players, fans, and organizers can efficiently plan and manage events. Such apps are intended for adding events to the calendar and managing tasks. Moreover, you can set notifications and forget about your fears that you can miss something.
- Tracking analytics apps. Such applications can greatly facilitate the way people track important golf gaming parameters, including ball line, pitch, putt, etc. Moreover, such apps can be connected to IoT devices that can be worn by players.
- Golf club apps. These apps usually provide a list of golf clubs in the selected zone and provide all the necessary info such as characteristics of the available golf courses. Users can make bookings for matches and training, choose the timing, etc.
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How to develop a golf app: Top 5 features
Of course, it will be rather challenging (and practically impossible) to enumerate all the features that you can add to your golf app. But we offer you to have a look at at least the most popular ones and maybe they will inspire you for creating your own unique fantasy golf app or an application of another type.
- Player statistics and analytics. This feature allows users to add data in real-time and gets advanced analytics practically immediately. With this data, users can track their progress over a set period of time and develop better gaming strategies.
- Handicap calculation. Handicap in golf is a numerical measure of a player’s potential that is calculated based on an arithmetic formula (in different countries, there can be different approaches). With this feature, users will have access to their results without the necessity to calculate them manually.
- Rankings. As gamification and competition spirit have always been among the greatest motivators for players, you can build such functionality that will allow users to add their results and see their position among other players.
- List of golf courses/clubs. Thanks to this feature, users will be able to find courses based on their location and on other parameters (such as taken charges or opening hours). You can also make it possible to book courses via an app.
- Scheduling. Your app can also provide users with the possibility to create their own calendar of tournaments and games and to receive notifications in advance about upcoming events and their locations.
Tech stack for building golf apps
Though the exact tech stack that will be required for golf app development will be defined by the programmers who will work on your project, we can provide you with the list of the most widely used technologies and tools for building such software products.
- Programming languages: Kotlin, Node.js, Swift, Objective C
- Databases: MongoDB, MySQL
- Cloud platform: Microsoft Azure, AWS
- Push notifications: Twilio
- Payments: Stripe, PayPal
How much does it cost to develop a golf app?
When you are planning to build a golf app, it’s quite clear that cost is one of the most important points that you will be interested in. However, you will learn the exact amount only after a development team analyzes your requirements and project specificity.
As a rule, the golf app development price starts from $10K-$15K. But such factors as app features, number of the third-party API integrations, and the size of a development team may have a great influence on the final sum.
Challenges in golf app development
As well as any other projects, golf app development can cause some issues and challenges that developers should be well-prepared for.
- Security. It’s very crucial to seriously protect your golf app from external attacks as, first of all, many of them include some in-app purchases and deal with financial transactions which makes them a very attractive target for hackers. And secondly, as some apps are powered by IoT devices they can become easy prey which also results in the necessity of ensuring an additional level of protection.
- Scalability. This challenge is relevant especially in those cases when your app needs to work with analytics and, consequently, process a continuously growing volume of data. That’s why already at the stage of development, programmers should take care of the app's scalability.
At Cogniteq, we have solid expertise in building golf apps and have a number of successful projects in our portfolio.
One of the apps built by our team is LPGA Now which is the official mobile app of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Our task was to create a new design, update the user interface, and enrich the app with new features.
Our developers built the functionality for getting instant access to real-time game scoring, videos, pics, news, players' statistics, and rankings. The app is also synchronized with the official LPGA Twitter account and users can view tweets from the Association directly in the application.
Another example of a golf app in our portfolio is the official USGA mobile application with golf rules. The app includes Player's Edition of the Rules of Golf, the Full Rules of Golf, and the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf. Today the application is very popular among numerous golf clubs, schools, and courses worldwide.
If you have an idea for a golf-specific app but still haven’t found developers who know how to develop a golf app and who will cope with your task, you should know that at Cogniteq we will be always happy to help you. Our experts have not only strong practical skills but also an excellent understanding of the modern market and industry requirements. So, do not hesitate to contact us! We will help you to find the best solution.