SBD/August 12, 2014/Media

App Review: PGA Tour For iPhone A Must For Golf Fans, Just Not During A Major

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As a rain delay sent the final round of the PGA Championship late into Sunday evening, and Rory McIlroy secured his fourth major championship in the dark, I poked around in the 10-month-old PGA Tour mobile application. With scores, schedules, video, news and more, the app successfully brings PGA Tour information to mobile. It falters, however, in its inability to offer live scoring. According to the PGA Tour, the delay is due to a feed restriction by the PGA of America. Can't we all just work together for the benefit of the fan? PGA Tour for iPhone is an ad-supported free download developed by Omnigon and Double Encore. This review was conducted on an iPhone 5 7.1.2, with AT&T LTE service.

ON PAR: The app delivers content in a sleek interface with a leaderboard in the prime position. Tapping on a golfer provides an individualized scoring summary, scorecard, a full golfer profile and a quick summary of the golfer’s most recent stroke. The scorecard section is a highlight, offering a hole-by-hole shot trail that includes detailed play-by-play of each shot. The app also provides groupings by round, tee times and the status of each group. A graphical rendering of the course -- in this case Kentucky's Valhalla Golf Club -- shows each hole, its par, length and difficulty, and statistics like a par performance summary, scoring average, longest drive and closest to pin. There is a large, searchable library of video that is updated regularly with highlights, interviews and other relevant features. Golfers can be favorited for a more personalized experience, and the app provides access to their Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts. A feature called #FANPERKS gives users the ability to purchase event upgrades, tournament memorabilia like caddie bibs and other behind-the-scenes experiences.

BOGEYS
: The app's 15-second pre-roll ads run quite a bit; on nearly every other video. While this is admittedly a lighter ad hit than similar apps, it is still too heavy. Elsewhere, the #FANPERKS section is hidden in the dropdown menu and deserves more exposure. For avid fans and tournament attendees, the social feature is a compelling reason to download the app, and should be more prominently displayed. Another gripe is that photo galleries did not function properly at times. But the biggest disappointment of the PGA Tour app was the slow-to-update leaderboard. The dramatic end to the tournament was unfortunately not felt in the app, with final scores updating 15 minutes after the final putt. This is hard to swallow for score-seeking users, and almost renders the app useless. The PGA Tour said that due to the PGA Championship being run by the PGA of America, all feeds outside of PGA of America apps were delayed by 15 minutes. This week, as in all weeks except the majors, real-time feeds updating every 30 seconds will resume in the app.

BOTTOM LINE: PGA Tour for iPhone is very well designed, and functionality is smooth. For accessing tour information like video, news and course maps, the app is excellent. Users can follow the live action using the app's ShotLink technology and watch highlights soon after they occur, but without real-time scoring updates during key live events, users are more than likely to jump to another source. This is unfortunate because the overall experience is very well done. The app gets two stars from users in iTunes, with reviewers citing the slow-to-update leaderboard. But correct the scoring issue, and this is a four-star product.

Amie Sheridan (amie.sheridan31@gmail.com) is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.

See Sheridan's previous App Review submissions for THE DAILY:
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