FlyCaddie

The FlyCaddie golf GPS application tries to keep it simple for iPhone owners, though in doing so, it deprives players of the features that can make golf GPS applications so valuable. Unlike competing applications, there is no ability to drop a cursor to determine the distance from your location to any point on the hole and while strokes and putts can be tracked (albeit in an odd manner described below), no detailed statistic tracking is offered. FlyCaddie also took a beating in our course coverage analysis of iPhone golf GPS applications, finishing last by a long margin. And last but not least, the FlyCaddie charges a yearly subscription fee, as opposed to other applications that only require a one-time fee. With no improvements to its features or functionality and little to course coverage since its initial release, this application seems to be someone’s hobby rather than a serious effort. If you are looking to purchase a golf GPS application for your iPhone, we recommend that you look elsewhere – you can find much more for far less.

SCORE
70
GRADE
C-
Course Availability
37
Starting a Round
96
Ease of Use
85
Course Details
72
Features
74
Accuracy
92
Cost/Value
60

Pros:

Cons:

Availability: FlyCaddie is no longer available on the iTunes Store


37 / F

Course Availability
Critical Golf Test: FlyCaddie sits dead last relative to other iPhone applications in our test of the availability of golf courses with 37% coverage – ouch! With such poor coverage, it isn’t worth going into detail on specific coverage gaps by type of course or geographic region.

Manufacturer’s Claims: FlyCaddie claims to have 4,000 courses in its database, which puts it last among its iPhone application competitors.


92 / A-

Starting a Round
The Good: FlyCaddie loads the desired course faster than some of its competitors (although the reason is likely because it offers more limited satellite images).
The Bad: Poor search functionality for selecting courses, which is compounded by misspellings of course names in the course database. There were no satellite images for a number of courses tested, though the simple green graphic and text listing of hazard distances were still available.
Details: After selecting “Play” from the main menu, the user has the option of selecting from either a list of nearby courses, a list of recently played courses that the user has saved, or simply searching for a course by name. After selecting a course, the user can choose to see additional information on the course, view a Google map of the course, or begin play. As with other applications, we found it easiest to wait until we arrived at the course and then simply select the course from the list of nearby courses, although another reason is because we found the course search functionality to be suspect at best (if Main Street Municipal Golf Course is already mapped, you will not find it by just entering “Main Street” and choosing the state and/or city). Additionally, we ran into a number of misspellings of course names in the FlyCaddie database, and were just lucky in stumbling upon some of the courses we were looking for.


85 / B

Ease of Use
The Good: While not as polished as other applications, the FlyCaddie has an easy to use interface. Users need only swipe their finger across the screen to select from the multiple pages with hole information, and use the touchscreen buttons to navigate elsewhere (consistent across screens).
The Bad: We would certainly prefer additional satellite images and a “you are here” indicator to show where the user is on the image relative to the flagstick. And if the user either navigates away from the course being played (such as to go to the main menu to change preferences) or exits the application during the round, all information entered to that point will be erased – argh!

Details:


72 / C-

Course Detail and Mapping
The Good: FlyCaddie provides a satellite image of the green and approach area, so the user can get some context on the terrain surrounding the hole.
The Bad: There is only one satellite image provided per hole, so there is no zooming or panning available. On top of that, there is no ability to obtain the distance to a selected point on the satellite image. We found that the FlyCaddie trails its competitors in the number of marked hazards on each hole.
Details:

Suggestion Box: More satellite images, especially a hole overview, please! It would also be much more user-friendly to be able to see all distance information (i.e. hazard distances and green front/center/back) within the same view. And to keep up with the competition, FlyCaddie absolutely must add the ability to determine distances to any point selected on the hole via the touchscreen.


74 / C

Features
The Good: Ability to save your scores to FlyCaddie’s server and share them with family and friends (we presume that like everyone else, you will only share the good ones – the bad ones never happened, right?).
The Bad: Oy vey, where to start? If you want to track statistics, best to look elsewhere. Curious glitch where it will erase your score if you exit the application during play. No ability to auto-advance to the next hole.
Details:


92 / A-

Mapping Accuracy
Mapping Accuracy: Though information was sparse in comparison to other devices to targets like hazards, overall we found no problems with mapping accuracy during our rounds with FlyCaddie, generally within the standard 3-4 yard difference from marked tee boxes and sprinkler heads.


60 / D-

Cost/Value
Retail Price: At $34.99, the FlyCaddie Golf application for the iPhone was the second highest priced application in our comparison test. But note that the price is actually $34.99 PER YEAR, not just for the one-time purchase.
Fees for Access to Course Database: As mentioned, there is a recurring $34.99 annual subscription fee – all courses are included with the annual fee.
Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With a three year total cost of $104.97, FlyCaddie was the second most expensive application in our cost comparison.
Value: At $104.97 over three years, the FlyCaddie joins GolfLogix as the stratospherically priced applications in our test. We’re not sure that ANY feature set could justify such a price differential – the fact that we found the FlyCaddie to be behind its competitors in feature set and usability just makes things worse.


Tested: v1.0