Golf apps are extremely popular on iOS. From games, to course directories, to tutorials, there's plenty to choose from. So I was interested when the folks behind GolFlix Pro asked me to look at their app, which uses videos to teach the fine points of golf as demonstrated by professionals.
The reality, sadly, did not meet my expectations. The US$4.99 app contains six videos, each two or three minutes long, that let you watch the swing of a small collection of PGA pros, including Correy Pavin, Se Ri Pak and Luke Donald. You see several swings, some in slow motion, and there are some brief comments by each pro. The app seemed light on content to me, so I asked a friend who is an excellent golfer to have a look.
"Ninety percent of the problems amateur golfers run into happen before they ever start the actual swing," he said. "For instance, is the club gripped properly? Hands in the right position, gripped firmly but not too firmly; is the golfer aligned properly toward the target, feet, hips and shoulders? Is the golfer positioned properly in relation to the golf ball? Not too close, not too far, ball at the right spot in relation to golfer's feet, and the stance, bent over a little, but not too much, knees flexed properly. This app doesn't deal with any of those issues except in one clip with Paula Creamer where she says to have the proper posture, but again, there are no details on what is the proper posture."
"This might have some value for an experienced golfer who has all the basics down and is already pretty good. They could see something in one of the six swings that they would like to try. But for a beginner or someone who has never had a few lessons, I can't see much value."
There are other golf instructional apps on the web. You might want to look at Golf Channel Academy, which is free, but requires in-app purchases of $29.99 each before it gets very useful. There is also Rotary Swing Golf Instructional Videos, another free app, but with numerous in-app purchases anywhere from $9.99 to $24.99.
GolFlix Pro is a good idea, but much too light on content. The developers promise more videos will be added at no cost, but the app still lacks explanation of terms and good closeups during the videos of things like stance and grip. There is an included quiz which has little to do with the aim of the app, which is improving one's golf swing.
GoFlix is a 73 MB download, and requires iOS 5.1 or later. I noticed some graphics were being cut off under iOS 7 on an iPhone 5s, so I expect some compatibility tweaks are needed.