6 of the Best Golf Weather Apps

If you’re caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.

—Lee Trevino, six time major winner and Supermex*

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Golfing is great, but only in decent weather…

Seems to be the mantra I live by these days, however that has not always been the case. I remember one time standing on the 4th hole (Klondyke) at Lahinch Golf Course in County Clare Ireland, literally unable to feel the tips of my fingers and four of the toes on my right foot it was so cold and what lay ahead was one of the most difficult (and quirky) par fives I have ever had the good fortune to play (you can read a great write up about the course here ). I made a five by the way, although god knows how.

Other than play golf in the Nordics in February I couldn’t think of a more challenging set of circumstances in which to play golf (that said if you do get a chance to play this course, you will be blown away…just shoot for some time in June/July. I wrote about it here for anyone that is interested).

If you are going out in dodgy weather there are some things to consider.

COLD: In cold temperatures the ball, is the most important thing to protect. Callaway engineers tested aerodynamics with a robot and found that drives carried seven yards shorter at 50 degrees versus 90 degrees. (When you combine aerodynamics and a ball’s resilience as the temperature falls, expect four yards of carry loss for every 10-degree drop.) “The molecules become more tightly packed in cold temperatures, which results in a harder compression,” says Dave Bartels, Callaway’s senior director of golf-ball research and development. Be careful though contravention of rule Rule 14-3. will see you disqualified quicker than you can say   – Thank you to Golf Digest for that research.

RAIN: I really struggle holding onto the club when it’s pouring, it’s a vicious circle. The more pressure you apply to the grip, the more tension in your swing, the more you rush to get it over with and so into the downward spiral of wet weather golfing death. The tip from the master of wet weather golf – Tom Watson was a revelation for me, if only I could remember to bring a hankie with me every time I ventured out.  – “Wrap a handkerchief around the grip for more feel and control in wet weather”.

WIND: Everyone tries to swing faster in the wind to compensate for the resistance. It’s subliminal. However it is also counter intuitive, as Butch harmon Tiger’s old mentor says.”Wind in your face will exaggerate any curve. If you play a draw or fade, give the ball more room to turn. But don’t forget my big key: Take more club, and go easier. When it blows, you’ll fleece your buddies”.

SUN: I am always shocked at how little people drink in hot humid weather, and when they do it’s beer!. Drink, drink, drink! Water should be your primary go-to for quenching your thirst. Cool water is preferable over cold water and drink before, during, and after your round. Also try one of these from Wiser Sun Visor, new onto the market. They really work!

COURSE: (effected by one or all of the above) Two or three days after a golfer walks on frozen grass, it dies. There’s nothing you can do once the wound’s been inflicted.” You’d think this means 32 Fahrenheit is the magic number for course safety, but vagaries in dewpoint and ground temperature make it trickier, says Keith Ihms, president of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. So why do some courses, particularly those in the Northeast, allow play all winter? Answer: Because the grass isn’t growing. “If the grass is dormant and the turf is basically frozen, golfers can have at it,” Ihms says.

Being prepared is key. An Inaccurate Temperature Forecast Can Ruin Your Outing.

If you don’t check the weather or find an inaccurate temperature forecast before heading out the door, you could wind up ill-prepared for what the day has in store. Winds could pick up, the sun could come out, or a thunderstorm could roll in. Each of these circumstances would ruin your day and cause you to miss out on your beloved time on the green.

Having a decent weather app is probably one of the smartest moves you can make. There are a few on the market that have varying degrees of accuracy – a pretty key point if you are going to keep dry/warm/etc.

I found one of the best to be WeatherBug.

This baby is a free download from the app store, and for me has performed really well. The software collates information from the what the app makers claim is the world’s largest network of professional weather stations, so you get real-time weather forecasts and up to 10 day predictions which in my experience have been spot on.

You get everything from Doppler radar, satellite, lightning alerts, precipitation, local temperature, local pressure, local radar, wind chill, heat index, humid, wind, pollen, and UV sensitivity. Blimey. Can’t blame the conditions then…

Interestingly WeatherBug has just been acquired by xAd, the ad network that serves you ads in apps and mobile web pages based on your location. WeatherBug competes with the likes of the Weather Channel and It looks like there will be plenty of money available for development of new features that will benefit outdoor sports and who weather has a significant impact on performance.

Other paid for alternatives which work well are:

LatestGolfWeather.com (99 cents) A collaboration between digital specialists ADIMIA and meteorological experts Weather2, and is Course specific. The app covers 17,500 courses and has 3 hourly breakdown forecasts for improved accuracy. BB Comment: A golf app designed for golfers…nice, not free though.

Aeris Pulse ($2.99) features lightning alerts and up-to-the-minute mapping focusing on the next 12-15 hours. BB Comment: Lightning alerts are of course uber important if you have a Bill Murray complex and are mental enough to play in conditions where your next swing might be your last.

Dark Sky ($3.99) Is a slick app that provides easy-to-read forecasts on exactly when rain will start and stop. Works well on the Apple Watch. BB Comment: assuming that it is still working in heavy rain).

RadarScope ($9.99) has advanced radar data with great maps. “It’s the only weather app I’ve ever paid for,” says Dr. Jon Nese of Penn State University. It’s easy to pinch and zoom on any storm, and it updates every three to 10 minutes. BB Comment: Nice as this app is, I am not sure I play enough in bad weather to warrant the cost of buying this.

FlagHi (99 cents) The Company’s strapline says – “because air affects the ball”. This patent pending software calculates carry distances based on humidity, temperature and elevation. The pro version ($2.99) interestingly makes club recommendations. BB Comment: have they seen me play!

What is your favourite?

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