A clever assortment of smartphone applications can augment your experience of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, which runs from June 10 to 16 at Merion Golf Club on the Main Line. Follow the high-profile event and get into golf with these apps.
[Update: Ticketholders need to know that the U.S. Golf Association won't be allowing cellphones, smartphones, tablets or other devices, including cameras, at Merion. These apps are for use outside the grounds.]
Golf Channel is free from the NBCUniversal-owned cable outlet. The app features a home screen of news feeds, with items tiled in rows. Tap the sprocket icon to reach settings, where you can reorder items on the home screen to your liking. Categories include news and videos, opinion and analysis, photo galleries, blogs, and instructional videos.
Use the app to hear Morning Drive, a live daily TV show on the Golf Channel. Just tap "Live Audio" for access. Tap "Scores" for leaderboards from the PGA, LPGA, and other tours. Choose a tour and drill down to golfer stats.
Golf Channel has additional apps. Among them are Golf Live Extra, which streams TV tournament coverage to Apple and Android devices as long as you have a cable package that includes the channel, and GolfNow, which uses GPS to find a nearby golf course with an open tee.
GolfLogix GPS, free from GolfLogix Inc. in versions for most devices, displays 3-D images of any golf hole, tells golfers how far it is to the center of the green, and gives experts' tips on how to play the hole.
Tap the camera icon to snap pictures of your outing, or tap the pencil icon to open a scorecard.
A golf news feed, a Golf Digest archive, and access to Golf Channel's GolfNow tee times and reservations features are available without leaving the GolfLogix app.
"Champion Member" features - available free for your first two rounds with GolfLogix and then for a $19.99 upgrade - include detailed GPS coordinates of course hazards, daily pin positions, and course "flyover" videos, among other extravagances.
If golf lingo and rules perplex you, get Rules of Golf, the official guide from the U.S. Golf Association. It's $3.99 for Android and Apple versions. The searchable app goes into excruciating detail on when it's OK to pick up a ball, what to do when your ball lands in a bird's nest, and why it's not nice to whack a ball back in anger when one lands at your feet.