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Apps: Getting advice on the links

2009 -- Stock photo of a golf ball

2009 -- Stock photo of a golf ball on a tee against black. Credit: istock Credit: istock/istock

It's finally warm enough for golfers to take the clubs out on a regular basis. Whether you are a PGA fanatic or a novice of the sport, there are plenty of apps that would make fine companions for a weekend on the back nine. Here are five worth penciling onto your scorecard.

The Rules of Golf
(iPhone, iPod Touch, Android; $3.99)

Do you ever hit the links with other golfers who prefer to make up the rules as they go along? This official app from the U.S. Golf Association is designed to keep everyone honest with their scorekeeping.

Professionals, amateurs and beginners alike can tap into the app at any point for guidance on what to do when a ball gets lost or lands near a hazard, like an alligator or a beehive (yikes!).

Not sure if you are allowed to take a swing at a ball in play when your stance is out-of-bounds? Rules of Golf has the answer. For more ambiguous questions, you can email the USGA directly via the application and get a ruling. This app is all-knowing. Just don't get upset if following the letter of the law adds a few strokes to your handicap.

Swing by Swing
(iPhone, iPod Touch; free)

The Swing by Swing app provides the exact distance to the pin for more than 34,000 courses. You can even keep track of your score and number of putts on any course in the world. While all these services are free, users can pay extra to upgrade to Looper status.

Subscribing to this service is like having a virtual caddie (as fans already know), with benefits that include measuring the distance of specific clubs and 3-D overlays of every shot you hit in a given round.

Let's Golf 3
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android; free)

Golfers who prefer a digital approach to the game will enjoy Let's Golf 3. LG3 lets gamers golf in exotic locales like the Great Wall of China and outer space. The game can be played with up to three other friends, even on the same device. Players can customize their LG3 avatars and dress up their golfer in a number of unique outfits, as well.

Golf Channel
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android; free)

Fanatics of PGA and LPGA action shouldn't be without the Golf Channel app. You'll see leader boards for each significant tournament in addition to video clips that will bring you right onto the course. Golf Channel also has frequent live chats as well as columns and blogs by golf experts. You can even follow specific players to see how they're doing in the tournaments that matter most to you.

Golf
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; $0.99)

You might not think there's a lot to the game of golf, but you'd be very wrong. Golf^ provides a number of interesting facts about the game. Now avid players who don't know the history of the sport can catch up with this app that's full of facts. Each fact can be shared easily with friends so they can learn a thing or two as well.

This preceding report was compiled with dispatches from  Appolicious.com and Tribune Media Services.

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