Why golfers (and their swing videos) will love the new iPhone

There are a few unfathomably awesome places in golf. One of them rests high above the skyline in Oceanside, Calif., a tiny office building tucked into a commercial nook spotted only by a left turn off a nondescript highway. It is called the Titleist Performance Institute, and a long drive south of Cupertino — where Apple released the iPhone 13 on Tuesday — it is home to some of the smartest data-oriented minds in professional golf.

On this day, we had come to see Dave Phillips — a teaching professional whose name you might know from his finest student, World No. 1 Jon Rahm. Dave is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher, and I was at the Institute to hear what he had to say about my eternally fledgling golf swing.

With bag in tow, Dave brought me out to the range, where he talked me through how he intended to assess my swing. We’d just walked through his workshop, fully equipped with a handful of enormous flatscreen TVs, a swing simulator capable of tracking my movements, and a view into the range where we now stood.

I foolishly assumed Dave brought me out to get loose before going back to the simulator, where he’d conduct his complete assessment of me — an assumption that strengthened when I peered back to see Dave clutching his iPhone. Then, he walked in front of me.

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“Alright, nice job! We’re all done. Let’s go inside and see how you did.”

He pointed to his phone.

“This is the best camera I’ve got!”

Yes, even at one of the coolest, highest-tech places in golf, the iPhone is one of the most important tools available to assess the golf swing.

It is for this reason that Apple’s release of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro was welcome news to golf fans across the globe. The brilliant, tiny piece of technology is one of the best tools available to hackers (the golf kind) and pros everywhere seeking to shave a few strokes off their game.

Below, check out 4 takeaways from the release of the newest iPhone that should have golfers particularly excited.

1. The best camera yet

For those of us who have latched onto the sickening addiction of “swing videos,” the newest iPhone is *very* good news. Apple says its cameras are the “most advanced ever” on an iPhone — featuring three distinct lenses and a variety of new features. Film buffs (and those who love to capture dramatic video while out on the course) will swoon over the new “cinematic video” setting, which allows users to play around with shots at different focal lengths.

2. Seriously, swing shots have never looked better

The biggest golf-centric improvements in the new iPhone camera will be with the wide and ultra-wide lenses, which Apple says will be able to shoot at higher shutter speeds across a variety of lighting conditions. That’s good news for those who obsess over swing videos and photos, but are frustrated by the occasional misfire.

A closer look at the new iPhone 13.


3. Long live battery life

As someone who frequently spends long hours on the course shooting photos and videos, grabbing interviews with players, and recording notes all on my iPhone, it’s pretty critical to have enough juice to survive the day. Over the years, I’ve purchased a handful of “portable battery” packs to keep myself running all day. Those are helpful, but with the 13 and 13 Pro, they might not be necessary. Apple says the new phones run 90 minutes longer on a single standard charge than their predecessors, which should give those of us who’ve ever had to borrow a phone charger from a starter’s shack a sigh of relief.

4. 5G!

Much like “the cloud” before it, 5G is a word used often but seen almost never. Rest assured, it is the future — taking the immediacy of the current internet landscape and making it … more immediate.

For those of us who have gone through the process of doing “mobile” golf lessons (don’t knock it till you try it!), having a boosted connection can go a long way when sitting on a Zoom call with your golf instructor. More than that though, this tech should make live-streaming of your favorite golf events a breeze, and could mean even more for the world of golf gambling.

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James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.