By Kevin Morrow — Special to RattlingChains.com
Let me start by saying I hate phones.
Especially cell phones.
As soon as I answer a call, I’m looking for a chance to end it.I never carried a cell phone and I waited for about two years before I bought an iPhone. But I use it as a handheld portable data device, which just so happens to take calls. Almost immediately, I began looking for disc golf scoring apps.
I have used several scoring apps. The earliest ones were just scorecards that had a few extra features. iDiscGolf, Scorecards, Disc Golf Tracker and the PDGA app (which I use for tournament rounds) are some that I have tried.
And, of course, Discasaurus.
The apps creator — Dave — has said the app is disc golf score keeping done right.
After more than 150 rounds with the app, I tend to agree with him.
Discasaurus is a free app for the iPhone. It’s an easy-to-use scorecard that also has a course locator. The app, which was released June 21, 2011, is integrated with a website where players can upload scores and keep track of scoring trends. The next update is slated to happen within the next few weeks
I downloaded this app about two weeks after it was released. Since then, it’s become my primary disc scoring app. The app features about 2,700 courses, including ones in the United States and 15 other countries. There are also about 5,300 registered players and there is about 50 new players daily registering accounts. Between 75-100 scores are posted daily.
I am a beta tester for Version 2.0.
When first opening the app, the player is asked to input a name and e-mail address. This creates an online account with Discasaurus. One doesn’t need an online account to run the app, but one will have to verify the e-mail address if he or she wishes to access any scores that are posted.
The main screen is pretty straight forward with selections for a new game, my scores, courses and a simple operating manual. If you stop a score mid-round, a resume icon will appear on the main screen.
The player also needs to download courses. This sounds like a hassle, but courses are organized by state, so it you only have to upload courses in your area.
To do this, you touch the course icon and then use the wheel selector to find your state. When there, hit update. I usually do this when I am home or have a WiFi source. You can upload without it, but the WiFi makes it quicker. If you are traveling to another area, you can download any state you are visiting and later delete them. If new courses are added in your area, you will need to delete the old list and download the new one.
Adding players is simple. Just type a name and an e-mail, if the player wants it sent at the end of the round. To add or remove players, you drag the name up or down. I have scored rounds with as many as nine players in a group. I have also created doubles teams with names. Players can be saved in the “available” location for later use.
Once you have your players set, swipe the screen to the course-selector screen. From there, tap which course you are playing. If the course has multiple layouts, you will need to select the one you are playing.
Then you are ready to go, so hit “start” to get the round underway.
The in-round screen has a large area for each player. The hole distance and par is at the top. If it’s not there, then course information has not been added. Note that this is done by the Discasaurus community and it very rarely has been an issue in my experiences. You can also add this info on the course by tapping the top right icon and par and distance can be set. If you log in on the course, this will update the information for future play.
During the round, inputting the scores is done by tapping with one finger to add strokes and two fingers to remove strokes. Then you can swipe to move to the next hole.
Once you finish the round, you can post the score to your online account, which will also send an e-mail to each player. You can also just save it to your iPhone and post it later, if you want.
The course locator works slightly differently as you need to tap “start a new game,” slide past the players and get to the course selector. The selector screen shows the distances courses are from your current location. You can get directions to the course if that selection is available on the screen. Sometimes, the course is new or has not been played by a Discasaurus member and the location is not set. A player can do this by tapping “set location,” which will add the GPS location of the course.
A new feature — one I have tested in the beta 2.0 — is an integrated map course locator. So far, it’s worked great. On the course screen is a map icon and it will take you to a new map window with the course location. If that has not been set, the map will show the city to get you to the general area of said course.
New features in beta testing also include the ability to upload photos of the course for each hole directly through the app. As it is now, any course photos are uploaded via the website.
Your online account keeps track of every course you play and score you post. You can see statistics, upload images and update course information. There are course and player profiles and you can message other players.
The biggest pro for this app is the price — free, especially because it has a lot of great features the pay apps don’t. It’s easy to use and not hard to keep score during a round.
The integrated players and courses website is unique. This app has rarely locked up on me since I’ve used it. When iOS5 was released, there were a few issues that have since been fixed.
Another positive is the ability to submit and update course information. If your course has pro and advanced tee pads, you have a choice for what layout you score. If the course changes with more tee pads or baskets, the data can be updated by players.
The apps owner is also a positive aspect. Dave is very responsive to issues. If a new course is uploaded, it is usually added to the directory within a few days.
One negative is the inability to add or subtract holes to customize scores. Tournaments often add one or two holes, so it would be nice to be able to add them.
It would also be nice to have the ability to post the scorecard image to Facebook or Twitter.
Finally, with the current app, you can’t mark a score with a penalty (such as a circle out-of-bounds score).
Compared with other free and paid disc golf apps I have tried, Discasaurus has become my go-to app. Being free is a bonus.
There are a few things I would like to see added and it doesn’t have all the features I like with other apps, but the overall performance has been great. Every iPhone user who has asked me which app, I recommend Discasaurus. The best part is if you don’t like it, you haven’t spent any money on it. Not all apps can say that.
The only other app I believe comes close to Discasaurus is the official PDGA app. But at $4.99, why not use the free one first? Once you try this app, I think you’ll stay with it.
On iTunes, Discasaurus has 30 votes and a 4-star rating. Sixteen people rated it a 5, six at 4, three at 3, one at 2 and four at 1. The overall rating for all versions is 3.5 stars.
Do you have this app? What do you think? Leave your thoughts/questions in the comments below!
Kevin Morrow is a disc golfer based in Virginia. He’ll periodically review apps here at Rattling Chains. You can see more from Kevin at his blog.