The great thing about the Turf Game is that you don’t need a vast array of fancy equipment to take part. Of course, the one item you do need is a mobile phone together with a data package and most people will already have these. However, as with many outdoor activities, as you get into Turf you soon discover that improvements can be made and on this page I want to share a few thoughts on mobile phones and add-ons that makes turfing easier and quicker, and that means more points and more medals.
Starting with the mobile phone itself. If you are looking for a mobile phone, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, if using an Android based phone it needs to be Android 4.0 or higher to use the free Turf App. Playing the Turf app out in the wilds will use up data so you will need a decent data package. To date, I’ve not used more than 1 GB of data for turfing and I use the phone for very little else. Phone provider coverage is also important but if you’re with one of the mainstream providers, such as O2 or Vodaphone, you should be okay. Next item, and that’s a critical one, is phone battery life.
Depending on how long you intend to be out turfing, your phone battery may or may not last the course. Some phones permit the battery to be changed and carrying a spare battery or three will keep you turfing. However, spare batteries for my old Samsung Galaxy J3 are about £20.00 each and I need about four for a full-day in the field.
A better option is an external power pack that will re-charge your phone multiple times with juice left over. I’ve gone for an Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 power bank, costing around £25.00. With a capacity of 20000mAh is should, hopefully, recharge my 3800mAh phone battery at least three or four times. Note that the claimed capacity of these storage banks may not always be accurate. For phones where the battery cannot easily be changed, an external power pack is the only option.
Another item to consider is the phone screen size. Too small makes it difficult to use, so the bigger the better but not too big so as to become unwieldy in use. Phone screens can also be difficult to see in bright sunny weather and may need the brightness setting pumped up to high. This will consume battery juice at a rate of knots, so another good reason for an external power pack. At night the opposite is true and the screen can be too bright, so may need turned down.
If you are going to be using a bicycle to take zones, one of the most useful, nay essential, accessories you can have is a handlebar phone mount. These simply clamp onto the handlebars and the phone is secured by various means. It keeps the phone right where you want it when cycling. There are many different mounts to choose from and the best advice I can offer is make sure it’s well built and holds your phone securely. Also read all the reviews you can find.
One final thing to mention and that is the weather. Mobile phones and rain do not mix and keeping your phone dry tends to be a good idea if you want it to keep on working, and your zone bagging to continue. There are a number of options for keeping your phone dry. One is to purchase a waterproof case for the phone. Another is to go for a handlebar mount with a built-in waterproof case and the final one, also the most expensive, is to purchase a waterproof phone. If purchasing a waterproof case, check it will still fit in your handlebar mount.
Using your mobile phone for turfing out in the field is quite straight forward. Just switch it on, load the Turf app and go turfing. However, there are a few hints and tips to help you become a better turfer.
First thing is what zoom level do you go for? Too wide a view and the zones are difficult to determine accurately. Too narrow a view, and all you can see are the zones and you may miss other turfers in the area or even miss another nearby zone. When you first start turfing, I would suggest a medium zoom level, then zoom in closer when approaching the zones. Once you are familiar with where the zones are and where you need to be to take the zone, you will not need the close-up view as much.
Another useful option in the app are sound notifications. They are accessed in the settings menu. Personally, I go for taking zone and zone taken. Also turn up the volume high enough that you can hear it easily. It’s a great help when trying to get into a zone and will also alert you should you find your mind wandering and you forget to stop to take a zone. Believe me, it’s easily done.
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