Hi Joe - thanks for your feedback about the Smart Lock screen. Most phones power down the NFC radio automatically when the screen is turned off. Golf Pad uses SmartLock mode to keep both screen and NFC active, while blocking on-screen controls to avoid accidental inputs. You can also see the distance to the target and change current hole right in SmartLock mode, without unlocking the phone. However the screen is dimmed to maximize battery life. Here is additional information.
I hope this additional information helps you understand the necessity of the smart lock.
I will pass your feedback about your impression that the Smart Lock screen is too dark. We appreciate user feedback and always take it into account when making choices about future development.