Tour Professional Yardage Books by Pro-Guide

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Working with Yardages


In order to gain maximum benefit from your yardage book it is vital that you have a good idea of how far you hit the ball and in particular what the carry distance is for each club in your bag.

Here are a couple of methods which can be used to find out. Both require observations to be made on mild days with little or no wind.

1. The most convenient, but rather lazy approach, is simply to use the information in your yardage book to measure shots on the course. When you have hit a good quality shot into a green all you have to do is pace off the distance from the front edge to your pitch mark (remembering to repair it) and add this to the front edge yardage you had to get your carry distance. The short pacing distance will mean that your measure is still accurate. You can do the same for shots landing in fairways, using measured features, when the course is wet and plug marks appear.

However, this is a rather ad hoc approach and could take some time to complete. The truth is that golf IS rocket science and so a far more rigorous method is recommended

2. Find a practice ground (not a driving range) with accurate yardage markers, or take a surveyors tape, wheel or laser to do your own measurements (your Pro should be able to help with this). Also take a friend and some suitable items as markers.

Warm up and, when ready, have your friend observe and mark where the ball lands on at least ten of your solidly struck shots. Work out a signal system so that they know which ones you want recorded. Disregard any obviously poor shots but also do include shots which, although not quite "sweet", would be reasonable or typical of your game. It is important to be realistic - this exercise is not about hitting the ball far - it is about knowing how far you hit it.

Measure off each marker and calculate the average distance carried.

This is the figure which you should note as your carry for the club in question. Ideally repeat for every club in your bag. If this is too tedious use every second club to obtain a progression and interpolate for the clubs in the gaps. For example wedge, 8, 6 and 4 iron will give a good framework to work from. But be warned. Distances between clubs are not necessarily regular and you may well wish to hit those gap clubs in order to be sure. Typically club golfers find more distance between short to mid irons and less between their long irons.

Keep a note of your measurements handy and refer to them as required.

Offer to return the favour for your friend.

Finally, (AND SERIOUSLY!) if you are going to use yardages you must also know how accurate your stride pattern is so that you can make adjustments to your on course calculations. Most people do not step a full yard and 30 paces to 25 yards would not be an uncommon error. Measure out 50 yards and test your normal walking steps. If the difference is more than a couple of yards you really should factor it in to your club selections. And if you are a mad keen and growing youngster, remember to check it again a couple of years on!

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