The benefits of using a yardage book are multi-faceted. When I got bit by the “golf bug” I was consuming as much content as possible ranging from swing tips, equipment reviews, golf course architecture, and posting on golf forums.
Every time I played with my uncle (who is a scratch golfer) I was in awe of his ability to score, not lose a ball, his ability to make the game seemingly so easy, and had “local course knowledge” of where to aim for tee shots, or where the breaks were on the greens.
It was the last bit that really intrigued me. He was a member of a semi-private country club in the area and the course had yardage books available for members/guests in the pro shop. Looking at the hole diagrams, and the artistic images I felt that this was definitely a help when I had never played the course before, even when I had no idea where my ball was going.
After going back to the local municipal courses I played, I asked the head pro if they ever produced a yardage book for their course. His response was the following “Yes, we had it made years ago, but no one ever uses them. Here have one.”
Looking through their version of a yardage book, I felt I was watching/reading a never ending commercial with advertisements strewn throughout the glossy images, opposite of the glossy top view picture of a hole. The one carry distance they gave, was for a bunker 350+ yards away from the middle tee’s…Not exactly a helpful tool for any golfer trying to improve upon their game.
That night, I went home and started googling yardage books and the associated costs that advertising or marketing companies were charging for local courses and was astonished at the prices and minimum quantities they had. No wonder the courses that I played either didn’t have one, or had to offset the costs of having it made with selling ad’s every other page.
Throughout this entire process, I began to draw individual holes of the course that I was going to be playing on the weekend and brought the sketches out with me on the course. As I began to refine these prototypes, I started messing around with digitizing my holes using inkscape and Microsoft paint. The problem I was having when hand drawing the holes was the rain, wind, and cold of Seattle’s winter had made my drawings a big wet pile that resembled a giant spitball.
I bought my first yardage book cover which definitely helped but I still had an idea to make a “players” or “PGA Tour” style of yardage book that had distances to the center of the green, carry distances to specific points (bunkers, widest part of fairway, hazards, trees, etc…) gave me an enlarged view of the green complex, and something that I could write on so that I could jot down the club used, the wind direction, where my ball ended up, and any other notes that would help me score better the next time I played that particular hole.
What you see below is a culmination of years of research, trials and many errors, and my recommendations to you if you want to make a yardage book for the courses that YOU play. If you are wanting pre-made templates (with the settings already dialed in), online video tutorials, step-by-step 90+ E-book, access to our members only community forum, and the ability to download and print out member made yardage books for our growing course database, please support our website by purchasing our online tutorial How to Make a Yardage Book Premium Bundle.
Like many of you, my passion for golf is unlike any other hobby that I’ve previously had, and my way of keeping in tune with the game while I’m not on the course, is making yardage books for all the courses around me. I know that it is a little weird to have a website dedicated to making yardage books, but in all honestly, I geek out about them!
1.) Overview of the Process
When you purchase our online tutorial series, you gain access to a variety of pre-made templates, video tutorials, and step-by-step instructions that show you our exact process.
2.) Yardage Book Software Basics
We use a robust, creative design software that is geared more towards UX/UI designers. The technical details of the program and the vast amount of tools available for you can have a steep learning curve for some users. That’s why we created pre-made templates for you that you can download and already have the settings dialed in for exactly how to make a yardage book.
We highlight the tools that you will use in an easy to understand manner, and show keyboard shortcuts to help you crank out yardage books.
The software we use is called Affinity Designer from Serif. It is a one time cost of $49.99 and is not included in our price.
3.) Google Earth Pro Basics
We use Google Earth Pro to get screenshots or “snippets” of each individual hole. There are a variety of reasons for this:
Simple to Use
Gives distances in both Metric (meters) and Yards (imperial)
Owned and operated by Alphabet (Google’s parent company). If you haven’t hear they are in a race to be the first $1 Trillion dollar company, that’s 12 zero’s for those of you counting at home. They have a lot resources available to them, including making satellite images incredibly accurate.
Accurate. If you don’t believe me, try this little test at home:
1.) Download Google Earth Pro. Mac and Windows Versions are both available.
2.) In the upper left search bar, type in a local high school football field in your area, where American Football is played (i.e. 100 yards from goal line to goal line).
3.) Click on the little RULER icon, next to the icon that looks like a planet. Select the LINE function, which measures the distance between two points on the ground.
4.) To the right of the MAP LENGTH, select either YARDS / METERS, and click your mouse once on one goal line. Move your mouse to the other goal line and click. What does the MAP LENGTH say? Well within a yard of 100 yards? Well within .5 yards? Zoom in a little closer and really make sure you are starting/ending on each goal line…pretty neat huh?
5.) This process is exactly what we are doing when measuring distances off the tee box and to the center, back, and front of greens in our yardage books.
4.) Pre-Made Yardage Book Templates
We have developed several different yardage and green reading book templates that you can immediately download to your computer. The beauty of this, is all of the correct settings will already be set for you so that you can begin using the software to make yardage books immediately, without worrying about the correct software settings.
We also continue to enhance and add different templates to our community forums where our members can use and download such as:
Pin Sheet Templates
Objects such as Trees, Water, Carry Distance, and How to Make Your Courses logo for the front cover
Larger Yardage Book Template of 4”x7”
"Pro Style" of template
"Masters" style of template
With our pre-made templates, you will be able to produce a standard size (that fits into most yardage book covers) with dimensions of 4” x 5.5” and 4" x 7".
5.) Transferring Images
We take screenshots of the course from Google Earth and show you the process of transferring them in the correct orientation to the software. We show you several different options for a variety of sizes and style of yardage books that you want to make.
6.) Outlining Fairways, Rough, Bunkers, Hazards, etc…
The best part about making yardage or green reading books comes in Chapter 6, outlining the courses features that you want to include. The steps in outlining your course comes down to the level of detail you want.
Details that you can include:
Yardages to Green
Depth/Width of Green
When you use an iPad Pro, and an Apple Pencil, things get really easy. We've already highlighted how to use our products with an iPad on this post.
7.) Carry Distance
We separate Chapter 7 into two different areas “How To Get Carry Distances Off The Tee” and “How To Get Yardages To The Green”.
We show you how to include carry distances from any tee box on the course using your screenshot and google earth pro. We have pre-made templates again, that you can quickly copy/paste to each specific point on the hole that you want to include in your yardage book.
8.) Yardages to Green
The 2nd video tutorial of Chapter 7 shows how to get yardages to the green complex (whether that be front of, middle of, or back of the green). We highlight several ways to include accurate points of the golf course so that you can feel confident in knowing the distance of you shot.
One of the most beneficial things that I’ve found when making and using a yardage book is working backwards (i.e. starting at the green and working my way back towards the tee box, finding out the ideal approach shot distance/club, then figure out what I need to do off the tee to get into this position) on each hole. Your course management and golf course strategy can sometimes be swayed by tension, quick thinking, and frustrations whereas if you have a plan before you even get to the tee box, it can alleviate some of these issues by visualization, and pre-planning.
9.) Exporting to Printing Template
The way we’ve set up our templates, makes it easy when transferring your completed holes to the printing template. A lot of backend settings have been adjusted, in order to make it easy to click, drag, and drop for you!
10.) Formatting, Settings, Options
We highlight different printer settings and best practices for printing off your yardage book. We give our recommendations for:
All of this is optional however, but they make your yardage book look like the Tour yardage books you see out on Tour. Most people take their finished printing templates PDF’s into the local print shop (FedEx, UPS, etc…)
11.) How to Use a Yardage Book
For the weekend golfer, a yardage book can be a source of information that can be used to jot down notes and club selection on a specific hole over time. There is a local municipal course in my area that hosts an amateur tournament every July. A couple months before I entered for the first time, I made myself a DIY yardage book for the course and brought it with me during the practice rounds to note pin positions, ideal landing spots off the tee, club selection, and green slopes.
I was starting to really learn the course by noticing areas that were OK to miss in, rather than position A every time.
A yardage or greens book can be an effective tool to learn the course whenever you play it. It can cut down the learning curve of “knowing the breaks” when used in a proper manner. When you go through your yardage book library, and pull a well-worn, handmade yardage book out of your bag and place it into your back pocket, I hope you get the same satisfaction that I have over the years when using it to improve your golf game!
To receive instant access to How to Make a Yardage Book & How to Make a Greens Book - Premium Bundle, you can save 10% by entering in Promo Code: Flaghunting10 at checkout.
Thanks and Happy #flaghunting