How To Make A DIY Yardage Book

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.

Using a yardage book

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.”

TPC Sawgrass Hole 17

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.

Brickley Yardage Book cover

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:

  • Free

  • 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:

Google Earth Yardage Book

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.

Google Earth Yardage Book

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

  • Personal Scorecards

  • 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

Pin Sheet 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.

Pebble Beach Hole 18

Details that you can include:

  • Green

  • Rough

  • Hazards

  • Bunkers

  • Water Features

  • Landscapes

  • Trees

  • Shrubs

  • Rocks

  • O.B.

  • Lateral Hazards

  • Drop Zones

  • Contours

  • False Fronts

  • Cart Paths

  • Carry Distances

  • Yardages to Green

  • Depth/Width of Green

  • Etc…

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.

Yardage Book Example