The first couple of times I heard PGA Tour caddies talk a shot over with their player, it went something like this:
Player: "What do we have"
Caddie: "We're playing this 98 cover, 105 hole. Wind helping us. Playing 110 max."
Player: "Light sand wedge, control the spin?"
Caddie: “Thats it, love it.”
The conversation above is the scenario that plays out hundreds of times during a tournament, between a caddie and his player, while looking at their booklet that they use every year when they go back to a course.
With range finders, golf gps watches, apps, and others flooding the market, I find solitude in pulling out my printed paper copy of the local course that I play 3-4 times a year.
For the amateur golfer, a yardage book can be a source of information that can be used to jot down specific notes and your club selection on a specific hole, over time.
There is a local municipal course near me that hosts an amateur tournament every July.
A couple months before I entered, I made a yardage book for the course and began to bring it with me as I learned the nuances and breaks of the greens, what club I should hit off the tee, that would get me into the right positions, and where my “misses” should be on each hole.
Every time I played the course I would write down what the wind was doing, what club I hit, where the ball landed, and where it ended up. I was starting to learn the course and could use the information I was writing down in my yardage book to visualize the holes and shots needed for the tournament.
Have you ever heard the expression “Oh Jim, knows these greens and breaks like the back of his hand…”
A yardage or greens book can be an effective tool to learn the history of a course whenever you play it. It can cut down on 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 to place it in your bag, I hope you get the same satisfaction that I have over the years when using it to improve your golf game!