*Full Disclosure* We sent Bryan our current version of the Premium Bundle for free. In return, I asked him how the process worked on his iPad, as we will be developing more features for iPad only users in the future.
I’ve always been a fan of Yardage and Greens Books. Ever since I first used one I wondered why every course didn’t provide them. When I started playing golf, we didn’t have range finders, GPS’s and smart phones. Anytime you went to a new course, it was like walking around in the dark. We eyeballed everything off the tee and paced out yardages based off course markers. Unlike today, where you can shoot the distance to a fairway bunker off the tee with a range finder, or use satellite images on your phone to better understand and plot your way around a hole, back then you just had to play the hole as you began to discover it.
This is what made these books invaluable. It was your roadmap to each hole, it allowed you to see what was coming, and in a game where course management is vital to you not drawing snowman’s on your scorecard, it allowed you plan ahead and strategize each hole. Starting with knowing where the green was, how it was shaped and contoured, then being able to work your way back to the tee, helping you decide what the best way to play the hole was.
After a long hiatus from golf, and since recently being able to play again, I tried the current technologies and devices available. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with GPS’s and range finders, neither of them, used individually or together, offer the convince and level of detail Yardage and Greens Books do. Once you’ve used one, you won’t understand how you played without one.
This is how I ended up meeting Zach and his company Flaghunting. I was looking for a solution and Flaghunting offered what I wanted, but I felt intimidated by the process as I am not an artistic person or literate in illustrator programs. A further stumbling block was the fact that I use an iPad for work, I’d not owned a laptop/desktop for sometime now.
I’d found out that Zach was looking for someone to try out his product on the iPad. After his assurance that it wasn’t as complicated as I’d thought, I agreed to take him up on his offer to try the product out and to give him my feedback as I went through the process. He sent me the care package and off into the darkness I went.
I’ll be honest, after downloading the necessary app and files I felt a little lost. As with anything new it takes a little while to get oriented.
The first hurdle was looking at an illustrator app (Affinity Designer) I’ve never used before. Flaghunting (at the time I’m writing this) provides a thorough walkthrough, but it was for the desktop version. The layout orientation between the desktop and iPad versions are different. Part of what Zach wanted to test was how easy it would be to translate the desktop guide and apply it to the iPad. The meat and bones isn’t all that different, and it was just a matter of spending a little time going through the tutorials provided by the app to learn some of the slightly different ways in going about the process.
"For me, it really helped going through all the materials first which helped me get an overview. Then when I began the actual process, each of the steps I went through made sense and allowed me to plan ahead on how I wanted my book to turn out."
Understanding what a Yardage and Greens Book is and how to use it is important. Zach’s guide does help explain the main use of these books, alternatively you can also Google it for more information.
The Process and Things to Note:
Flaghunting provides all the necessary templates and the guide is simple enough to follow. Through the process I found myself not needing to ask Zach for help, which was a good thing. Between the PDF guide and videos you won’t be wasting time trying to figure things out.
1) Doing a Hole:
Getting a hole done doesn’t take much time. In about 10mins you’ll have all the main things, then it’s really a matter of how much detail you like. The more details you add the longer it’ll take naturally. If you like, you can add every tree/feature, an overload of makers and yardages, topped off with all the colours you could artistically think of.
Personally I prefer a more minimal book, with just the key things for the way I like to play the hole. I do away with colors and clutter, just having the necessary details and trees/markers that I can easily identify on course to use as reference points. That’s the great thing about making your own book, you can have it exactly the way you like and you can always adjust it as you use it more.
2) Affinity Designer and Satellite app:
As I’ve mentioned there are some differences between the desktop and iPad layouts. Take the time to go through the illustrator app tutorials, it’ll save you a lot time and make your workflow faster.
For the Satellite app, again there are some differences between the desktop and iPad versions. While one of the features that makes things a little quicker on the desktop isn’t available on the iPad, it isn’t necessary for you to make the book.
3) iPad Things:
There are a couple things that I used which I felt helped make the whole process easier/faster but aren’t necessary to make your book. The Apple Pencil helps with the illustrations. You can also use your fingers so not to worry.
The next thing is having dual displays. Whether you use your smartphone in conjunction with an iPad or two iPad’s, this helps save time going through your references and illustrator app simultaneously. Again not necessary.
And that’s pretty much it. The process was straightforward and once you’ve figured out what you want in your books and how you want them to look, its just a matter of taking a little time to put it together. Zach also provides printing templates and guides along with the recommended type of paper to use when you’re ready to print your books.
If you’ve ever been interested in having a Yardage or Greens Book or simply want to improve your course management, this is something you should definitely consider investing a little time into. These books allow you to have a plan before you tee it up on the first, can save you and your flight mates time on the course and generally help you enjoy your walk as you try and solve the puzzles golf architects layout in front of you.
As I’m writing this we’re in The Masters week, which also happens to have one of my favourite Yardage books. Zach has put up a template that emulates The Masters yardage book on the Flaghunting forums.
I’d like to thank Zach for letting me try his product. It’s been fun getting to put my book together and I’m now able to do it for any course that I play.