How to Make Your Own Yardage Book

Updated February 21, 2017

A yardage book is a cheat sheet for a golfer. The book includes a diagram of each hole on a golf course that maps out the distance from each landmark -- tree, rock, cart path, or sign -- to the centre of the green. The book can help a golfer develop a strategy for playing each hole on the golf courses he frequents. These books are often the product of many trips around the course and become a reference guide as well as a reminder of previous games.

Make a rough sketch of the terrain and layout of a hole. Include any features that could be considered a landmark, such as trees, buildings, or hazards. Use a standard set of symbols for each of the items found along the golf course. If it is a par 3 hole, include the entire hole in the sketch. For a par 4 or 5 hole, start the sketch at the point where most of your tee shots land.

Pace off the distance from the tee box to a landmark each time you play a hole, and calculate the distance to the centre of the green from that point. For example, if the hole is 350 yards long and it is 100 yards from the tee box to a pine tree on the edge of the fairway, that tree is 250 yards from the centre of the green.

Note all these measurements in the yardage book. Over the course of a number of rounds the yardage from each feature can be determined and noted. Repeat the process with all holes on any courses you routinely play.


Measurements are usually made to the centre of the fairway directly in front of features on the edge of the fairway. Measure your stride to establish if your step is actually one yard long. A multiplication factor may have to be used to adjust the number of strides to yards for strides other than a yard in length. A golf rangefinder can also be used to measure yardages. Once the distances are measured and confirmed, the yardage book can be used to make notes on what approaches work best for each hole.

Things You'll Need

  • Note pad
  • Pencil or pen
  • Golf rangefinder (optional)
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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.