Building and Utilizing a Yardage Guide

Building and Utilizing a Yardage Guide

What Is a Yardage Guide

A yardage guide is a breakdown of the yardages that you hit each of the clubs in your bag. It is meant to help you optimize your decision making on the course. 

The typical yardage guide includes the following information for each club:

  • Loft: List out the lofts of each of your clubs. This may seem silly but manufacturers are playing with the lofts of their clubs to make sure you are hitting that 7-iron as far as possible during your fitting. In fact, some manufacturers have essentially turned their 7-irons into 6-irons by juicing the loft. So have a look at your lofts and make sure there is a consistent gap between each of your clubs. This is most important with the wedges.
  • "Punch" Yardage: The distance you typically hit the club when you need to take a little off it. There are a lot of different golf terms for this as well - "50%", "75%", "knock down" or "choke down" to name a few.
  • "Stock" Yardage: The average distance you hit each club.
  • "Max" Yardage: The maximum distance you can hit each club. Yes, all of us occasionally blade or thin a club hitting a low missile that seemingly goes for miles. Exclude this yardage. Note that this distance can also change with the adrenaline that builds with tournaments. Over time as you play in more tournaments make sure this distance evolves. 

If you are a player that gets a lot of roll, you may want to denote your carry and total yardage. For example, if you hit your 7-iron 150 but it rolls 5 yards mark down "150 / 155".

Get a printable yardage guide from Under Par that matches the one in the photo above so you can start your guide today.

Why Build a Yardage Guide

A yardage guide is meant to enhance your decision making on the course. Golf is complicated enough as is. A yardage guide makes it easier to pick the best club by having your data written down.

For example, knowing the max distance you hit a club will help you when you are firing at a back pin. If there is only a few yards beyond the pin and over is treacherous, the sensible decision might be to club down and accept a little longer putt if you pure one.

How to Establish Your Yardages

The best way to build a yardage guide is to use a golf simulator or launch monitor that tracks your carry and total distance for each club.

  1. Hit 5-7 balls with a full swing for each club. 
  2. Throw out any major outliers (e.g., your thin missiles or bad chunks, not that you hit any of those). 
  3. Break out your calculator. Your stock yardage is the average distance you hit each club. Your max distance is the max distance of those shots. 
  4. Repeat this process for punch shots but only calculate the average of your 5-7 shots.

If you do not have access to a golf simulator, you can do this on the range or the course. The course is probably the best place to do this with your range finder. It can take a couple of rounds to build the data given the quantity of shots you need to hit. 

If you do this on the course or the range, make sure you factor wind into your calculations. Often it is best to do this when the wind is light in your area to get the most accurate data possible. 

Make sure you do this process each time you feel your distances have changed considerably. 

Using Your Yardage Guide

When you are out playing there are a few yardages you should factor into your decision making on approach shots:

  1. Yardage to the Pin: Duh. 
  2. Yardage to the Front of the Green ("Cover" Yardage): The distance you need to carry the golf ball to hit the green. If you need to "cover" a bunker or rough this distance becomes even more important. 
  3. Yardage to the Back of the Green: The distance to the back edge of the green. This is important when the pin is tucked in the back of the green. Going long can short side you so factor this distance into your decision making.  

Golf coaching, modernized

Get access to a golf coach to help you assess your game and build an improvement plan to reach your goals.

Unlimited coaching.
Guaranteed results.

Achieve your golf goals faster with Under Par

76% of players on the Under Par team have lowered their handicap in just 6 weeks. Are you next?

You may also like...

We all spend far too much time practicing golf in ideal conditions. Next time you head out to practice, spice up your session by practicing shots from some of those bad lies you are inevitably going to see out on the course.
Don't just hit balls aimlessly on your golf simulator - use these three strategies to track your distances, work on your shot shape, and play simulated rounds to improve your game and get ready for the course.

Here are five tips for building a practice routine that translates to the course.

Stop the ugly cycle of great practice sessions followed by lousy rounds.