The use of golf laser range finders or gps devices are illegal on the PGA Tour and many other amateur and professional golf tournaments. There is an easy way to make a professional free golf yardage book like what the PGA tour players use with google earth. I have been to golf tournaments where they will charge as much as $20 for each detailed yardage book.
Obviously playing with a rangefinder will dramatically speed up pace of play and is a excellent golf distance finder but a yardage book can improve your game in many ways that a rangefinder device cannot. A golf GPS system can be distracting and give incorrect yardages. When you watch golf on TV, the pros carry detailed PGA tour yardage books in their pocket giving them golf course yardages and other important information.
Use A Yardage Book And Stick To Your Game Plan
Before playing a round of golf it may help you do determine a specific game plan for each particular hole. A yardage book can help you review not only specific yardages but personal notes about past wind directions and help you to stick to your game plan and strategy.
There are multiple benefits in using a golf yardage book:
The process of making your own yardage book can be fun and act as a chance to study your course management skills.
How to make a professional golf yardage book:
Open Google Earth and zoom into the golf course that you are making the yardage book of. Use the ruler function (make sure you set to yards) to measure distances from the back of the tee box to important points. (distinct tree’s in fairway, sprinkler heads, hazards, green depth)You can get as detailed as you wish. Try to add as much detail as possible, getting the yardages to the front edge of bunkers and clearing yardages to trouble spots. I would suggest taking the yardages from the back of the tee box that you intend to play. You can then pace off and subtract however many yards it is from the markers you are playing.
Skills Required When Using Your Feet To Find Distances
Each yardage book will have its own means of measuring distance. Some golf courses decide to show distances on sprinkler heads measuring to the center of the greens while others show distances to the front edge. Whichever the case, make sure you know before calculating the distances. If a pin sheet is provided before you start your round of golf, finding distances to the flag stick will become much easier since they are also measured by the number of paces. (usually from the front or middle of the green)
Just recently I have decided to stop using any golf distance finder. This means any gps or laser rangefinder to determine the distance. I have found that after using such distance finder you become dependent and cannot play freely any other way. If you decide to play in a golf tournament not allowing rangefinders you will lack the skills necessary for using a golf yardage book. With a yardage book I can also get more information about my landing area which leads to better club selections. (front of the green, middle, back, and exact distance to the pin) It would be hard for a laser distance finder to determine an exact distance to these spots on the golf course.
Below I have included a video that shows exactly how a caddy on the PGA tour creates professional yardage books for his players and other players on tour. It may surprise you the technology involved. Since this equipment may be a bit expensive google earth will do just fine.