How Do Pro Golfers Know Yardage?

Professional golfers have different rules than the average club swinger on the course. With the invention of golf rangefinders, amateur golfers have a pocket-sized golf distance finder and personal caddie at their disposal.

Professionals do not have this luxury. So how do pro golfers find their yardages?

Professional Golfer Yardage Book

Under the USGA rules, golfers in professional tournaments are not permitted to use artificial instruments to measure yardage

This includes anything digital or mechanical. Without the help of tools that the average golfer has become accustomed to, pros need some way to measure courses they may not know like the back of their hand.

To know the course’s exact distances and dimensions, professionals rely on a tour caddie yardage book.

📢 Need To Know: Golf yardage books are detailed guides that pros and their caddies use to navigate the course during play.

They are measured every year and updated within half an inch, so players know exactly how far it is from tee to green and everything in between.

What Yardage Book Do Pros Use

The book that all pros use, and arguably one of the best golf yardage books, is Mark Long’s Yardage Book. He is a former caddie of 25 years and spends his days mapping out the tours golf courses and creating books to help caddies and professionals find their way around tour courses.

This could also be known as the pro yardage book since it is the one that all professionals use.

📢 Need To Know: Mark Long’s books are incredibly precise and detailed, which they need to be considering the difference of a couple of yards could change the way a professional player approaches a shot.

What exactly is in a pro golfers’ yardage book? They will see everything that is necessary to decide on a shot.

Elevation changes on a hole, distance from sprinklers to the edge of the fairway, the size of the green, distances to sand traps, the rough’s width, and everything else that a player would find helpful.

Can Pro Golfers Use Range Finders

To answer the question, can pro golfers use rangefinders, the rules of the USGA states that pros are not allowed to use golf rangefinders during competition. The wording states that artificial instruments are not to be used in gameplay.

They can, however, use them during practice play to get more acquainted with the course, but not once the competition is underway.

Yardage books are not considered artificial and are therefore allowed to be used in competitive play.

💡 Golfible Tip: You can learn about golf rangefinder in our Leupold Golf Rangefinder review while we also cover how to use a golf rangefinder


If you have any other questions or comments regarding professional use of yardage books, please leave them in the section below.


Can a rangefinder be used on the PGA Tour?

Rangefinders for golf can be used on the PGA Tour but strictly during practice rounds. The USGA has banned rangefinders from being deployed during tournament play. Many recreational tournaments allow rangefinders but with slope mode turned off. 

Do pro golfers use green books?

Yes, golfers can use green books to read the greens to see how much putts break and slope. As of 2022, the green-reading books have to be “committee approved”.

Are yardage books legal?

Yes, yardage books are legal for play on the PGA Tour and the R&A. They are also allowed in recreational play. Yardage books give players distances to the pin and to various locations on the course such as hazards and sand traps. 

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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