Accuracy of golf course yardage markers

I constantly hear ams of all handicaps, mini tour pros and PGA Tour pros complain about sprinkler yardages, yardage posts and yardages their caddies gave them.

I have been guilty of this myself.

Once during a round in the midst of shooting a 65, I hit a shot on a par 3 to about 2 feet. A 25 handicap asked me how far it played, he knifed the ball over the green and told me I gave him the wrong yardage because he knows how far he hits it.

Another time I gave out a yardage to friend and he airmailed the green by 30 yards. He yelled and screamed at me. We come to find out, he hit 6 iron, instead of the 9 he intended.

The yardage markers being wrong is almost always ignorance or stupidity on the part of the golfer.

If you take what I am about to say literally, you will improve your golf game.

The more solid I hit a shot, the more accurate the yardage markers seem to be.

The more I pay attention to the lie, wind and other factors that affect how far a ball goes…the more accurate yardage markers seem to be.

The less I worry about how much distance I am getting out of my irons, the more accurate yardage markers seem to be.

The less serious I take myself, the more accurate yardage markers seem to be.

The less I worry about the EXACT yardage I have, the more accurate the yardage markers seem to be.




  1. north

    For the most part, it’s as you said, but I do have a couple of courses where I know specific markers are off (say 20 yards off) and it does make it interesting watching people new to the course play those holes.

    Give me a gps any day.

  2. Greg

    Rio Hondo has some great messages on there sprinkler heads. On some of the par 5’s when you’re still out about 275 or more they have mesages like “In your dreams” or “Not even Daly”. Then there’s my favorite “Don’t even think about it.”

  3. meateater

    Good stuff as usual, Monte. I agree obsessing about the exact yardage is counterproductive for amateurs, but I recently rceived a laser rangefinder as a gift, and I have to say, it does speed up play. No more hunting for a sprinkler head or pacing off. You also can tell exactly how far to carry a hazard, etc.

  4. Calvin

    Yardage markers are just one factor in club selection anyway. If you are at the 150 marker hitting uphill to a deep green with the pin on the back you still have choices to make. Sometimes when your touch is really there a club will actually call out “hit me, hit me”. 🙂

    I have paced off a few markers and they were always accurate. They won’t tell you what your best club choice is tough.

    • Calvin

      “though” not “tough”

  5. HoldTheLag

    Nowadays you can make your own yardage book ahead of time by using Google Maps with the measurement tool. No more worrying!

    But spot on with the blog post Monte, I absolutely agree and that’s not a knee jerk pandering answer.

  6. Calvin

    How to choose a club.

    • north

      Shots are shorter when measured in yeards.

  7. Brian

    You mean people still play golf without a range finder?

  8. FredL

    Not only are the yardage markers wrong…but also the GPS and Laser range finders. I swear, I don’t hit my drives that short! 🙂

  9. John Volo

    I have an unusual situation regarding course markers and sections on a golf course that is under repair.

    My friend and I tee’d off on a hole where the green was under repair. A temporary green was put in front of the regular green in the fairway about 15 or 20 yards closer than the regular green under repair, making the hole shorter. The tee area was also further back than usual. There was a marker that read 135 yards to the green. When we Tee’d off neither of us noticed that we were hitting to a temporary green closer than the regular green. I hit a weak 8 iron and landed 10 or 12 feet from the pin. My friend hit his ball past the temporary green. He landed about pin high and to the left of the green under repair. When we got to the green area we then noticed the situation for the first time. My friend was considerably further away from the pin than me. I ended up with a par and he ended up with either a bogie or double bogie. He then claimed that this hole should not count in our match because the 135 marker was measured to the regular green under repair. He claimed that since the yardage that he read was incorrect, it influenced him to use the wrong club. I claimed the hole should count in our match and that he could not play the hole over. Contrary to my suggestion he went back and played it again and got a par. I told him that he must use the first score for the match. A disagreement ensued. Can anyone tell me if there is an OFFICIAL rule that covers this situation?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      It’s tough noogies for your friend. He has no idea what he is saying.


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