Yardage Book: A page from a pro
AN OPEN BOOK
PGA Tour caddie Paul Tesori has detailed information in his Augusta National yardage books that he accumulated in 10 years of caddying in the Masters Tournament, but he isn’t worried about revealing some of the secrets to other caddies and their players.
“That’s nothing for me to hide,” Tesori said.
“Before they let us walk the golf course, I might have been a little more fretting about some of the information because it took me so many years (to compile it).
“But now, they let the caddies go out (and walk the course) without the players, so most of the caddies have good information.”
CHAPTER 2: CADDIES TURN THE PAGE
These days, there’s a lot more than numbers in the yardage books used by veteran caddies in the Masters.
Caddie Paul Tesori has added eight pieces of information – only three of which involve yardages – to his copy of the book provided by Augusta National.
He charts the wind direction that day, whether it is an uphill or downhill shot, the yardage to the front of the green, the yardage to the pin, what club was hit, how the club was hit, the distance the shot flew in the air and where the shot finished.
That’s a far cry from the pre-1970s, before yardage books. Back then, Augusta National caddies memorized yardages from landmarks such as trees.
“When I caddied, I knew what the yardage from that tree on the right side of the trap on No. 1 was to where the pins would be,” said 71-year-old Augustan Jerry Beard, who caddied in 26 Masters (1956-65 and 1967-82) and helped Fuzzy Zoeller win the 1979 Masters as a Masters rookie.
The advent of yardage books did away with “landmark yardage.”
“Why would you want to use a landmark that is way over there when you can use a sprinkler head that is right here?” asked Mike Cowan, who will be caddying in his 30th consecutive Masters this year.
Jim Mackay has caddied for three-time champion Phil Mickelson in all 20 of his Masters appearances. He said he has cataloged every one of Mickelson’s shots in the Masters, but because of the advances in the golf ball and equipment, “95 percent of those numbers have become unusable.”
Mackay has kept every yardage book from the Mickelson years in the Masters, with those from the three victories stored “in a special place in my closet,” he said.
“What I have that I really like for me, as a caddie, is the pin sheets,” he said. “You can go to them and see he had 212 (yards to the pin on his second shot) on (the par-5) No. 15. It helps you remember the shots from his wins there.”
Mackay doesn’t have a yardage book for each year Mickelson played in the Masters.
“Some of it would come down to superstition,” Mackay said. “If he’d won the previous year, I would certainly use it again.”
CHAPTER 3: A PAGE FROM A PRO
A glance at one of veteran PGA Tour caddie Paul Tesori’s Masters yardage books shows just how specialized “the book” can be.
THE FINE PRINT
The data Paul Tesori collects in his Masters Tournament yardage book goes beyond the distance from tee to green.
APPROACH SHOT: Tesori charts eight pieces of information on each approach shot to the 18th green. His marks on the fifth line (first line below the box) are explained below:
166f: The distance to front of the green was 166 yards.
177pn: The distance to the pin is 177 yards.
+8: The shot was uphill, 8 yards.
18: The wind was blowing 18 mph, slightly to the right
7: The player used a 7-iron to the green.
HC: The player’s shot was a high cut.
169: The shot flew 169 yards in the air
175: The shot traveled 175 yards after it rolled out.
PIN PLACEMENT: Tesori recorded where the pin was located on No. 18 in each round of the Masters from 2006-10. His marks from the second round of the 2007 tournament (second column, third row) are explained below:
28: The number of paces from the front of the green to the pin was 28.
4R: The pin was positioned four paces from the right edge of the green.
4o: The number of paces over an obstacle, such as a bunker, was four.
6B: The distance from behind the pin to the edge of the green was six paces.
ON THE GREEN
The arrows indicate the direction putts will break, based on Tesori’s past experience at Augusta National Golf Club.
Tesori marks the percent of the slope on the 18th green in three areas: 5 percent, 6.5 percent and 4.8 percent.
At the bottom right of the green, “R.C.” stands for Rae’s Creek and what Tesori calls the Rae’s Creek Influence on putts at Augusta National. Putts will break toward the portion of Rae’s Creek behind the 11th green, the lowest point on the course.