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This yardage book that PGA Tour pros use might be the most complicated thing in the world

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Mark Long is something of a legend on the PGA Tour. Aside from his gut-busting stories, the PGA Tour caddie creates the yardage books that all the other PGA Tour caddies use.

But it's not just regular yardage books, it's also yardage books specifically designed for the greens, charting every subtle change of slope on every inch of the putting surface. On a side note, if you ever wonder why PGA Tour players are so good at putting, this kind of information is probably one of the reasons.

Here's the cover of one of those yardage books for this week's venue, Harbour Town Golf Links.

It comes with a brief set of instructions, too. The books range in price from $40 to $60 depending on how much information you want. This is the $60 version, which calculates slope by degrees.


Here's what Harbour Town's first green looks like in person (from the back of the green):

And here's what it looks like in the yardage book:

Here's what what the biggest slope on the first green looks like:

And here's what it looks like in the yardage book:

I asked Brandt Snedeker, one of the PGA Tour's best putters, to help explain the book to me and he was just as lost as I was.

Related: A look inside Dustin Johnson's Pebble Beach yardage book

"I have no idea what any of this means," Snedeker said, his eyes fixated on all the millions of little lines in the book. "Luckily I've always had a pretty good knack for reading greens, so I don't use them. Some guys love these things, but for me, I don't want to over complicate things."