Measuring Distances By Walking

This is not a new topic, but I do have a bit of different twist to the answer. Playing old school, before all the electronic devices showed up, means walking of all distances from a yardage marker. The longest distance I ever measured was 75 yards and that is because I could only find the blue 200 yard marker. The white and red markers were missing. So, not to be denied I paced off 75 steps, leaving 125 yards to the middle of the green. Makes sense….right?

Most golfers equate steps to yards. The automatically assume that their gait is one yard in length, so the math is very easy. Well, I am here to tell you that this is not the case and most players using the simplest of math will come up short on their yardage every time!

Being part of the military, I am trained to read a map, follow coordinates, and pace of distance. This was all taught to me during my orienteering phase of training many years ago. One of the man aspects to following a route is being able to pace off yardages between way points. To maintain accuracy of distance, I paced off 100 yards (measured by the training staff) ten times and determined the average number of steps over the ten attempts. In my case, my gait is such were I take 104 steps for 100 yards.

Pacing off to my ball is more than just counting steps!

Well, going back to my above example my 75 steps only measure 72 yards. This might not seem like much, but the distance left to the middle of the green is 128 yards. At this distance, I am not in between clubs. My PW travels 120 normally and can comfortably squeeze out 125 yards. Those three extra yards make a PW not my club of choice. I would drop down to a 9 iron and choke up 1 inch. That would give me the proper distance of 128 yards with an easy controlled swing.

I realize that the shorter the distance I need to pace off old school leaves less of an error. However, it is an error none the less. Especially if you are trying to make a delicate shot to short sided pin. One or two yards could make the difference between a great shot and missing the green.

I have paced off 100 yards and it has come in handy when playing golf. So, I ask again, Do you know how many steps it actually takes you to walk 100 yards on a flat level surface?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Measuring Distances By Walking

  1. Jim, it’s interesting and refreshing that with the availability of all the electronic measuring devices and technology in general, the tour still requires players and caddies to work old school. But with their pin sheets and yardage books, they probably have better intel than the average amateur with a device.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, I most certainly do not know how many steps I need to pace 100 yards. BUT, my gait is close enough to have used it to play old school for many years. What’s great about pacing; it provides perfect redundancy for failure of our electronic devices. During last weekend’s round, my range finder’s battery died. I didn’t have time to replace until getting to the next tee box and quickly reverted to old school to hit my approach shot. Backup system engaged!
    I have no metrics on this but would guess that the modern measuring devices are more of a convenience than anything and probably don’t save strokes for our games. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian,

      Your point is very valid. The place where I find the electronic measuring devices save.strokes is on courses I have only played once before or not at all. I am unfamiliar with the lay of the land, so when of center or slightly wayward, accurate measurements are important. Other than that, I agree. They are pretty much a convenience than a must have.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d rather trust my eyes than a measuring device. I realize that a GPS or laser range finder is more accurate but after years of playing using only my eyes, I find I’m accurate enough and having the exact yardage just complicates matters. And golf is already complicated enough. lol

    Liked by 1 person

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