How Do Tour Pros Map Out A Golf Course?

For pros, mapping out the golf course beforehand can be the difference between winning and losing.

How Do Tour Pros Map Out A Golf Course
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For pros, mapping out the golf course beforehand can be the difference between winning and losing

How Do Tour Pros Map Out A Golf Course?

Mick Doran is Eddie Pepperell's caddie and has worked with other European Tour stars such as Lee Westwood.

We spoke to Mick following Pepperell's win at the Qatar Masters and the veteran caddie told us about the importance of course management, planning ahead, playing to your game and being able to adapt to the conditions.

Practice rounds are key to professional golfers and their caddies, because they allow them to plot their way around the course and put together a game plan of the week.

According to Mick, this process starts with the yardage books.

"So first thing you get are the yardage books, and its got everything in there, you’ve got the grids of the greens so everything is done in 5 yards so you know where the flag is going to be."

"Yardage books these days you’ve got spots on the fairway, you’ve got spots on the side of the fairway, you’ve got numbers from the back and the front of a bunker."

In practice rounds, Mick gets some extra help in the form of his Bushnell laser, which he uses to get an immediate yardage reading.

"The yardage books are so detailed, but I use a laser during practice and I just zap the flag and it makes it a little easier."

Bushnell Pro X2

"Having the correct yardages is hugely important, and can be the difference between winning and losing. A big part of tournament plays if of course management, playing to Eddie's game and adapting."

Mick notes how during the practice rounds the wind was calm but throughout the week the wind picked up.

"So first hole, practice round we was hitting driver on the first hole, par 5, but come tournament day the wind had changed, the wind was kind of more off the right and slightly into, so we got this strong (Callaway XR) 3-wood which we use quite a bit its his favourite club. Couldn’t reach in two so, but we could carry the bunker and wouldn’t run out of fairway so its going to play as a three-shotter."

Related: Eddie Pepperell What's in The Bag?

The wind forced Eddie and Mick to adapt their plan throughout the week, to the extent of picking different clubs to play.

"The weather changed so I suggested to him to put the 3 iron in the bag instead of the 5 wood which would help quite a bit for a tee shot on number 7 where if we had the 5 wood in, it was quite hard to hold the fairway with. The 3 iron is just keeping it on a lower trajectory."

Eddie Pepperell and Mick Doran

Credit: Mark Newcombe /

Pepperell shot a final round 70 to win by one stroke over Oliver Fisher and had this to say "My course management was very good, Mick was fantastic on that front and I had to just play to my strengths today which I felt were my wedge play and my putting."

Golf Monthly spoke to Mick Doran who is a Bushnell ambassador 

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV