What Are Golf Fairway Markers?

By Robert Preston
Yardage markers can help you choose the right club.
Yardage markers can help you choose the right club.

Golf fairway markers are a series of disks placed on courses, usually on par 4s or par 5s, that signify the distance from that point in the fairway to the center of the green. The markers are color coded according to distance, and while most courses use the same system, check with a course employee if you are unsure.


Yardage markers come in a few primary forms on most courses. Most common are colored disks at set distances on every hole. Generally, a red disk denotes 100 yards to the center of the green, white 150 yards and blue 200 yards. Many courses also mark sprinkler heads with the distance to the center of the green as well. Finally, courses often place colored posts or unique trees to indicate distance, the most common being at 150 yards.

Yardage Diagrams

Another useful tool for determining yardage is to consult yardage diagrams. Some courses offer hole diagrams on scorecards, while others offer booklets with more thorough yardage breakdowns that include distances to the hole and from the tee box for various landmarks such as doglegs, hazards or other fixed objects that can be represented.

Other Range Devices

In addition to yardage markers, players can carry devices that will help them determine yardage to the green or the pin without the aid of a marker or diagram. Some rangefinders use the relative size of the flag to determine distance to the pin when you look through the scope. Modern technology includes GPS devices capable of reading precisely where you are on a hole and giving you a yardage readout to the green and other locations.

Using Yardage to Your Advantage

The key to effectively utilizing yardage markers is to know how long you hit each of your clubs consistently. Without this knowledge, knowing how far away you are can't help you. It is also important to factor in changes in elevation and wind conditions, which can cause you to play as if you were hitting to a flag that was farther or closer.

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