Gene Andrews

"Father of Playing by Yardage"

Gene Andrews undeniably changed the game we all love, and his practices are still used by amateurs and professionals to this day. Nicknamed the “Father of Playing by Yardage,” the Whittier native is best known for creating the yardage book.

Andrews would walk a course during practice rounds and chart yardages in a book or on a scorecard. He began selling these yardage books to courses, and the practice became wildly popular among caddies and players in the early 1970s. 

According to a legendary interaction between Jack Nicklaus and Deane Beman, who would later become the second commissioner of the PGA Tour, Beman got the idea to chart yardages from Andrews. In a practice round for the 1961 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Beman told Nicklaus about the new method, and he wrote down specific yardages on a scorecard while walking the course. Nicklaus won the 1961 U.S. Amateur with all 12 rounds that week under par. When Nicklaus won the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, his first professional victory, he was credited as being the first winner to use a yardage book in the tournament.

Although he did not commit to playing professionally, Andrews was also a top amateur golfer. He won the 1954 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and later the 1970 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. He also competed in three Masters and two U.S. Opens.