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How to measure the speed of the Green – Stimpmeter

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Índice de contenidos: How to measure the speed of the Green – Stimpmeter

How to measure Green’s speed? First a little history of the Stimpmeter.


One of the most representative characteristics of the quality of a golf course is the speed of the putting greens, and that this is similar on all the greens. The first study of this parameter dates back to 1932 when it was carried out using the “Arnott putter” built to test the first speed tests. Later in 1937 Eddie Stimpson invented the current stimpmeter. We have the first records from 1946 to 1973, values with average speeds of 2.5 feet, with the 1963 U.S. Open tournament speed of 2.7 feet.

Fast putting greens and slow putting greens on a course can be more uncomfortable for a player than high fairwais or poorly tended bunkers. It is not only important that the speeds are appropriate to the needs of our players, but also that they are homogeneous on all the greens.

The speed changes according to the conditions of the putting green, you can measure it frequently to see how it evolves.

Most greenkeepers are aware of the problem and are looking for ways to achieve consistent speeds. There are a multitude of variables that influence that speed and it is always interesting to collect not only that information at the same time but also the grass height, roll, firmness, wetness, etc…in order to determine all the information about the playability in an optimal way.

It is very important to collect all the information together.

Speed measurements are made with the stimpmeter, a standardised system that allows you to compare putting greens on your course and with other courses.

The modern Stimpmeter system is a 91.44 centimetre long (36 inches) extruded aluminium bar that has a 145-degree “V” notch running the length of its two sides. On each of the two fronts is a notch, the “1X” is positioned at 76.2 centimetres (30 inches) from the base. This is the normal test length and should be used normally. The “2X” notch is on the other side and positioned at 35.56 centimetres (14 inches) from the base, it is intended for measuring narrow areas of the putting green where a long ball shot is not possible.

Each end of the Stimpmeter is wedge-shaped to reduce the bounce of the ball as it falls from the stimpmeter onto the putting green.

How is speed measured?

The first step is to choose a suitable position. It should be a location on the green that is as horizontal as possible and wide enough for the ball to roll, between 3 and 4 metres (10-12 feet). The starting point is marked with a tee.

The use of the Stimpmeter is simple, its initial position is lying down with the ball in the notch, preferably the “1x”. It is tilted from horizontal to reach the angle (20º) at which the ball starts to roll and the angle is maintained until the stimpmeter reaches the putting green. A tee is left at the point where the ball stops rolling.

Practice makes perfect, measurements will gain consistency as you use the tool.

The above step is performed 3 times, measuring the 3 distances from the initial tee and the final tee. The values are noted and the same procedure is repeated from the point where the balls have stopped and letting them roll in the direction in which they were originally launched.

The 3 results are noted again and the average of the 6 values is taken, that is the speed of the green.

The “2x” notch is used for narrow areas and the procedure is the same, only the final result must be multiplied by 2.

Speed is a function of many variables

It should be noted that:

The measuring point should be flat and without slopes. if the putting green is large, it can be two points.

To publish the speed for the players the conditions must be good, freshly mown, dry, gravelly, windless. Although if you enjoy knowing you can check and note the speed in different situations, such as freshly mowed, wet, unmowed…

Tiloom offers you the USGA Stimpmeter, ask us at info@tiloom.com and we will send you a quote for the official instrument.

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