Green Speed – Measuring Golf Greens and the Stimpmeter
The speed of greens is measured as the average distance a golf ball will roll when it’s released from a Stimpmeter. The Stimpmeter is made from aluminium and has a single V-shaped groove along its entire length. The ball is placed in a very precise notch which releases the ball at a 20 degree angle.
The Stimpmeter was invented by a fellow named Eddie Stimpson, but it wasn’t until the USGA adopted and modified the device in 1978 that it was accepted as a universal method for measuring green speed.
As the Stimpmeter is tilted to the correct angle, the ball is released and it rolls down the Stimpmeter gaining speed before rolling across the green. The ball is released at a repeatable speed of 6ft/sec. By measuring the length of a number of rolls and calculating the average, the speed of greens can be calculated.
1) Tilting the Stimpmeter to a 20 degree angle, the ball is released.
2) A marker is placed where the ball is released from the Stimpmeter.
3) A marker is placed where the ball comes to a complete rest. It’s the average distance the golf balls roll, measured in feet, which give the speed of greens.
The process should be completed in the opposite direction on a flat surface of the green and it’s the overall average which is used to indicate the speed of greens.
Amateur Green Speeds
Slow green – 4.5 feet
Medium Green – 6.5 feet
Fast Green – 8.5 feet
Open and Professional Events
Slow green – 6.5 feet
Medium Green – 8.5 feet
Fast Green – 10.5 feet
Masters 2010 at Augusta National
Speed Green – 12 to 12.5ft
Not only are the greens at Augusta lighting fast, but very rarely are the putts flat with some very contoured green. Approaches have to be spot on as anything left, right, short or long is simply punished.
In 1981 Augusta changed its grass on its greens to make them run faster and truer. Before 1981 Bermuda grass was used. Bermuda grass is a warm season grass that grows laterally with the grain affecting the roll of the ball. Since 1981, Bent grass has been used which grows thinner and upright and therefore does not affect the role of the ball as much.
What has this changed? Well before 1981 there was 6 under 10 winner scores posted. Since then, only once in the last 9 years has a winner shot in double figures.