Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Truth About Green Speed - Part 1

Golf course putting green speed is measured with a device called a "Stimpmeter".   The Stimpmeter is basically an aluminum channel on which a golf ball rests.  When one end is raised to a specific height, the ball travels down the channel and travels a certain distance on the green.  That distance is measured in feet and is then considered the speed of the green.  So a green with a speed of 10 means that the ball traveled 10 feet from the Stimpmeter.
Green speed notification at the pro shop.
The original intention of the Stimpmeter was to ensure that all the greens on a course were of relatively equal speed. This would provide the Superintendent with a method to evaluate the speed of different greens and then take the appropriate action to make them equal.
The "Stimpmeter"
However, many golfers misuse Stimpmeter readings by comparing them to other golf courses or by equating them to green quality.  They think the faster the greens, the better the quality and that is absolutely false. The quest for fast greens has serious consequences in terms of cost, environmental quality and the long-term health of the green.  Additionally, comparing greens to other courses is flawed without considering course architecture.

Measuring green speed.