Friday, July 22, 2016

Stimpmeter and Green Speeds

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

One of the most significant aspects of a golf course is the uniformity and/or consistency of its putting greens.  Variations in speed, whether from one green to the next or on different parts of the same green, can negatively impact a player’s score.  The best way to monitor the consistency of green speeds is the use of a stimpmeter.  Manufactured by the USGA, the stimpmeter is a simple, accurate tool that allows one to make a standard measurement of, and place a numerical figure on, the speed of a putting green.
Pictured above are the tools needed to measure the speed of putting greens: a tee, 2 golf balls and a stimpmeter with a ruler etched on its side.

Faster is not necessarily better, nor should it be the goal.  This especially holds true for everyday play because putting greens that are too fast will slow play.  Determining an appropriate green speed varies considerably from each golf facility and is dependent on many factors, some of which include: turfgrass species, putting green architecture and construction method, budget, time of year, weather, knowledge and golfer ability.  As for GBCC, the appropriate green speed is maintained between 11’ and 11.5’ on the stimpmeter.  However, speeds may increase/decrease for special events per the request of: Golf and Grounds Committee, Board of Directors, Proshop and/or event attendees.  Lastly, to give you a comparison of our maintained speeds to this week’s PGA event, The RBC Canadian Open; their greens speeds are 11.5’ on the stimpmeter.  

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