I often hear people at the golf course saying "what are the greens rolling today?" Immediately, I think “I wonder if they know what that means?” To many golfers this may mean nothing. Hopefully this post will help clarify this type of situation.
The stimpmeter was invented by Edward Stimpson, Sr. in 1935, the year he attended the U.S. Open at Oakmont. He was watching Gene Sarazen, of whom the Honours’ Golf Course Slammer & Squire is named. Mr. Stimpson saw Gene “The Squire” Sarazen putt a ball completely off of the green. When Stimpson witnessed this he thought that the greens were too fast and were playing unfair. Because of this day, Stimpson invented a tool to measure green speeds. Named after Stimpson, the stimpmeter is a 36 inch angled piece of aluminum that is held at a 145 degree angle and allows a golf ball to roll down a ramp like structure and onto the green. The distance of the golf ball’s roll out is measured on a flat spot on the green. The speed of the green is measured by how many feet the ball rolls after rolling down the stimpmeter. To ensure that the speed is correct three balls are rolled in two opposite directions. The average roll out of all of the golf balls is determined, which gives the green speed.
The USGA began using the stimpmeter in 1976 when they changed it from wood to aluminum. It is used to measure the green speeds for each USGA event. The USGA recommends the following speeds; 4.5 feet for slow greens, 6.5 feet for medium greens, and 8.5 feet for fast greens. In addition the stimpmeter is an essential tool to golf course superintendents. This tool allows them to keep green speeds consistent on each hole of the golf course. Golf courses managed by Honours Golf have greens that roll a minimum of 9 on the stimpmeter.
Next time you hear one of your buddies say “what do you think the greens rolling” you can impress them with your vast knowledge of the stimpmeter.