Knowledge Base

What Is A Stimpmeter?

When watching golf on the television then you might hear the commentators discussing all sorts of intricate stat and markers about what exactly is going on with the player’s game, but one that might really throw you off is when they start talking about the stimpmeter.

It’s such an odd word that you might really feel as though you have no idea what they’re talking about.

You wouldn’t be alone, although there are tons of golf terms used by a variety of different people, from professionals to people who play a game once a year.

However, even among avid golfers worldwide, the term “stimpmeter” isn’t particularly well known.

However, the device is pretty important and could be helpful to know more about. A stimpmeter’s one primary function is to calculate the greed speeds.

Knowing this can help if you’re an amateur, usually because if you have a faster green you’re going to find it harder to aim correctly and putt consistently.

That said, professionals usually tend to want to have a faster green speed as it means that they can get the ball started on the correct line.

In order to help you out, here is everything that you need to know about stimpmeters and green speeds.

What Are Green Speeds?

It’s all fine and well saying that this is a device that measures the green speed, however, if you’re still scratching your head, going into more detail about the stimpmeter isn’t going to clear anything up.

So with that in mind, here is a brief explanation of what a green speed is.

A green speed is a numerical value given to the land that represents how fast the ball can roll over that surface. The value here is based on a measurement taken by using a stimpmeter.

The lower the stimp value, the slower the greens – this means that the ball doesn’t roll very easily, usually because the terrain is bumpy for whatever reason.

This means that you need to put with less power and more precision.

A course with a higher stimp number is therefore is going to allow the ball to rill faster as there is less resistance. This means that you can hit the ball with more power and it will stay true to where you aimed it.

The History of Stimpmeters

The original stimpmeter was designed by Edward Stimpson SR, a golfer in 1935. He was an amateur state golfer in Massachusetts and used to be the Harvard team captain.

Apparently, Stimpson first got the idea of how to measure the green speed after watching the 1935 U.S Open at Oakmount.

Although the original design for the stimpmeter was created nearly 100 years ago now, it honestly hasn’t really changed all that much since it was updated by the United States Golfing Association (USGA) in 1976 and made available to gold courses.

In 2013, the USGA rolled out the latest version that is still sued today, although, as previously mentioned, it hasn’t really seen much of a design change.

How Does A Stimpmeter Work?

Stimpmeters themselves are very non-technical. They look very similar to a yardstick, except with a V-shaped track down the middle measuring about 3 yards.

It’s truthfully just a small ramp that the golf ball rolls down.

The course’s superintendent or a tournament official will measure the green speed by rolling the balls down the ramp and then only a flat part of the green.

Then, depending on how far the ball rolls after the ramp, the stimp rating can be determined.

So for example, if a ball rolls for a further 10 feet, then the stimp rating for the green that day is 10. No, seriously, that’s all it means.

“What is a Stimpmeter?” by Golf Digest on YouTube.

Changing Green Speeds

Generally, over time, stimp ratings have been getting a lot higher. This means that there has been a drastic change in green speeds and how fast your game of golf is going to be able to go.

In the years since the stimpmeter was invented, green speeds have been going way up around the world.

This is probably due to the officials around the gold courses wanting to have the best courses available, and assuming that most people are going to want a higher stimp number.

The History of Stimpmeters

For example, in 1978 the greens used at The Masters stimped below 8. But then in 2017, the green speeds at the Masters were typically around 12 or higher.

Obviously, this depends on the weather, etc, but a difference that significant is definitely notable.

Frequently Asked Questions about Stimpmeters

Can You Buy Your Own Stimpmeter?

Honestly the easiest answer is no, not really. They don’t really sell any official stimpmeters, typically because a good course is going to have its own, and very few people have their own at-home golf courses. There are a few ways that you can make your own version if you really wanted to, and this is a good resource on how to create one.

What Is Considered A Fast Green Speed?

In general, anything over an 11 for a stimp value is going to be considered very fast amongst most golfers. Some of the fastest speeds that have been reported are around 14 or 15.

Bottom Line

There’s not really much more to report on stomping, but now you have the information you’ll be able to share it with your friends next time you’re watching the gold.

Or if you go to play a few holes you’ll be able to impress them by asking the intendants at the club if they know what the green speeds are that day.

By Andrew Barrett

Hi, my name is Andrew Barrett, and I have been a keen golfer for the last 15 years. As a teenager, I used to attend my local golf club and resort with my father, and I quickly realized that it was the perfect sport for me. From here, I decided to take the sport more seriously, and have been playing regularly with family and friends since.

Over the years, I have picked up many useful skills and tips about golf. I have decided to set up my site, Golf Link, as a way to share my knowledge and tips with other keen golfers. Through this site, I will be talking you through general golfing knowledge, and I will also be reviewing golf clubs and equipment too.