The Stimpmeter

'what is it and how is it used?'
A stimpmeter is a device that measures the speed of the green. The Stimpmeter is an extruded aluminum bar, 36 inches long, with a V-shaped groove extending along its entire length. It has a precisely milled ball-release notch 3-" from the tapered end (the end that rests on the ground). The underside of the tapered end is milled away to reduce bounce as a rolling ball makes contact with the green. The V-shaped groove has an included angle of 145 degrees, thereby supporting a golf ball at two points 1/2" apart. A all rolling down the groove has a slight overspin, which is thoroughly consistent and has no deleterious effect on the ensuing measurements. The ball-release notch is designed so that a ball will always be released and start to roll when the Stimpmeter is raised to an angle of approximately 20 degrees. This feature ensures that the velocity of the ball will always be the same when it reaches the tapered end.

The end result from the ball accelerating down the stimpmeter ramp is a speed of 6.00 ft/s. The distance that the ball travels is the stimp speed (i.e. 10.5 ft roll  means a stimp speed of 10.5) To take a correct reading you have to find a level area. Roll three balls in one direction making sure they roll almost exactly the same distance. Mark the distance, reverse the direction and repeat. Take an average of the readings and that will give you the stimp measurement.

Stimpmeter reading can range widely depending on many factors such as height of cut, grass species, moisture levels and so on. At Cordova Bay, we attempt to maintain readings in the 9.6 to 10.6 range. FYI: Greens at Masters "stimped at 13.5 this year. Like putting down a marble staircase". The lower handicap players can appreciate this speed, while at the same time keeping the speed reasonable for the higher handicap players. Overly fast greens can cause slow play. In most cases today, the type of facility dictates how fast the greens should play and the superintendent must manage this area as required.