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The Stimpmeter October 3, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Sports.
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Many of the golfers among you may have at one point or another in your golfing lives, been caught out by a visiting tourist asking about your greens … “What do they run at on the Stimpmeter ?” you may have been asked, and looking agog at the tourist, not been able to make head nor golfing tail out of what they were asking …

Well, the Stimpmeter is the official USGA reading of the speed of a golf green. The higher the reading – in feet – the faster the green, and the more likely you are to miss the feckin’ putt.

The device is named after its creator – Edward Stimpson – who wanted to measure the speed of greens he deemed unfair, having watched the US Open at Oakmont in 1935.

Here is a Stimpmeter …


One must roll the ball down the chute (a known speed and force) and then take several readings from different parts of the green, as to how far the ball rolls – on the flat, on inclines and rises and average out the figure to give a final Stimpmeter reading in feet.

Thus a green running at 5 feet on the Stimpmeter is a slow green and the harder you have to hit the ball and vice versa.  Tiger Woods and the lads on the PGA tour face greens of 10 feet and upwards every week which is insane !  My local club has greens that run at somewhere between 4 and 5.5 feet in the summer – like treacle in other words … and the ruination of many’s a decent round.

The Stimpmeter – so now you know !



1. Lenny L. - December 12, 2008

You forgot to mention that after a reading is taken, the Stimpmeter should be placed on the opposite direction so that another reading is taken;this is to give a more accurate green speed.For even better accuracy,A.Douglas Brede’s formula should be used in the calculation when several readings have been taken on both flat areas and slopes on the green.

2. Rambling Man - December 13, 2008

nice to know – thanks Lenny

3. Bill - June 17, 2009

also forgot to mention the height of the ramp off of the green surface. 12 inches, 16 inches, 20 inches all would result in a different ball speed off the ramp thus different distance

Steve - October 11, 2009

It’s not a function of height. It’s a function of angle. The ball should release from the retaining notch, which is 30″ from the end, at 20 degrees.

Garnet - November 3, 2011

How high is 20 degrees on 36″

Chris - February 9, 2012

on a flat surface the end of the stimpmeter should come about 12.5 inches off the ground. That would be the prpoer height of release for the corresponding 20 degree angle.

4. Shawn - December 19, 2013

at 30″ with the angle 20-degrees the ball will be sitting in the notch at almost exactly 10.25 inches. The end of the Stimp meter will be 12.3 inches above the ground. The formula is SIN(angle) = Opposite Side Height / Hypotenuse Length (long side of right triangle). So we have SIN(20) = x / 30 for the height the ball sits in the notch above the ground and we have SIN(20) = x / 36 for the height the end of the Stimp meter sits above the ground. You could cross check the math too using cross multiplication….. 30/10.24 = 36/x …. 30x = 368.64 … x = 368.64/30 …. x = 12.28 which is practically 12.3″ above ground at 36″ using a 20-degree angle off the ground for the ramp.

5. Arup Gupta - February 19, 2014

thanks everyone…very good inputs for us casual golfers

6. David Clifford - April 5, 2017

geeez our greens are bent grass and our average speed is 10 at 13 they are lighting fast but so good and accurate to putt on, so when we do go to another club to play pennant and greens are approx 5-8 they are dead slow and the back swing with the putter is like hitting a driver LOL
have fun with your slow greens i find them terrible to putt on

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