What Is A Stimpmeter In Golf?

What is a Stimpmeter, and why is it important? Simply put, a Stimpmeter is a device used to measure the speed of putting greens on a golf course. It’s a simple device, but one that plays a crucial role in how a golf course is set up and how golfers play on it. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what a Stimpmeter is, how it works, and why it’s important for golfers of all skill levels to understand.

The device consists of a wood or metal ramp with a notch at the end. A golf ball is rolled down the ramp and the distance it travels is measured. The Stimpmeter reading is the average distance of three balls in feet. Today, the Stimpmeter is used on golf courses around the world, from the PGA Tour to your local municipal course.

How To Use A Stimpmeter

Using a stimpmeter is a simple process that involves measuring the speed of the greens on a golf course. The first step is to find a flat area on the putting green where the ball can roll smoothly. Then, take the stimpmeter and place the notch on the ground, making sure that the groove is pointing in the opposite direction of the desired roll.

Drop the ball onto the stimpmeter, and then slowly raise the device until the ball rolls down the V-shaped groove and onto the green. The distance that the ball rolls is measured in feet, and this is known as the stimpmeter reading.

To get a more accurate average green speed, three measurements should be taken on each putting surface, and then the results should be averaged. This will give a good idea of the speed of the greens throughout the golf course. It is important to note that the stimpmeter should only be used on the putting greens and not on any other areas of the golf course.

Once the green speeds have been measured using the stimpmeter, golf course superintendents can use this information to adjust the mowing height and other maintenance practices to achieve the desired speed.

Golfers can also use the stimpmeter to determine how much force to use when putting, as the speed of the greens can greatly affect the distance that the ball travels. Overall, the stimpmeter is a valuable device used to measure green speeds and improve the quality of play on the golf course.

Who Invented The Stimpmeter

The stimpmeter was invented by Edward Stimpson, a civil engineer from California. Stimpson was an avid golfer who was frustrated with the lack of standardization when it came to measuring green speed. He felt that the game would benefit from a more objective way to measure green speed, and set out to create a device that could do just that.

In 1935, Stimpson created the first prototype of what would eventually become the stimpmeter. The device quickly gained popularity among golf course superintendents and others in the golf industry, and it wasn’t long before it became the standard way to measure green speed.

Today, the stimpmeter is used on golf courses all over the world, from the most exclusive private clubs to public courses accessible to anyone.

Average Stimpmeter Speed Of The Greens

The average stimpmeter speed of greens varies depending on the golf course and the level of play. For professional golf tournaments, green speeds can range from 10 to 14 on the stimpmeter, while for amateur play, the speeds may be between 6 and 9.

However, it is important to note that green speeds can also be affected by factors such as weather conditions, grass type, and maintenance practices. Golf course superintendents use stimpmeter readings to determine the appropriate level of maintenance required for the putting greens to ensure optimal playing conditions.

PGA Tour

On the PGA Tour, the green speeds can vary from week to week depending on factors such as weather, course conditions, and the desired difficulty level of the course. However, the average green speed on the PGA Tour ranges from about 10 to 13 feet on the stimpmeter, with some tournaments featuring greens that can roll as fast as 14 feet or more.

To put this in perspective, a stimpmeter reading of 10 feet would mean that a golf ball would roll 10 feet on a flat surface after being released from the stimpmeter.

The fast green speeds on the PGA Tour can present a significant challenge for golfers, especially when it comes to putting. The speed of the greens can affect the way that golfers read their putts and the amount of break that they need to play.

Additionally, the faster the greens, the more difficult it can be to stop the ball close to the hole on approach shots. As a result, golfers on the PGA Tour must have excellent putting skills and the ability to adjust to varying green speeds if they want to compete at the highest level.

Private Club

The average stimpmeter reading at private golf clubs varies widely, depending on the club’s desired green speed and the level of play of its members. Many private clubs aim for faster greens, often with an average stimpmeter reading of around 11 to 13. However, some clubs prefer to keep their greens slower, with stimpmeter readings averaging around 8 to 10.

The green speeds at private golf clubs are typically maintained by a team of experienced golf course superintendents and their staff.

They carefully manage the grass on the putting surfaces, using specialized equipment to mow the grass to a specific height and ensure that it is healthy and well-watered. The stimpmeter readings are used to guide the maintenance of the greens, as well as to help set the green speeds for various tournaments and events held at the club.

Public Club

The average stimpmeter reading at public golf clubs varies depending on the location, course design, and maintenance practices. Generally, public courses tend to have slower green speeds compared to private clubs, as they may not have the resources to invest in regular maintenance and upkeep.

The average green speeds at public courses can range from 8 to 10 feet on the stimpmeter, which is considered medium to slow. This makes them more forgiving for amateur golfers who may struggle with fast greens.

However, some public courses, especially those that host professional tournaments, invest in maintenance practices and equipment to achieve higher green speeds. For example, the Torrey Pines Golf Course, which hosts the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour, has an average stimpmeter reading of around 12 feet.

This indicates that the course has fast greens that require precise putting skills. Therefore, the average stimpmeter reading at public courses can vary widely and depend on various factors such as course design, maintenance, and location.


In conclusion, the stimpmeter is an essential device in golf that measures the speed of putting greens. It provides golf course superintendents and other golf professionals with accurate information about the conditions of the greens.

Most golfers, including amateur players, also use the stimpmeter to gauge the speed of the greens and adjust their putting techniques accordingly. While the average stimpmeter reading varies across golf courses, the PGA Tour typically has faster greens than private and public golf courses. Whether you’re watching golf or playing the sport, understanding how the stimpmeter works and its importance in golf can enhance your overall experience.

Latest posts by Travis (see all)

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap