Tech Tip

How to build your own Stimpmeter
OK, I know that I have way to much time on my hands to be doing this stuff, but I decided to make my own stimpmeter to measure the speed of my green. I couldn't find out where to buy a real one, and I hear that they are around $50, so here is a little project that is easy and will give you a tool to measure the speeds and performance of your green. A "USGA" approved stimpmeter is a 36" aluminum bar with a groove to hold the ball. To build your own stimpmeter, go to your home center / lumber yard and get a 4' section of moulding called "cove moulding" (s/b about $3.00). This moulding is flat on the back with a perfect golfball size groove in the center. Cut a length to 36". The groove for the ball should be 6" from the top. With a coping saw, carefully notch a 1/8" wide groove into the wood at 6". Place a ball in this groove and test to see if it releases when the top side is elevated. The correct release point is 20 degrees. You will have to play with the notch until you feel you are getting it to release at this angle. Finally, bevel the underside of the bottom edge, so that the angle at the bottom is smoother.

Now, to use your new stimpmeter, you will need three balls and a bunch of tees. First, find a flat level area of your green. Mark your start point with a tee (next to the tapered end of the meter. Roll three balls in one direction and mark the average a tee. They should come to rest within 8" of each other or the test is invalid. Then move to that tee and repeat a 3 ball test back towards the starting tee. The average (in feet) of the two tests is your greenspeed.

If you have tips for improving speed other than the obvious (double cut, roll, top-dress), then please send them to me for posting. Greens at Sahalee (last year's PGA championship) were running 11.5 feet, and normally run 10 feet for the members. There are a lot of other factors that influence greenspeed , but here is an estimate of cutting heights and predicted stimp readings:

Cutting HeightStimpmeter reading

Backyard Putting Green Construction Manual
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