If you are a beginner golfer, there is a good chance you have never heard the terms stimp meter or stimp rating. In fact, the occasional golfer who heads out to the course for leisure may also not know what a stimp rating is. But, a stimp meter is rather important to the speed of a course so it does help to know about it, even if just a little.
Now, if you have played golf for any significant length of time, you should have heard experienced golfers mention how a golf property green is “stimping.” In short, a stimp meter is a tool used to measure the speed of a golf course. The stimp rating is obtained by rolling a ball down a small ramp (stimp meter) in eight varying directions. The rating is actually the average distance the ball rolls after touching the green.
For example, a stimp rating of ten indicates that, based on eight separate rolls, the ball rolled an average of ten feet after reaching the green. Most golf courses that are part of the Professional Golfers Association run at a stimp rating anywhere from 10 to 12. The higher the stimp rating, the faster the course will be. Most local golf courses maintain an average stimp rating between seven to ten.
Unless you are playing competitively or alongside other golfers who play competitively, you probably will care very little about the stimp rating of a course. Regardless, the stimp rating really is quite important and can impact your game. Actually, it may explain why you had a “bad” day on the green. For example, you may score fairly well on a local course with an average rating whereas you may score much lower on a course with a higher stimp rating and, consequently, a faster course.
Something else to consider in measuring the stimp rating is the turf you are playing on. In the past, the difference between the stimp rate between artificial turf and natural grass was obvious. However, manufactures today are more much serious about artificial grass. Many have developed a unique “natural bend” feature that moves just as real grass. With that in mind, there really should be little difference in the stimp meter reading with the artificial turf today.
For golfers who prefer to putt at home to get some extra practice time, you can buy an outdoor synthetic turf to use in your backyard. If you know the stimp rating of the next course you will play, you can adjust the putting green’s rating to that of the anticipated course. Of course, with any purchase, research the product and manufacturer to get a good grasp of the pros and cons of the practice green before you go out and purchase a particular system.
If the speed of a course is really not that important to you, then you probably need to know little, if anything, about the stimp rating at the courses on which you play. However, if someone asks you how the golf green is stimping, you can now impress them with an answer!