A Stimpmeter, designed in 1935 by golfer Edward S. Stimpson, Sr., is used to measure the speed of a golf course putting green by applying a known velocity to a golf ball and measuring the distance traveled in feet.
Golfers and commentators on TV often mention greens speeds, but many spectators don’t know how they’re measured. The USGA, for instance, measures greens speed with a Stimpmeter. This device, designed in 1935 by golfer Edward S. Stimpson, Sr., is used to measure the speed of a golf course putting green by applying a known velocity to a golf ball and measuring the distance traveled in feet.
The device is an extruded aluminum bar, 36 inches long and 1.75 inches wide, with a 145° V-shaped groove extending along its entire length, supporting the ball at two points, 0.50 in apart. It is tapered at one end by removing metal from its underside to reduce the bounce of the ball as it rolls onto the green.
It has a notch at a right angle to the length of the bar 30 inches from the lower tapered end where the ball is placed. The notch may be a hole completely through the bar or just a depression in it.
The ball is pulled out of the notch by gravity when the device is slowly raised to an angle of about 20°, rolling onto the green at a repeatable velocity of 6.00 ft/s. The distance travelled by the ball in feet is the ‘speed’ of the putting green. Six distances, three in each of two opposite directions, should be averaged on a flat section of the putting green. The three balls in each direction must be within 8 inches of each other for USGA validation of the test.
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