Stimpmeter, A love story

  • I will typically do the stimping myself, shortly after the final prep of the surface (either a mow, a roll, or both).
  • Our numbers are not posted, but they are also not a secret. I’m happy to share the numbers with anyone who asks. As time has gone on, many of our members who see me stimpmeter in hand, enjoy guessing the day’s number.
  • I have a subset of six putting surfaces across the course that will always be stimped. Often I’ll do more, but if I’m gone and one of the assistants stimps, I only ask them to do the usual six.
  • I generally use the same location on each green, each time.
  • I use a tape measure for accuracy and I don’t cheat-I write down the actual numbers. Since we do not post the speed, there’s no benefit to recording a number that isn’t 100% accurate.
  • I use the Brede Method to compensate for the effect of gravity. This makes the selection of a location easier because the surface doesn’t need to be level, the ball only needs to roll straight. On a flat area, the Brede correction is small. The greater the distance between the uphill and downhill roll, the larger the correction.
  • The numbers are entered into a spreadsheet, where the speed is identified using the Brede equation of (2 x uphill x downhill) / (uphill + downhill)
  • The real greenspeed our members enjoy for daily play.
  • On our greens, rolling is vital. If we don’t roll, we will be 6–12” slower. Obviously rolling makes greens faster, this is not a revelation. However, I was amazed by just how much faster. It will take multiple days of rolling consecutively to reach the max speed for that day’s conditions. However, as soon as we skip a day of rolling, this effect is immediately lost. [Disclaimer: this is the case on our greens. I do not know if the effect exists on different greens of different construction and grass type.]
  • Extra rolling does not result in a sustained speed increase. Immediately after a second roll, the speed is higher, but 30 minutes later, the speed from one roll and the double roll speed are the same.
  • When all variables remain relatively similar, mowing and rolling each day results in a speed plateau. If the weather is the same and we mow and roll for five straight days, the speed each day, will be nearly identical beginning about day 2 or 3. If we want to increase the speed, a variable needs to change. Height of cut drop, increase in number of mows, etc.

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Chris Tritabaugh

Chris Tritabaugh

Husband, dad and Golf Course Supt | 👀 to help & be inspired by others, while also inspiring & learning from them | I ply my trade and hone my craft @Hazeltine