Fast and Furious Golf Greens

Green speed is a major factor in putting. No wonder turf managers and golf architects spend a lot of time focused on the putting surface to make the conditions perfect for golfing. There are a lot of ingredients behind a good green – smoothness, firmness, and uniformity, to name few.

The device that measures green speedsis called a stimpmeter. Basically, it measures the distance a golf ball rolls (in feet) from applying a known force. (a.k.a BRD – Ball Roll Distance). It looks like a little roller coaster – put the ball at the top, and see how far it rolls across the green.

USGA Stimpmeter

USGA Stimpmeter

“Stimpmeter”  is named after its inventor, Edward Stimpson. Stimpson invented it in 1935, after watching golfers who were flummoxed by the speed of the greens during the 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. The device wasn’t used in an official way by the USGA until 1976

Here is a table that USGA uses to classify the green speed on a course.

Category Membership Play Championship Play
Fast 8′ 6″ 10′ 6″
Medium Fast 7′ 6″ 9′ 6″
Medium 6′ 6″ 8′ 6″
Medium Slow 5′ 6″ 7′ 6″
Slow 4′ 6″ 6′ 6″

Green Speed Chart – USGA

While fun to play, speedy greens can be pretty devastating. A perfect example is the greens at Oakmont Country Club, where the Stimpmeter was originally invented. With stimpmeter readings consistently around 14-15 feet, no wonder the winning score was 5 above par at the 2007 Open.

To see how truly fast greens can impact your putting, watch this crazy 3-foot putt (or click here to view) below.

So, what type of green you prefer?

From the Forward Tee’s then Beyond

Shawn is a member of MyScorecard and is currently a student at the Keiser University College of Golf in Port Saint Lucie, FL. He’s undergone superb improvement in his game, dropping his index from a 19 to a 9 in just under 12 months. Below, posted from his blog Golf with Shawn, is one his lessons regarding his dramatic improvement.

PGA Master Professional Dr. Wilson has stated at school several times for us to play the forward tees, “Shoot Par there, then move back”. You can read one of his articles on Facebook titled “Learning to Play, Learning to Score” .Golf Ladies Tee

The first time I heard him say it, that is what I wanted to do. The hard part was getting the rest of my foursome to tee off with me. EVERYONE wants to play the tips and tournament tees. I had found it to be hard to be the only one to play around the middle tee ground. A lot of times the group would tee off then forget about me.

Recently with some of my closer friends at school I have been able to convince them to do this. During these “practice rounds” I have started to notice something more and more… there have been a lot of smiles, laughter, and good vibes throughout the round. With my golf game I have noticed more improvements with my swing and ball contact. Something has just clicked, and all the lessons I have had at school I am starting to feel the difference in my swing and contact with the ball. Continue reading

The 25 Cent Putting Lesson

For those of you who follow our blog, one of our guest posters is Shawn Augustson, a student at the College of Golf and writes the blog Golf with Shawn and has shared with us some of his recent lessons.

One of our favorites of his recent articles is The 25 Cent Putting Lesson, a tip he learned while working with Class A LPGA Tour Professional Donna White. We’re reposted it for you below:


I made a little image so you can view this drill, it’s not to scale but gives you an idea of what I am talking about. Donna had me place a quarter on the green, and then I put my ball on top of the quarter (later on, I moved the quarter above the ball just as a reminder to look for it).

Improve your Putting
The red lines in the diagram are for distance. So If I bring my club back two positions, I then need to take it forward five positions on the follow through.

After impact with my ball I need to look for the quarter and hold the follow through position, not immediately look up for the ball. When I see the quarter, then I can turn my head slightly and use my eyes to watch the ball roll into the cup.

To get my rhythm, I slightly hover the club (not ground it) behind the ball and count one. My backswing is a count of two and my forward swing is a three count. So when I putt, in my head I am “One, Two, Three”.

Beginners will see marked improvements in their putting, and experienced golfers will recognize the important fundamentals in this lessons. We would expect everyone to benefit from putting it into practice.

Tracking Your Game to Improve your Performance

MyScorecard members have a diverse array of experiences as well as stories and lessons that we can all learn from. One of our members, Shawn Augustson, is a student at the College of Golf and writes the blog Golf with Shawn. In this post he shares some of his most recent lessons.

In order to improve your golf game and become a better player, it’s essential to have an updated strengths and weakness profile. Keyword being UPDATED… you will want to continually track your progress. If someone were to ask you how your game went and you replied with “It was alright. I hit my irons well, but the rest of my round was bad.” This would be an analog response. You want to be thinking DIGITALLY, and be more specific. This is what will help you improve.

I will give you an example, I am a student at the College of Golf in Port Saint Luce, FL. In my swing fundamentals class with Dr. TJ Tomasi (Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher) we had to track the digital information from each of our rounds and be able to compare them to a tour player. When I would look at my putts and see that I was 2 putting across the board I thought I was bad at putting.

Percent of Putts Holed by DistanceAs I began to track other statistics from each of my rounds I discovered that my putting was not the problem because my first putt was always from around 30 Feet! The problem was with my approach. I wasn’t getting to the green in regulation and when I was on the green I was barely there. According to Dave Pelz and the extensive research he has done, any putts from 15 feet and beyond your best case scenario is 1 in 10 for holing it, even for the tour player.

My putting turned out to be alright because I would lag putt and then tap in. From the distance I was coming from this was good. With this information, I was then able to start looking at my decisions from 100 yards, and make better choices in order to get on and be able to one putt. Continue reading

The Right Club

I’ve just piped a drive, and now I’m facing a short iron to a green with a large bunker protecting a front pin. My trusty range-finder gives me exactly 150 yards to the flag. It’s a simple calculation from here, right? 8-iron is my 150 club. No problem.

Five minutes later, I’m awkwardly situated under the lip of that front bunker, trying my best to remember the “how to advance the ball from a plugged lie” tip I read last week in Golf Digest.bunkerblast

Sound familiar? In any given round of golf, how many of your approach shots end up short of the green? Count the next time you play. You will likely be shocked at what you find.

For most of us, the source of the problem lies not in the swing we make but in the decisions we make prior to the swing. This should come as good news, as making better decisions is a lot easier than making better swings, especially for the average weekend warrior. So, let’s try this again. Continue reading

Start Putting (and Making) the Short Ones

Taking gimmes impact your handicapI remember reading somewhere that the average golfer effectively lowers his or her handicap a full 3 strokes by taking unwarranted gimmes.

In other words, taking gimmes on a regular basis results in a handicap index that is lower than your true ability. This is bad if you’re giving strokes to your friends on Saturday mornings. I don’t know how accurate that 3-stroke statistic is, but it’s compelled me to take the time, even when I’m just playing by myself, to putt everything out. I always want to know that my handicap is an accurate measure of my game, and unfortunately my game includes a fairly severe incompetence from inside 5 feet.

The day I left a 24-inch putt 6 inches short was the day I knew I had to do something about my short putting. If you’re like me, the sight of your golf ball coming to rest anywhere between 2 and 5 feet from the hole causes immediate, involuntary twitching. In fact, I sometimes will my chips to roll 10 feet past just so I won’t have to face the shakes from 4 feet. Continue reading