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.
“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.
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.
In the history of the sport, no style or position of putting has been left untried. Perhaps the only items left are the limits of technology. The purpose of this post is to instruct you how to putt like a surgeon. Not saying all surgeons are great putters, but most have a steady hands.
“Putting is like wisdom. Partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.” – Arnold Palmer
Regardless of the technology, techniques, or form, putting is a highly individual art form. This post won’t claim one style of putting is superior than another. This post hopes to educate you on the styles, tips, and best practices that have yielded the highest results and then let you decide on how to putt best for you. We’ve already share how to hold the putter, but this one goes deeper.
For example, let’s analyze some of the best putters in our sport’s history. Below are great images of how to putt like the best putters. Notice each one has their unique style they’ve cultivated from continual trial and error.
“Still even in putting there is a right and a wrong way. Take the test of experience and you will find that in the long run the man who puts in the approved method wins the day.” – Henry James Whigham
Jack Nicklaus Putting
Jack Nicklaus had a very distinguishable style. Hunched over, knees bent, hands pressed forward, and an open stance characterized his style. If you’re wondering if changed over the years, take a look below.
Now take a look at his stance only a few years ago:
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). 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.
MyScorecard’s You versus the Pros performance report offers you the ability to compare your skill against your favorite PGA and LPGA professional.
But how good do you have to be to graduate from Q-School?
We’ve run the numbers for the 2010 PGA and LPGA tour season in terms of 3 of the most often tracked statistics: Driving Distance, Greens in Regulation, and Putting.
Averaging 315+ yards per drive, Robert Garrigus is far and away the longest driver on the PGA tour, with Bubba Watson leading the rest of the pack. But do you have to be a 300+ yard driver to be on the Men’s Tour? Not quite so. The vast majority of PGA tour players drive between 280 and 300 yards – but you’d better be at least 275 or longer if you want to play on the tour.
Greens in Regulation (GIR)
In contrast to the Men’s tour, it is the LPGA pros that lead in GIR accuracy. Continue reading →
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.
As 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 →
Drawing on our database of millions of scores, we are able to pose and answer questions that bring you interesting insights.
So we asked ourselves – how important is putting for your handicap? Some people think it’s quite important (how many of you own or have read Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible?). Others believe it makes no difference and don’t even bother hitting the practice green.
I 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 →