Speed” and Synthetic Greens
Steve Walker, President, ProGreen International, Inc.
Are you stumped by references to Stimp readings? Does a
golf courses Stimp reading of eleven mean anything to you?
The Stimpmeter is the universal device used to
measure the speed of greens. The Stimpmeter was invented by Ed Stimpson, a Harvard grad and the 1935 Massachusetts
Amateur champion. Decades later, the Stimp was refined by the USGA.
The Stimp is nothing more than a 30-inch long
aluminum trough raised at a 20-degree angle. A golf ball is placed in the crease
of the Stimpmeter and released to roll across the green. The distance the ball
rolls on the green, measured in feet and inches from the edge of the Stimp, is
the speed of the green. To obtain proper readings, the USGA recommends tests be run on a level
surface, with several rolls in opposite directions, and then averaged.
Stimp Speed Problems with
Synthetic Putting Greens
One of the biggest problems with synthetic putting greens
is controlling the stimp speed. With
sand-filled synthetic putting greens are first installed, the stimp speed is
slow, about a 7 or 8 on the stimpmeter. Over
an extended period of time, the ball roll becomes too fast, between 11 and 13.
Non-sand filled synthetic greens start at approximately a 10 and go up
dramatically from there.
Why Do Stimp Speeds Vary So
The reason the ball roll is slow on a synthetic putting
green when it’s first installed, is because the fibers are stiff, due to the
newness of the fiber. Because the
fiber is stiff, the fibers stand erect, causing increased ball roll resistance.
The reason the ball rolls faster over a period of time is because the
fibers loosen-up. This, combined with the surface getting hard and compacted
causes the fibers to bend-over and lay flat.
This decreases ball roll resistance.
Has ProGreen Done Anything to
Remedy the Stimp Speed Control Problem?
We’ve been working on better ball roll control for years.
We’ve finally come up with a putting green system that controls the
stimp speed better than any other putting green system available.
First, we’ve increased the number of fibers.
This increases the ball speed initially and slows it down over a period
of time, maintaining a more consistent stimp speed, usually between a 8 and 10.
More fiber tips touching the ball as it rolls across the surface
decreases the resistance when the fiber is new, and also helps to slow down the
ball roll over a period of time.
||Secondly, to combat the ball from rolling too fast
over a period a time we’ve made the surface softer.
To accomplish this, we use a specially formulated blend of sands and our
trademarked ProGreen Top Dressing™ .
If the surface is softer, the fibers will not bend straight over like
they will with a harder surface. This
keeps the fibers more upright, causing more ball roll resistance.
The size and shape of our ProGreen Top Dressing™ also helps
creates resistance to keep the ball roll from rolling too fast.
The composition make-up of a ProGreen Putting
Green System™ allows the user to vary the stimp speed at anytime.
Walker is the founder and president of ProGreen International, Inc.
He started ProGreen in 1987 and has pioneered many material designs and
installation techniques used today in the synthetic turf
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