Speed Control – It’s All About Speed

It’s all about “the speed.”

Ask any golf professional and they will tell you that the speed of your putt is the most important factor when putting.  Have the wrong speed, but the right line and your put will not be made.  However, you can have the optimal speed and your line can be off a little bit and you still have a chance of sinking your putt.  Early on, in my golfing career, I learned a lot from Dave Pelz.  He is the ultimate short game guru and especially when it comes to putting and the years of research he has done.  If you want to be a better putter, become a student of his and learn all you can from him and his books.

So, what is speed when it comes to putting.  Well, let’s look at how it’s measured.  A stimpmeter was designed and now is universally recognized as the tool to measure the speed of any green.

So, how does a stimpmeter work?    

It’s a device with a metal track at a 20-degree angle when the golf ball is released from the proper location, it will determine the “stimp” of that particular green.  For instance, if the golf ball rolled off on a level spot on the putting green and it rolled and came to a stop of 10.8 feet on average.  Then, that green would be assigned a stimp reading of 10.8.

Stimpmeter

How can I tell what the stimp reading is at my local course?

Well, without having access to your own stimpmeter, you really can’t.  But, after playing enough rounds on golf on different greens, you can get pretty close to making educated guesses on the speed of the greens.  But, a good ballpark guide would be as follows:

  • The average public course has a stimpmeter rating of 8.5 to 10.5 (Depending on several factor).
  • The average PGA Tour green has a stimpmeter rating around 11.0.
  • Major Golf Championships stimp out around 11.5 – 13.0

Those greens are lighting fast, especially for the average golfer that has very little experience with those speeds.

Again, professionals have the advantage as they putt on the best greens with fairly consistent stimp speeds, day in and day out.  Amateurs can easily play on some very slow greens at their local course with a stimp of say 8.7.  Then, the next day, they might play a different course with a stimp of 10.7.  That may not seem like that big of a deal, but many a 3 putts have been a result of improper speed control on their putts.  It can quite be frustrating and lead to mean putters being thrown or worse, the putter being regulated to the garage while a different putter is put into play.  In reality, it’s all about the speed and very little relation to the exact putter that is used.

I think we can agree on the super importance that speed plays in determining your success on the putting green or not.  The next article will explain how I developed a “speed control” system for putting at the most optimized speed every time you play.  You will quickly be able to determine the speed of the greens and use this system no matter what course you play.  This system has continued to amaze me over the course of my playing career and I have seen the instant results with my students from beginners to the more advanced golfers.  It’s very easy to implement, and then becomes second nature, once you learn the “speed control” system.  Say goodbye to 3 putts and hello to lower numbers on your scorecard.

Until next time golfers….

Congrats Jimmy Walker – 2016 PGA Champion

Ok, first off, let’s give Jimmy Walker of San Antonio, (Boerne) Texas a big shout out for breaking thru and winning his first major championship at the 2016 PGA Championship at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.  Jimmy held off Jason Day, the number 1 ranked player in the world, to close out his incredible championship run.  Jason Day did make it interesting for Jimmy Walker, as Day eagled the par 5 18th hole trying to extend the championship into a 3-hole playoff.  However, Jimmy’s nerves were in control all week as he pared in with a 5 to win by 1 stroke over Jason Day.

As a former local club pro in Texas, I had the privilege to ply a round with Jimmy Walker once at Northcliffe Country Club in San Antonio.  I messed around on some of the very mini tours in South Texas for awhile and I considered myself a decent golfer.  After that round with Jimmy Walker, I knew I wasn’t at the level I thought I was as he “played a game of which I am not familiar!”  This round occurred just prior to Jimmy achieving his full time status on the PGA tour, but it was clearly evident that great things awaited such a talented golfer.  So, congratulations Jimmy on your life changing win at the PGA Championship.

Now, let’s get into some of the differences between the pros and the amateurs when it comes to golf.  Amateurs spend most of their time on the range pounding away with their driver while pros spend a majority of their time working on their short games.  Pros know a majority of their shots come from 100 yards and within.  As their livelihood depends on their short game, it makes sense on why they place such an importance of having a reliable and proficient short game.

One major aspect of the short game is on the green.  We all know the old saying, “You drive for show, but you putt for dough!”  Pros spent countless hours practicing putting.  They also put on the best greens in the world each week and they are usually all at a similar speed.  Pros have the best technology and the top instructors to help them.  Amateurs don’t have the same luxuries and the speed and quality of the greens can change drastically every round they play.  We all know how important putting is and how it can make or break a round.  But, many amateurs do not know the most important aspect about putting is “speed control.”

In the next article, I will discuss a speed control system that has helped every one of my students I have previously worked with throughout the years.  I will explain how and why it was developed after an incredible day of ball striking, yet a horribly frustrating day of putting!

Until next time…