Ever heard of a Stimpmeter? It’s a tool designed for determining the speed of a green. How it works is pretty stimple. (Sorry had to do it.)
The Stimpmeter is essentially a 36-inch bar that holds a golf ball in a small indentation on one end. To use, the operator lifts the stimp until the ball rolls off. The distance the ball rolls is then computed to determine a numeric value for how fast the greens are. However far the ball rolls, is the “speed” of the green. (To use one properly, you need a level surface.)
That said, let’s say you normally play on what the USGA considers to be medium greens, which are around 8.5 (ft) on the Stimpmeter. On Tour, the greens are usually a little faster, averaging closer to 10-11 on the Stimpmeter. Some places (and I know, I’ve played on them) are incredibly fast, ranging around 13-15 on the Stimpmeter. In case you need to know, that’s like putting on marble, folks. Not literally, but it feels pretty darn close.
The next time you play a new course, don’t be shy to ask around and see what the average Stimp rating is. Knowing how fast the greens are can make a big difference in not only your putting, but your approach shots as well.