To answer this question a brief review of green speed measuring systems is required. A stimpmeter is typically used to calibrate and compare green speeds from one golf course to the next. Many Thai golfers are aware of the term but how many know the history of this green speed measuring tool and just how does it work?
The original stimpmeter was developed in 1935 by Edward S. Stimpson an accomplished US amateur golfer. In the mid 1970’s the device was adapted by the USGA and became the standard for measuring green speeds. The official stimpmeter is a 3 foot long aluminum bar with a V channel. This V shaped groove supports the golf ball and allows the ball to roll down with a slight over spin, mimicking that of a normal putt.
The ball rolls down whenever the bar is raised so that there is no human hand interference affecting the speed of the ball as it begins rolling. The speeds of greens are measured in feet, so that a stimpmeter reading of 9.5 means the ball will roll 9 and ½ feet from the end of the stipmeter. If the reading is only 8.0, the ball will roll 1 ½ feet shorter, a significant difference as we all know from playing golf and a very simple process indeed!
For golfers in Thailand stimpmeter readings will not help their putting, but it is nice to know the green speeds at each Thailand golf course anyway. Stimpmeter readings in Thailand generally range from 7 to 12 with 8-9 the most common. Courses such as Amata Spring and Blue Canyon have faster greens as this is one measure of the quality of these premier Thailand golf courses. Other courses such as Red Mountain and Suwan although still top courses, have slower green speeds as they use Paspalum grass putting surfaces which tend to produce slower greens.
Another factor is time of year. Most Thailand golf courses during the rainy season have slower green speeds. For example, a course such as Thai CC will intentionally let the greens grow more during the wetter months of September and October and target a green speed of 9 in preparation for winter months where conditions improve and green speeds will be 10-11.
A final factor is tournaments. PGA major championship greens will be played on golf courses where green speeds run anywhere from 12 to 14! While golf courses in Thailand can achieve this level of green speed for short periods leading up to and during tournaments, only Alpine Golf in Bangkok can consistently maintain their greens year round at these speeds.
Green speeds are usually measured daily and are posted at the pro shop at most Thailand golf courses. If you do not see the measurement, ask the starter or resident golf pro, who will be glad to give you this information along with other playing tips to ensure that you get maximum enjoyment from golfing in Thailand.