NCG’s Golf Glossary: What is a Stimp Rating?

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The world of golf is replete with specialized terms and phrases that add texture and depth to the sport. One term that might pique the interest of both casual golfers and enthusiasts is “Stimp Rating.” This terminology offers significant insights into the game’s technicalities and gameplay, particularly regarding the putting green. In this article, we’ll take a look at what Stimp Rating means, its origins, and how it plays a pivotal role in the game of golf.

What is Stimp Rating?

The term is derived from the “Stimpmeter,” a device invented in 1935 by golfer Edward S. Stimpson to measure the speed of a golf course’s putting greens. The rating quantifies the speed of the putting green, offering players a sense of how fast or slow a ball will roll on it. It is calculated by rolling a golf ball down the Stimpmeter ramp and measuring how far it travels in feet on the flat surface of the green. A higher Stimp Rating indicates a faster green, while a lower rating means a slower green.

Why is Stimp Rating Important?

The Stimp Rating is crucial for several reasons. For starters, it provides golfers with a standardized way to gauge green speeds, helping them better strategize their putting game. Secondly, the Stimp Rating allows for a more level playing field in professional tournaments, as organizers can adjust green conditions to ensure consistency across all 18 holes. Finally, knowing the Stimp Rating can significantly affect a golfer’s club selection and shot technique, making it an essential piece of information for anyone looking to master the art of putting.

How is Stimp Rating Measured?

As mentioned earlier, the Stimp Rating is calculated using a Stimpmeter—a simple mechanical device that releases a golf ball at a consistent speed down a ramp. The ball is rolled on a flat area of the green, and the distance it travels in feet is the green’s Stimp Rating. This process is generally repeated in multiple directions to account for any variations in the green’s surface, and an average distance is calculated to arrive at the final Stimp Rating.


Is Stimp Rating universal?

Yes, the Stimp Rating is used globally and is an integral part of both amateur and professional golf. It offers a standard metric that allows for a consistent evaluation of putting greens worldwide.

Can a high Stimp Rating result in penalties?

No, a high Stimp Rating merely indicates a faster green but does not result in any penalties for players. However, golfers may find it more challenging to control their putts on faster greens, which could indirectly affect their score.

Do golf courses regularly update their Stimp Ratings?

Many golf courses frequently assess their greens and update the Stimp Ratings, especially before major tournaments. Regular maintenance like mowing, watering, and rolling can alter a green’s speed, affecting its Stimp Rating.


Understanding the Stimp Rating is essential for anyone serious about the game of golf. It’s a parameter that informs players about the speed of the green, allowing them to adapt their strategy and improve their putting skills. Just as the “rub of the green” encapsulates the unpredictability of the sport, the Stimp Rating offers a glimpse into the technical precision required to excel at it. Familiarizing oneself with this term not only enriches one’s vocabulary but also deepens the understanding and appreciation for the complexities that make golf such a fascinating game.

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