The greens at The Masters are among the fastest on the planet, but how fast do they run compared to the greens we play on?
How Fast Are The Greens At Augusta National?
Well let me warn you here, there is no bulletproof answer because Augusta National has never let anyone do an official reading using a stimpmeter.
Fortunately for you, we have found the next best thing.
For decades Augusta National forbid the Georgia State Golf Association from rating the course, so in 1991 Golf Digest put together a team of USGA Course Rating experts to rate the course unofficially during the Masters tournament.
That first unofficial rating of the championship course was 76.2, meaning a golfer with a handicap of 0 should expect to shoot four-over the course’s par of 72. In 2010 it was re-rated unofficially during the three practice rounds and had increased to 78.1, due in no small part to it being lengthened by more than 500 yards during the time that elapsed.
It was during this second assessment that the team of experienced experts provided an educated guess at the speed of the greens at The Masters.
Normally green speed is measured using a stimpmeter.
This ramp style device has a notch and the ball is pulled out of that notch by gravity when the device is slowly raised to an angle of about 20°, rolling onto the green at a repeatable velocity of 6.00 feet per second. How many feet it then rolls on a flat putting green is the green speed.
For the sake of context, the England Golf Union considers ‘Slow’ as 0-6ft, ‘Medium’ as 6ft-8ft and ‘Fast’ as above 8ft. It advises that most members’ courses (except those by the sea) fall under the medium speed category.
For some further perspective, the greens at Oakmont Country Club (where the stimpmeter was conceived) are some of the fastest in the world, with readings of 13–15 feet at their quickest.
The number that was estimated for Augusta National was 12 feet.
It is often noted however, that the Bentgrass greens at Augusta National can change speed during the day as they dry out in the morning and then slow down as the sun sets in the evening, peaking somewhere around 15 on the stimpmeter.
Although 12 feet may not sound ridiculous, Augusta’s greens are some of the most undulating greens on the planet and with the challenge of severe putting slopes, you can see why the professionals give the place so much respect.
The club also has a sub-air system to control the moisture in the greens and that adds to their slickness no matter what the weather.
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