Golf Specials for AGA Members


Spotlight: The Stimpmeter

By Jeff Plotts, Director of Golf Course Maintenance at TPC Scottsdale

As in many trades, there are specific tools of the trade. Mechanics have wrenches, carpenters have hammers, and cooks have pots and pans. Golf course maintenance is no exception. We have many tools, other than mowers, that help us achieve turfgrass health and good consistent playing conditions. We would like to show you some of those tools of the trade over the next few months by high lighting a particular tool each month.

Our first tool spotlight is the Stimpmeter. This device is what is used to measure the speed of the putting greens to help achieve consistency from putting surface to putting surface. Designed by Edward Stimpson Sr. in 1935, the first Stimpmeter was made of wood. They are now made of an extruded aluminum. The Stimpmeter was first used in competition by the United States Golf Association (USGA) in the 1976 US Open at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The Stimpmeter became available to golf course superintendents and golf facilities in 1978.

The meter is an angled track that releases a ball at a known velocity so the distance can be measured consistently from green to green. The device is 36 inches long and 1.75 inches wide with a 145-degree V-shaped groove extending the length of the meter. The end of the meter is tapered on the underside to reduce ball bounce as the ball is released onto the putting surface. The ball is held in place by a notch 30 inches from the end of the meter. The ball is released by gravity as the Stimpmeter is slowly raised to an angle of 20 degrees at a repeatable rate of six feet per second.

The speed of the putting green is determined by the distance the ball rolls from the meter. Generally, we try to find a flat spot on the green and take the average of three different balls rolled in the same direction. Then from the opposing side, we will measure the distance of three balls and average the six measurements to determine the speed in feet. If the greens speed is 10.6, the average distance the ball rolls for the Stimpmeter is 10 feet 6 inches.

The Stimpmeter is a tool that helps us determine how uniform the greens are over the entire course. This is not a tool to see how fast we can make the greens. We strive to achieve a variability of ball speed no greater than 6 inches from one putting green to the next. Agronomic management practices can affect the ball speed, as well as the environment in which the green sits. Therefore, we can adjust height of cut, frequency of cut, water and even fertility to maintain consistency throughout. The USGA has established a table to rate green speed: slow greens – 6.5 feet, medium greens – 8.5 feet, and fast greens – 10.5 feet.
Most golfers like faster greens because they are generally truer and more consistent. Each year during the Waste Management Phoenix Open our greens are between 11.5 to 12 feet for the tournament. We must take a full approach look at determining the green speed for our courses at TPC Scottsdale. Things that we need to consider are the health of the greens, time of the year, the skill set of the players and the agronomic practices that need to be performed. It is a balance of plant health and playability when it comes to the speed of putting surfaces. For daily play at TPC Scottsdale, we try to achieve 10 to 10.5 feet. The Stimpmeter is a valuable tool in addition to sound agronomic practices in maintaining true, smooth and consistent putting greens.


Brown defends AGA Western Am title

Blake Brown, of Scottsdale, successfully defended his AGA Western Amateur title at Yuma Golf and Country Club, shooting a 2-day total of 144 on a very windy weekend in Yuma.
Brown, who currently plays golf at Boise State University, also won the opening event of the year, the AGA Short Course at Lakes at Ahwatukee Golf Club.
“It feels great to win this event again. It was really tough conditions today, with the wind gusting for the entire round. I am playing a lot of events the next few months so hopefully this will jumpstart my summer,” Brown said.
Last year, with no wind and temperatures hovering around 100, Brown shot consecutive rounds of 66-66. On Sunday, it was more survival for all players, with winds blowing 25-35 mph all day. Brown’s 74 tied for the second lowest round of the day. After starting out with consecutive bogey’s, Brown rallied with a birdie on the par 3, 8th hole, and finished with a 36 on his front nine. His back nine was highlighted by a birdie on the par 5, 15th hole and he ended shooting 38. His final round 74 (2-day total 144) was good enough to hold on for a two-stroke victory.
Murphy Mitchell, of Scottsdale, fired consecutive rounds of 73-73, for a 2-day total of 146 to finish in 2nd place overall. His 73 on Sunday was the lowest round of the day. Kyle Jones, of Taylor, finished alone in 3rd overall with rounds of 73-74, for a 2-day total of 147.
The Western Amateur was also a Qualifier for the 86th AZ Amateur Championship, which will take place July 19-24 at Pinnacle Peak Country Club. Seventeen players qualified for the AZ Amateur, with 2-day totals of 158 or better.
The Arizona Golf Association would like to thank Yuma Golf and Country Club for hosting the Western Amateur. Additionally we would like to thank all volunteers who continue to support the Arizona Golf Association.


USGA announces USGA Mobile launch

The USGA announced today that they have launched USGA Mobile ( Following the success of with over 275,000 visits and 1 million pageviews last year, the objective of this launch is to ensure the most important content on is up to date and easily accessible to users via any internet enabled mobile device.  
This is achieved via mobile optimized navigation, built on the most likely tasks users will have when accessing from their cell phone. Now anyone is able to get the latest USGA news, Rules, Championship scores and other USGA information wherever they are.
With today’s launch, users are now able to access news and Championship Schedule along with :        

The Rules of Golf

Handicapping Manual and Calculator

Conforming/Non-conforming Equipment Lists

Course Care information

Basic Membership information

History, including directions to the USGA Museum and Today in Golf History

Coming in June, USGA’s audience will be able to access all the latest multimedia content and Championship updates including live scoring, photos and video.
Access the mobile site from any mobile phone by just typing in, it will then detect your device and serve the appropriate experience.


Acid Substitutes and pH Reduction

An evaluation of the new acid-replacement products for improving water quality and the soil rootzone environment – By Brian Whitlark, agronomist, Southwest Region.
Given the increase of recycled water for irrigation, some turf managers seek alternative acidification products that are advertised to improve water quality.  Materials historically used for industrial cleaning are now being used to acidify irrigation water that contains bicarbonates and sodium.  Although the benefits of using traditional acidifying agents, such as sulfuric and N-pHuric acid, are well known, the implications of using acid-substitute materials are unclear and warrant further investigation.
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