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Nicklaus once commented that he had been shocked by the speed of the greens at Oakmont at the US Open in 1962. Someone then asked him what the green speeds that year would have measured on a modern stimp device. He said from 6 to 6.5.Bob
Does anyone still use a blade putter? I used to, 30 or 40 years ago. I loved it and was quite good with it. But my sons now encourage me to use some great heavy thing - I can barely putt to the centre of the green. Have our greens slowed down? I doubt it.
I realize that memory is very unreliable. Nonetheless, I am skeptical of these reports of old stimpmeter readings. My course, Rolling Green, hosted the Women's Open in 1976. The USGA reports stimp readings then at under 9. My memory tells me that the poa greens when I joined the club in 1979 were just as fast, or faster, than the bent greens we are playing now. Downhill five footers were scary and would routinely run 10 feet by a hole. Today they don't, although we're told the greens are running at 10-11. And I find it difficult to believe Oakmont's 1962 greens ran at 6 - a speed probably found on many fairways today. I can't prove it; this is only a cynical observation. But, I believe it is now so politically correct to encourage slower greens, that history is being revised to support the politics. I know, it's tiresome to hear about "the good old days" from an older generation fuddy duddy. (I'm 66, but don't feel like a fuddy duddy.) All I can say is, I remember what I remember.
Also, the stimp reading is not really a measure of speed but rather a measure of distance of roll. The ball is not rolling faster but rather rolling further if hit at the same speed. If anything to hit the ball the same distance you now need to hit the ball slower.
Stimp readings are higher because we can. Ask yourself where the industry would be if it had remained the same? Would Toro have made as much$$$$...would irrigation be as complicated?....would fans be at every course?....would top dressing be as expensive?....would grain still be part of the game?...would new grasses have been needed?....would the softspike have been needed? .We are SOLD greenspeed...the business controls the game....