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How drastically does slope effect green speed? More than you even think…



As a golf instructor, I am a huge fan of Aimpoint for certain types of players since it gives some type of basic validity to what they see with their eyes. For more feel-orientated players, Aimpoint would be great to use in practice, but maybe not on the course. For those of us who struggle reading greens, I would suggest you try it. It’s not as technical as it used to be and the teachers teaching it in today are some of the best putting coaches in the business.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about an Aimpoint chart I saw regarding uphill vs downhill slope of the same percentage; it was eye-opening to say the least. For whoever posted it on Twitter (I cannot seem to find it again) please let me say THANK YOU and I am sorry I did not quote you personally in this article. Here is the chart:

Now to put the green speeds in perspective, 8 would be the speed of your average municipal course during the high summer peak play season (so the greens won’t get stressed and die), 10 would be the speed of a high quality private golf course in the United States, and 12 on the stimp is basically the speeds that the Tour players see at the Majors.

We know the speeds, now let’s examine what a 1 percent slope means to us in the real world. For that, I have asked one of the best Aimpoint guys around, John Graham, to describe this in more “normal” detail to us…

“A 2 percent slope is where holes are normally cut for your average pin location, while a 1 percent slope would be what you would perceive as basically a flat putt. The 3 percent slope is one that you almost see as a tough, but makeable, breaking putt and the 4 percent is one where you are uncomfortable and basically playing defense, trying to two putt at all costs.”

The creator of Aimpoint, Mark Sweeney said, “What people need to understand is the green is still stimping at the same number but the slope increases the overall roll to the estimated amounts. Thankfully the average green is only sloped 2 percent from back-to-front!”

From this description and the speed information above, this chart makes it even more understandable as to how slow or fast greens can get when you are playing. This does NOT consider the wind or grain which can also add or subtract speed from putts as well.

Therefore, the next time you are on the putting green, take the time to remember this chart and have some fun practicing your uphill and downhill breaking putts and see if you can fine tune your feel a touch better!

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ( He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email:



  1. ogo

    Jul 15, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Slope shmope….. just aim straight at the hole and then make a final decision where the break will pull the ball…. then correct for the break and bang away… 😮

  2. steve

    Jul 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Please explain the values shown in the Stimp-Slope table.
    My understanding of ‘stimp’ is that it is measured on a near-level green area. If you measure stimp rolling uphill or downhill it will be different. Also the direction of the grain will alter stimp readings. How about moisture differences?

    • ogo

      Jul 16, 2018 at 12:17 am

      Stinkney only deposits his odor on WRX website and vanishes… to chicken to respond to queries.

    • Al Czervik

      Jul 16, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Yes, stimp is measured on flat(ish) portion of the green and measured in several directions. What he is saying is that if you took a green with x stimp speed and then moved to a sloping section of that green or hopefully any green on that golf course that was consistently maintained, you would see these effective stimp readings. Another way to say it is according to the chart if you were on a green with a 10 stimp, you would need to hit a putt that was 4% downhill approximately half as hard as you would if it were flat to get it to travel the same distance.

  3. Jimmie

    Jul 14, 2018 at 9:35 am

    OMG, fingers and foot feeling? As a senior citizen, I have not felt my feet for years. Go to that expertgreenreading site where there is no need for stimp, fingers or feelings…

  4. SV

    Jul 14, 2018 at 8:36 am

    I understand the point of this article and it makes sense slope has a bigger difference than we might think. I do have a question: How is AimPoint any different than the plumb-bob method I have used for years. Supposedly it is useless, but holding up 1, 2, 3 fingers is better? Help me Tom.

    • steve

      Jul 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm

      You should asess the slope as you are approaching the green because once you are on the green it is near impossible to determine a gentle slope. Plumb bobbing has no scientific visual validity… it’s only a placebo for ignorance.

  5. The dude

    Jul 13, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    How do you know what I even think? Just kidding…..this is a really good article. I find it amazing how often pros miss on the low side (my quick math usually comes up with ~ 70% of misses are low…when watching on TV). Playing enough break even for the best in the world is an enigma…

  6. larrybud

    Jul 13, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Good info, although I think about 0.1% of the players I’ve run into know what Stimp is, and everybody always thinks their greens are “running about an 11”. They have no point of reference because they’ve never measured it themselves.

    (by the way, I have, and in fact you can see the design of the Stimp meter online and build one for your own use).

    I think you should expand on this article a bit, using this info to explain why putts break more downhill than uphill.

    • Freddie

      Jul 13, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      Good article. Putts break more when going downhill because they are going slower. That may sound counterintuitive, but you have to putt at a slower pace downhill and let it trickle down towards a hole and the slower the ball is traveling the more gravity will pull it towards the break.

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3 keys for getting out of bunkers with soft sand



One of the most infuriating things in golf is to land in a bunker that has too much sand, or sand with the consistency of a truckload of talcum power. Now, I am not picking on the Superintendents; they do have to add new sand from time-to-time, so no hate mail please! It’s my fault for hitting it in the bunker in the first place, and bunkers are supposed to be hazards; I know that.

The one thing we will assume for this article is that even though we are in soft sand, we will have a good lie, not a plugged or semi-plugged one. We are in a bunker that just has a bunch of sand, or it’s soft and fluffy sand. Everyone asks me what the secret is to handling these types of conditions and I’m here to help you get better.

1) Get a wedge with the correct bounce

Let’s consider that you play the same golf course every weekend, or that you mostly play on courses that have the same type of playing conditions mostly. When you have this luxury, you should have wedges that fit the conditions you tend to play. So, if you have a low bounce wedge with a sharp flange and you’re playing from bunkers with lots of sand, then you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Why alter your swing if the wedge you have can help you? Use a high bounce wedge (9-12 degrees of bounce) for soft sand, and a low bounce wedge (6-8 degrees) for firm sand.

2) Control your Angle of Attack 

As with most things in golf, there are always things that you must pay attention to in order for you to have the odds in your favor. Simple things such as paying attention to the lie you have can help you save shots in the rough. In bunkers, you cannot test the surface, however, you can use your feet to feel the density of the sand. Pay attention to what you feel in the balls of your feet. If you feel a ton of sand below you, then you know you will have to alter your angle of attack if you want any chance to get out of the bunker successfully.

So what do I mean by this?

The setting of your wrists has a very dynamic effect on how much the wedge digs in or skids through the sand (assuming you have an open face). When there is a surplus of sand, you will find that a steeper attack caused by the maximum cocking of your wrists makes it much easier for the wedge to work too vertical and dig too deep. When you dig too deep, you will lose control of the ball as there is too much sand between the blade and the ball — it will not spin as much and won’t have the distance control you normally have.

The secret to playing from softer sand is a longer and wider bunker swing with much less wrist-set than you would use on your stock bunker shot. This action stops the club from digging too deep and makes it easier for you to keep moving through the ball and achieving the distance you need.

3) Keep your pivot moving

It’s nearly impossible to keep the rotation of your shoulders going when you take too much sand at impact, and the ball comes up short in that situation every time. When you take less sand, you will have a much easier time keeping your pivot moving. This is the final key to good soft-sand bunker play.

You have made your longer and more shallow backswing and are returning to the ball not quite as steeply as you normally do which is good… now the only thing left to do is keep your rear shoulder rotating through impact and beyond. This action helps you to make a fuller finish, and one that does not lose too much speed when the club impacts the sand. If you dig too deep, you cannot keep the rear shoulder moving and your shots will consistently come up short.

So if you are in a bunker with new sand, or an abundance of sand, remember to change your bounce, adjust your angle of attack, and keep your pivot moving to have a fighting chance.

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WATCH: How to stop “flipping” through impact



Are you flipping through impact? In this video, I share a great drill that will help you put better pressure on the golf ball at impact. By delivering the sweet spot correctly, you’ll create a better flight and get more distance from your shots immediately.

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The Wagon Wheel Drill



For many golfers, the ability to hit shots golf ball to the target is a difficult task, especially when you take into account the rough, trees or hazards lining the hole. In this video, I share “The Wagon Wheel Drill,” a simple idea of how to practice intentionally hitting the ball left, right and on target.

Practice this and you will soon be hitting the target more often.

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19th Hole