Sport Science: Grass vs. Glass Greens

It’s officially Masters week, and the crew at Augusta has been working for quite some time to get those greens rolling like glass. On the Stimpmeter, the tool used to measure green speed, greens rolling at a 12-13 are considered lightning quick, or “Majors speed.”

Augusta is known for having some of the toughest and quickest greens on tour. We’ve all heard the saying “these greens are like glass” when we play, but who would actually putt on a glass surface? A recent ESPN Sport Science segment put the “putting on glass” theory to the test using a guy who knows quite a bit about winning: Rory McIlroy.


When comparing the simulated green and glass surfaces, the ball rolled 12.4 feet on the green, while it rolled a whopping 39 feet on glass. Safe to say there are no greens that actually come close to putting on glass.

McIlroy sank his first attempt from 50 feet on the grass surface and it only took him two attempts to make the 50-footer on glass, missing the first by only a half-inch. Impressive.

If McIlroy can make putts like that at the Masters this week, he’ll have a good shot at finally claiming that elusive green jacket.

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