Stimpmeter: How a 3-foot-long ramp breaks golfers' hearts

2:05 a.m. EDT June 16, 2016

OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) โ€” A 3-foot-long ramp invented in the 1930s could have more say about who wins the U.S. Open come Sunday than all the swing coaches, sports psychologists and fitness gurus in the wide world of golf combined.

It’s called a “Stimpmeter” in honor of inventor Edward S. Stimpson and in a nice bit of serendipity, the device traces its origins back to storied Oakmont Country Club, site of this season’s second major. No matter how much golfers bellyache during the week, the ramp, slightly less than 2 inches wide, will have the last word on how fast the greens are running.

Before play begins Thursday morning, and then again at the end of each round, a U.S. Golf Association official in charge of course set-up brings the Stimpmeter and three golf balls onto a green. He puts each ball in a notch at the top of the ramp โ€” slowly raised to a 20-degree angle โ€” and lets them roll down and run out on the flattest section of the putting surface. He then repeats the process from a notch halfway down the ramp, mostly as a backup test, then walks to the other end of that flat section and rolls the balls in…

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