Open to benefit from STRI innovation


Sean Dudley

As the world’s top golfers head for St Andrews for the Open Championship, they can look forward to facing perfect playing surfaces thanks to the Trueness Meter, an innovation from the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).

The Trueness Meter has been developed by STRI in conjunction with Sheffield Hallam University with funding from the R&A.

Richard Windows, STRI’s Turfgrass Agronomist, said: “In the eyes of the true professional, the ideal putting surface comprises of optimal speed, smoothness and trueness. The perfect putting surface tests the player but also gives reward for skilful play. STRI’s Trueness Meter allows greenkeepers for the first time to forensically analyse the greens during an event and refine operations to help them implement 18 greens of the highest order.”

The trolley device works by being pushed across the surface at a pace that reflects the speed of the ball, starting at a 10 foot putt. With the aid of electronics and a metal wheel that has the same footprint and down pressure of a golf ball, the Trueness Meter measures the amount of vertical displacement (smoothness) and lateral deviation (trueness) in terms of millimetres. This allows greenkeepers to pick up minute textural differences in the turf, the influence of poa annua seedheads, the impact of maintenance treatments, wear and tear, pest and disease activity and pitch marks. The Trueness Meter was first trialled at the 2009 Scottish Open.

Gordon Moir, St Andrews’ Director of Greenkeepers, said: “The Trueness Meter is a significant advancement in ensuring one of the world’s greatest golf tournaments will provide greens of the highest standard. I believe the information will enable us to produce a golf course that offers players an enhanced level of performance both now and in the future.”