STRI trueness meter recognised at Sports Technology Awards

A device measuring the smoothness and trueness of greens that has been used at The Open Championship was recognised at the prestigious Sports Technology Awards in London at the weekend.

The Trueness Meter™ was developed by the Sports Turf Research Institute with funding from The R&A and has already measured more than 2,500 greens around the world including those at every Open Championship venue since Turnberry in 2009.

STRI won the Best Use of Technology by a Governing Body, Federation or Rights holder award for its work with The R&A in developing the device and the judges were particularly impressed with this as an example of a governing body supporting scientific research to improve the quality of the game and the way it is played.

The judging panel for the Awards included former English rugby union coach and player Sir Clive Woodward OBE, Olympic gold medallist Tess Sanderson and former World Cup football referee Graham Poll. The standard of competition was extremely high and other bodies nominated in the category include Designwerk for a project with UEFA, the English Federation of Disability Sport, the Football Foundation, Sport Moves and USA Rugby.

Dr Gordon McKillop, the Chief Executive of STRI, said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award and are very proud that our work with The R&A has been recognised in this fashion.

“We came up with the idea for the Trueness Meter through our day-to-day work in measuring the quality of surfaces at golf courses. The concept was to develop a device that could accurately measure the amount of deviation a golf ball experiences as it rolls on a green as this is hugely important data for golf clubs.

“The Trueness Meter can measure how a green is performing and the consistency across greens as well as providing a benchmark for making improvements to the quality of surfaces. The fact that we have been using it at Open Championship venues demonstrates its value to the course managers and its overall efficacy.”

The R&A funded the initial research and development work on the new device which was carried out by STRI in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University over a five-year period from 2006. This work led to the production of the device which can measure the smoothness, defined as vertical deviation, and trueness, lateral deviation, of green surfaces.

The STRI is a leading authority for sports turf research and consultancy and works with more than 800 golf clubs each year to help improve their courses and greens.

Image caption: (from left to right) Tom Chilton (World Touring Car Championship driver who presented the award), Dr Gordon McKillop (STRI Chief Executive), Richard Windows (STRI Agronomist), Dr Chris Spring (STRI Research Scientist), Peter Cowell (Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) and Ed Smith (former England cricketer and compere of the Awards’ ceremony).