As the world's top golfers head for St Andrews they can look forward to facing perfect playing surfaces when they tackle the world famous course thanks to STRI's (Sports Turf Research Institute) groundbreaking Trueness Meter™.
The revolutionary new technology, part of the wider STRI Programme, has played a pivotal role in ensuring all 18 greens will be consistent and of an optimal trueness when the likes of Tiger Woods and Stewart Cink, current holder of the claret jug, take to the course.
The Trueness Meter™, developed in conjunction with Sheffield Hallam University following funding from the R&A, is used as an integral part of the STRI Programme which accurately and objectively measures speed, smoothness, firmness, consistency and year round performance. The technology is being hailed as one of the biggest steps forward in the agronomy industry in 30 years and the only accurate, effective and efficient method of measuring smoothness and trueness of a green.
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 10ft 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. The technological advancement is set to revolutionise tournament preparation as it 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 and has been at the core of preparations for this summer's Open Championship.
Gordon Moir, Director of Greenkeepers at St Andrews Links Trust said: "The STRI Programme, which includes the STRI's 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 Gordon McKie, Course Manager of the Old Course and I will obtain, will enable us to produce a golf course that offers players an enhanced level of performance both now and in the future."