Academics from the Sports Engineering Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University have helped to develop a device that allows greenkeepers to accurately measure the smoothness of their playing greens.
The STRI Trueness Meter has been launched by the Bingley-based Sports Turf Research Institute. It is a trolley device that works by being pushed across the green 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 device measures the amount of vertical displacement (smoothness) and lateral deviation (trueness) in millimetres. This allows greenkeepers to pick up minute textural differences in the turf. The technology is 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, says the company.
The STRI Trueness Meter was used at the Open Championship at St Andrews earlier this month. Nick Hamilton, a senior sports lecturer at Sheffield Hallam, who provided the research behind the device, says it could possibly be used in other sports in the future. “The technology is also capable of measuring surfaces across other sports, further helping to improve playing surfaces,” he says.