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Case Studies

The Open

Category: golf

STRI is the official agronomic consultant to The R&A Championship Committee.

We advise on the Open Championships – the oldest of the four major championships played in professional golf.

The Open is currently hosted annually on a rotational basis by nine links venues throughout the United Kingdom: St Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry, Royal Troon, Royal St. George’s, Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Liverpool and Royal Portrush.


What we do

  • Deliver quality playing surfaces that meet the standard demanded for The Open Championship.
  • Work with the club, greenkeeping team and The R&A Executive to ensure that the course is in optimum condition.
  • Provide objective data to inform the decision making in the build-up to and during The Championship.
  • Uphold the traditions of The Open courses.
  • Produce an authentic links challenge to test the best golfers in the world
  • Provide a course that can adapt to changes and extremes of weather.
  • Ensure the ecological impact is kept to a minimum on the course.


How we do it

STRI agronomists perform regular site visits to all Open venues to ensure that standards are continually met throughout the year.

Visits incorporate the STRI Programme where performance measurements are taken to establish the current state of the course. The results form the basis for the development of a structured and targeted maintenance plan. Our consultants develop the plan in conjunction with the staff of the host club.

STRI staff are also involved in the monitoring of any modifications or adjustments that may be necessary, and ecological appraisals are continuous.

Our ecological and environmental consultants help measure and minimise the ecological impact of The Championship.

Many Open venues are located within SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) and our consultants work to maximise the biodiversity of each site. They also measure foot traffic, carbon audits and cordoned off areas, where protected species such as nesting skylark and orchids may be found.

A senior ecological specialist is on-site during The Championship and provides post-Open recommendations for habitat reinstatement.

In preparation for each of The Championships, site inspections and discussions take place between The R&A, Course Manager and STRI. It is necessary for our consultants to understand the complexities of the course, the game and the requirements of The R&A.

The week prior to The Championship, our agronomy and research specialists arrive on site. They carry out preliminary testing to fine tune the maintenance programme and to take account of local weather conditions.

The Results

Successful delivery of desired playing quality standards demanded for Open Championships, including presentation of the course.

Production of an authentic links challenge to test the best in world golf and a Championship course that can adapt to changes and extremes of weather.

Following the 2011 Open, Steve Isaac, The R&A’s Director, Golf Course Management, commented: “As the official agronomists to The R&A Championship Committee, STRI has worked closely with the greenkeeping team at Royal St George’s to ensure the course is at its very best and is delivering the true, firm and running conditions that are characteristic of The Open.”