our history

STRI has humble beginnings, servicing golf in the British Isles, but now, as we approach a century of service, we operate in almost every country across the world. With offices as far reaching as Melbourne, STRI’s journey began improving greens on golf courses almost 100 years ago, to aiding the delivery of FIFA World Cups and designing and building structures mitigating the effects of climate change.

1929

Following a failed attempt to set up a research station in Scotland in 1924 by The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews after a lack of financial support, the Board of Greenkeeping Research was established with a grant from The R&A of £303. The founders and initial directors of the BoGR were local businessmen Norman Hackett, Robert Brian Dawson OBE, Percy Clough; who all had a keen interest in golf and agronomy. This was only the 2nd greenkeeping research station in the world and was founded as a non-profit trust.

1940

As WWII began, it was decided by the Government that the Board of Greenkeeping Research should continue to operate. Fundamental to this was the potential loss of experienced and knowledgeable staff, as well as the significant cost of stopping and restarting all the trials and experiments that were already underway.

“If the Board had decided to close down for the duration, as was hinted in one or two quarters, it would have been very difficult to restart the organisation at the end of hostilities. It must be borne in mind that nothing like all the results of investigations can be committed to paper, many minor results are absorbed and become part of those advising the clubs. Furthermore, the experience gained through 11 years work at the Station would probably be lost as it is doubtful if the same men would be available after the war” – R.B. Dawson, Research Director

In 1941, 6 acres of the experimental plots at the headquarters in Bingley were converted for war-time food production, particularly turnips, as well as an additional 4 acres later being given up for potatoes and other vegetables. Despite this, the Board of Greenkeeping Research were still active in the sport world, developing an electric fence just strong enough to discourage sheep from straying on to now unused golf courses across the country and ruining the turf.

1951

The post-war period saw the business change its name to the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), allowing more formal research and consultancy practices into all types of natural turf sport surfaces.

In addition to this, the period saw the STRI begin to offer week-long courses for greenkeepers and groundsmen in the spring and autumn of every year, with a view to improving the standard of turf throughout the country. The controlling bodies of football, rugby union, rugby league and lawn tennis all sent groundsmen to attend the courses.

1989

Just before the beginning of the new decade, the Sports Turf Research Institute began the process of becoming a limited company, shortening the official business name to STRI Ltd.

The move away from being an institute allowed the business to diversify to target new markets, increasing our offering to the sports world. While all of these offerings were underpinned by ongoing research (as they continue to be today), STRI could begin to move towards offering increased agronomy services before later moving in to planning, design and construction.

This was a major decision that laid the foundations for moving the business towards where we see it today.

 

2010

2010 saw a period of rapid development for STRI; winning our first design and build project in the form of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The work at the Olympics was ground and surface preparations for the equestrian cross country course, as well as the assessment, upgrade and management of twenty-four training pitches at local sports clubs, universities and school playing fields for football.

In addition to our first design and build project, STRI also won our first international project; the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. This project saw our team successfully delivery ten World Cup tournament pitches, 13 venue-specific training pitches and 40 team base camp pitches to the the exacting standards demanded by FIFA within an incredibly tight 100-day window of time.

2013

The year after our success at the 2012 Olympics in London saw STRI’s international reputation grow enormously, with increasing numbers of enquiries coming from across the world.

STRI’s Board of Directors realised that expanding overseas would be the best course of action to enable fulfilment of these enquiries and projects in the most efficient way possible, which is when the decision was reached to launch STRI Australia with a research facility in Queensland.

In addition to this, STRI Australia would later acquire SportsTurf Consultants in Melbourne to bolster their presence and allow the business to offer a larger range of services to Australasia and Asia.

2015

As STRI grew, so did the ambitions of the business. The wheels were in motion to be able to offer a full end-to-end complete service on projects, rather than just the research and agronomic services that we had successfully offered up to now. This saw the business rebrand to become STRI Group.

The rebrand saw STRI Ltd and STRI Australia under the STRI Group umbrella, which would later be joined by other businesses overseas to bolster our overseas offering. Shanghai Tizan Turf Science Co was launched as a joint venture with our Chinese partners, Shanghai KeHua Sports Promotional Co and Beijing iRENA Group to provide research to aid the UK based team on projects in the Far East. In addition to this, our presence in the Middle East increased with another joint venture – Aspire Sports Turf, between STRI and the Qatar government-backed Aspire Zone Foundation; this would serve the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

The Group would also see major developments in the UK, all with the aim of ensuring that the business could offer a full end-to-end service. With STRI recently adding a planning team to the already existing design and agronomy teams, the major gap was a construction department to bring these plans and designs to life; this is when the Group launched Carrick Sports Construction in 2018, who have since grown rapidly to take on work far beyond that provided by STRI to provide sports ground construction, land drainage and sports pitch renovation services.

With this, 2020 saw the acquisition of a business that had become a trusted partner over many years, the Environmental Protection Group (EPG). EPG’s water and land management specialists would enable the Group to increase the focus on sustainability on all new and existing projects, as well as improving our SuDS, structural waterproofing and land remediation capabilities beyond sports.

While Carrick and EPG were the main two expansions, STRI Group also further strengthened their research capabilities with MashUP Analytics, a software business specialising in data management and solutions; as well as SWD Systems who specialise in developing innovative water management solutions for sports surfaces and sub-bases.

Becoming a Group was a major step to where STRI is today, offering end-to-end bespoke services by acquiring and launching business that allow us to do that through our Plan-Design-Build-Maintain model.

2022

2022 saw STRI Group rebrand following rapid development and a plethora of positive changes to the inner-workings of the business.

The majority of STRI Group’s work is still in sport, however the acquisitions in to the Group have provided an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise that allow us to offer all of our existing services to urban environments and city centres, as well as fully bespoke environmental services through EPG’s water and land specialists.

STRI has recently also expanded in to North America under Elite Pitch Alliance, a consortium of industry leaders in the consultancy, design, construction, and management of professional sports fields, with a mission of providing solutions to stadium venues and training facilities in Canada, the United States and Mexico for the 2026 World Cup.

From the humble beginnings of being a turf research business to serve golf in the UK, to being a multi-disciplinary international business with bases in six countries across four continents with one common aim – Delivering Inspirational Environments.