The First Tee visits Chevron STEM Zone at TPC Harding Park
October 31, 2013
By Mark Williams, PGA TOUR Staff
Photos by: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
SAN FRANCISCO- It’s not something you hear on the golf course every day.
“Grab a wedge and take the biggest divot you can,” said tournament director Ian Knight, directing his instruction to a dozen youngsters from The First Tee of San Francisco.
The reason for making the divots was to learn how to repair them. They were on the nine-hole Fleming Course at TPC Harding Park, home of The First Tee of San Francisco chapter, to get a close-up look at golf course maintenance before the start of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
A little later, the group ventured to the practice putting green and started flinging golf balls at full speed into the fine turf to create pitch marks so they could learn how to correctly repair them.
“We’ve taught them the importance of leaving the golf course as you find it and showing courtesy to others on the golf course,” explained Knight. “We shared some information on soil science, and a little bit about what goes into preparing and maintaining a golf course, with the different types of sands and grasses involved. We also showed them how to properly cut a hole on the green, which most kids have never seen.”
The group then headed to the Chevron STEM Zone, adjacent to the opening hole at TPC Harding Park, for an exclusive tour before it opens to the public attending the tournament this week. They saw an actual demonstration of a soil profile in the agronomy section. Agronomy is the study of lawn and turf, not just on golf courses, but on any turf fields hosting sporting events.
The STEM Zone is a creative, interactive area dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The STEM Zone focuses on the science of sporting events, and features a fully equipped, mock studio that gives kids the chance to experience broadcasting and media.
"One of the goals of the STEM zone is to teach science and agronomy, as well as other aspects of golf,” said Knight. “The STEM Zone has interactive displays on agronomy, aerodynamics, kinematics and special effects, among other things. Hopefully, today’s visit with the young people from The First Tee will spark an interest and some may be inspired to study agronomy and make a career of it.”
They’ll certainly have a head start knowing how to repair divots if they heed Knight’s advice.
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