Science of Golf: course set up

I have a love-hate relationship with golf. Growing up on a midwestern farm, “green” was spring and summer. Today, “green” has very different meanings. Do I want to land my approach shot onto a perfect one? Sure I do (not that it happens all that often). But I think twice when I play on one of Florida’s winter courses (no afternoon downpours) or on a desert course any time (by definition, less than 10 inches of rainfall per year). I see fresh water as the sought-after commodity of the future.
One of the things about the USGA that I’m most enamored with is their commitment to environmental stewardship because slightly more than half of the world’s golf courses are in the United States. While Science of Golf: Course Setup focuses on the tee-to-green setup of Pinehurst No. 2 so that both the men and the women could play the U.S. Open there, the backstory was “what is the course going to look like” to both the player and the viewer AND what is its impact on the environment. Course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw paid attention to all that when they returned Pinehurst No. 2 to Donald Ross’s original design. That backstory sparked the NSTA-developed lesson plan, which addresses just one aspect of the USGA’s Do’s and Don’ts of Affordable Golf.
The 20 videos in the Science of Golf series, developed by the partnership of NBC Learn, USGA, and Chevron, are available cost-free on The lesson plan linked below each of the videos provides an editable document, so you can make them your own to fit your ever-changing class list at the beginning of the year. Please leave comments below each posting about how well the information worked in your classrooms. And if you had to make significant changes to a lesson, we’d love to see what you did differently, as well as why you made the changes. Leave a comment, and we’ll get in touch with you with submission information.
SOG: Course Setup discusses how Pinehurst No. 2 will be set up “firm and fast” to make it a complete examination of both men and women golfers’ abilities.
STEM Lesson Plan—Adaptable for Grades 4–12
SOG: Course Setup describes how students might design a solution to a problem about how golf courses are set up. It also provides ideas for STEM exploration plus strategies to support students in their own quest for answers.
Image of Native grasses surround the 18th fairway at Pinehrst No. 2. courtesy of ncsuweb.
You can use the following form to e-mail us edited versions of the lesson plans: [contact-form 2 “ChemNow]

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