February 8, 2016 – On Monday, February 8, 30 sixth-graders from Sunnyside Elementary visited Bonita Golf Club in Bonita, Calif., for hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities. They ran their hands through soil samples, calculated the areas of the golf course that the superintendents deal with every day, and got to learn about greens and how to putt – all part of a First Green field trip.
“[The field trip] gave the students a different perspective,” said Sunnyside sixth-grade teacher Robyn Higginson. “I asked the kids how many had ever held a golf club before. Many of them hadn’t played golf. The students were also able to practice real-world problems. The math and science connection made (the experience) more relevant.”
Students weren’t the only ones learning on the golf course. Observing the field trip were golf course superintendents from around the country who were attending the Golf Industry Show (GIS), sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). At GIS, superintendents take professional development classes, network, and have a chance to learn about new golf industry products and programs. Like most professional conferences, the show is held indoors.
Superintendents who signed up for the First Green workshop looked forward to the added bonus of getting outdoors for part of their session to learn how they could host STEM field trips on their golf courses. The Bonita event was held on a beautiful 80-degree day.
The workshop offered superintendents an opportunity to expand local community involvement through hosting students and teachers. Several superintendents now hosting field trips were there to lead the labs and share what works for them at their own golf courses.