PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Combining instruction in the principles of both science and golf, 20 Title I students from St. Lucie County Schools will take part in the first-ever PGA STEM Enrichment Camp at the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance this week, June 18-22.
The five-day camp is a partnership between St. Lucie County Schools, The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the ISS National Lab) and the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance. The program is designed to introduce upcoming seventh and eighth grade students, who attend schools with high percentages of children receiving free or reduced lunches, to three hours a day of STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—activities relating to the physics of golf, followed by two hours of daily golf instruction. the ISS National Lab will provide engineers each day, and retired NASA Space astronaut Jon McBride is scheduled to speak on June 22 on the importance of STEM careers, so students can make the connection between the activities they are conducting and opportunities for the future. The goal of the camp is to encourage these students to think like engineers and problem solvers as they learn how to play the game. In addition, students will discover the many careers in the golf industry that thrive with each new advance in technology, such as club, course, ball and shoe design, as well as the opportunities that exist in aerospace, engineering and math careers.
“The PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance is excited to bring in these students to learn that the game of golf is a fun application of science and learning that offers a lifetime of opportunity,” said Bob Baldassari, PGA Senior Director of Player Development, who was instrumental in working with the school system to create the pilot program. “We are delighted to work with St. Lucie County Schools and the Center for Advancement of Science in Space to deliver a state-of-the-art curriculum that fosters the growth of the game and the education of children at a critical juncture in their lives.”
“The game of golf provides a fun way for students to engage in an activity that teaches them fundamental elements of math and physics, a step toward fostering interest in future STEM-related careers,” added the ISS National Lab Interim Director Jim Royston. “The next generation of engineers and research scientists will be made up of the types of individuals that participated in engaging programs like this. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance on such a unique program for today’s students.”
Among the STEM activities will be experiments to build Ping-Pong ball launchers to simulate laws of golf ball flight and the creation of LEGO-type racers to test the speed and layout of greens. The students will then receive specialized golf instruction from PGA Professionals on staff, including the use of the state-of- the-art technology for swing analysis and clubfitting.
“We chose the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance because it is such an outstanding facility, especially with the technology it offers, such as Trackman for ball flight analysis and the SAM Putt Lab,” said Steve Shotola, St. Lucie County School Board Science Curriculum Supervisor. “We want to see a very positive reaction for physics from the students from this experience.”
Impoverished students rarely have an equal opportunity to experience activities, such as enrichment camps, that are afforded to other children. St. Lucie County Schools, the ISS National Lab and the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance are all looking to close this gap by providing a pilot program for other school systems and golf clubs to emulate.
All students attending received scholarships for their participation in the camp.
About PGA Village
The Ryder, Wanamaker, and Dye Courses form a trio of world-class courses at PGA Golf Club, at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Having been ranked among the best golf resorts in America, PGA Village also features the award winning, 35-acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance and the PGA Museum of Golf. PGA Golf Club exists to be one of the premier public-access resort facilities in America, complete with a Private Members Club, and serves as the home club for our 27,000 men and women PGA Professionals. For more information, please visit pgavillage.com.
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About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.
About the ISS National Lab
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the ISS National Lab) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. the ISS National Lab is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. The the ISS National Lab goal is to bring the magic of space down to earth. For more information, visit www.issnationallab.org.
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PGA of America
Tina Lange, APR
the ISS National Lab Communications
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