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Middle School STEM students learn about the science of maintaining a golf course

Millennial Tech students visit Torrey Pines Golf Course ahead of the Farmer's Insurance Open.

SAN DIEGO — Before the golf pros tee off for the Farmers Insurance Open this week, San Diego students are learning about the science of protecting and maintaining a PGA golf course.

Students at Millennial Tech Middle School went to Torrey Pines Golf Course to learn about the science behind habitats, water and conservation.

“I’m learning that under all the grass there is sand, and what it takes to make it and how each recipe is different,” said Samirah Lopez, 7th grade.

Seventh grader Henry Anderson didn't think much about the science of keeping up the green.

“When I pass by a golf course, I'm like, oh, it's just a' big patch of grass, it probably doesn't take that much just like watering it every day or whatever,'” said Anderson.

Anderson and 70 other 7th grade students from Millennial Tech are getting a hands-on experience on what it takes to maintain a PGA golf course during the week of the farmer's open at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

“It takes over 80 different tractors, lawn mowers,” said Anderson.

This innovative outreach program known as the First Green focuses on STEM principals is hosted by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

“It's a golf course, but it's not just the golf course, it's a big environment,” said Matt Partridge, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Their job encompasses protecting habitats.

“You actually have to make sure that the wildlife is protected, that the grass has different heights and that you have to make different types of sand so that the water can still pass through,” said Anderson.

Partridge teaches the students about conservation.

“Golf courses get at times, a little bit of bad stigma, especially with our water situation here and in southern California and things like that. But that's us as golf course superintendents, that's one of our main jobs, is we manage everything,” said Partridge.

This is environmental learning lab is creating opportunities for Mikaela Flores who is interested in agriculture engineering.

“They use this special kind of palette to spray on the grass if it doesn't have enough moisture or water on it,” said Flores.

But the birdie of the day was meeting PGA Tour players Michael Herrera and Rickie Fowler who schooled the students about life.

“It gets tough out here it's not all fun and easy and you are not always playing well it's more about how you deal with the tough times,” said Fowler.  

“This real-life experience is giving students a closer look at this environmental landmark.

“So now that I know it's like a lot more to it than just watering your grass every day,” said Anderson.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and improve communities through enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf.

WATCH RELATED: Palomar Health inspires 8th grade Escondido students to become healthcare workers (Oct. 2023).


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