We all know that the PGA Tour is all about giving back to communities. Most of us don’t get to see where that money, time, and resources go, but I was invited by PXG to witness firsthand just one of the many programs. DAPCEP is a nonprofit organization in Detroit that offers students that ability to further their studies in fields they are interested in. PXG and DAPCEP joined forces during the Rocket Mortgage Classic to let students who are interesting in science, physics, and engineering to learn more about those subject through the game of golf.
CAPCEP students’ eyes were wide as they took in all of the golf equipment, putting greens, and fitting bays around the store. The first few minutes were filled with exploring the location and taking in everything it had to offer.
The morning was kicked off with introductions and PXG explaining how they are an engineering company that makes golf clubs. The first speaker was Caleb Kroloff, Senior R&D Engineer at PXG, and he talked a little about his path to becoming and engineer and why he loved the field so much. His mention of heading to college with no clear plan of what he would do for a career hit home with many of the students. Caleb also talked about how you can chase and research careers in passions or interests that you might have. He gave examples like looking at different sports and how someone has to design the materials and components that go into sports equipment. Engineering and problem solving are areas that have endless opportunities, if you just look a little deeper.
PXG had set up a few stations in the store that focuses on different educational subjects that required math and physics. Inside one of the fitting bays was a station that focused on full shot ball and clubbed speeds. Smash factor was not a term that any of these students were familiar with, but the math to calculate it was easy to learn. It was fun to see these young minds start asking questions about golf shots and how different variables affected the flight.
The next station focused on putting and the physics that face angle and speed had on putts. This station also allowed the students to try their hand at putting, while getting tips on how to hold a putter and getting to design their own alignment markings. The final station was built to show how COR was tested and calculated to ensure correct energy transfer off the face of a club. This again took a foreign concept and made it an easy problem to solve through math.
After the STEM learning at PXG all of the students went down to the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Country Club to watch the Wednesday practice round from the VIP box behind the 18th green. Not only did the students get a VIP tour of the PXG tour truck, they also got to meet a few celebrities as well. Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders and tour player Cameron Tringale both stopped by to meet these students and talk about education and opportunity. Out on the course major winner Zach Johnson stepped under the ropes to greet and take photos with these students.
By the end of the day you could see that some of the students really had grown and appreciation for the game of golf. So many also had their minds open to new goals and opportunities to chase. It was a great day to take it all in and enjoy seeing just a small amount of what partnerships like DAPCEP and PXG can do in communities across the country.