Spring may not be off to such a hot start as far as the weather is concerned, it is, however, off to a hot start when it comes to First Green field trips. Just last week, there
were a handful of field trips across the country, with two specifically taking place in the Great Lakes region.
The first field trip was hosted by 10-year GCSAA Class A member and Lakeside Golf Course superintendent Jason Nelson where he welcomed roughly 60 students from Garden Springs Elementary. Spearheaded by Jason, along with Lexington Parks and Recreation
Golf Services Manager Curtis Mitchell and fourth-grade science teacher Shad Lacefield, the three worked together to create three STEM education learning labs on the golf course.
The weather continued its theme this spring and did not fully cooperate. However, like superintendents, the great thing about First Green field trips is that they adapt easily when the weather doesn’t always oblige. Moving the field trip indoors, students
took part in labs which included cool tools found on the course, soil sciences and a putting lab.
Jason led the soils course where students participated in a hands-on demonstration to learn how soils aid in growing healthy turf on the golf course. The second lab included head professional Aaron McDowell leading the students though the cool tools and equipment Jason and his staff use to maintain the course, such as mowers and aerifiers. The final station included the putting lab which was taught by teacher Shad Lacefield. Here, students worked in teams to learn how the roles of potential and kinetic energy shape the putting stroke. This was a great way to incorporate the STEM education students are learning in the classroom and apply it to real-life scenarios.
Following the field trip in Lexington, Shayne Skolnik, CGCS, and Mike Mausolf hosted nearly 60 students from Cranbrook Middle School at Lyon Oaks Golf Course in Wixom, Mich. Along with the cool tools and the soil sciences labs, Skolnik, CGCS, a 29-year
GCSAA member, and Mausolf, a 20-year GCSAA member, also incorporated irrigation technology, and a mathematics lab.
A nice Michigan spring day allowed us to be outdoors and take advantage of the beautiful course. Along with Adam Ikamas, CGCS, the executive director of the Michigan GCSA, chapter president Ryan Moore was on hand to take part in the day’s
events. Moore, a 20-year GCSAA member and superintendent at Lake Forest Country Club, led the cool tools lab where students helped cut a cup, check soil moisture and take part in a putting contest. Here, students were also able to check out some
of the mowing and cultural practice equipment Shayne and Mike use at the course. The second station featured an irrigation technology lab where students learned about the water conservation techniques implemented by the golf course to reduce water
use, and also checked out irrigation software and satellite boxes used to operate individual irrigation heads. The final two labs included a soils science lab where students learned the components and importance of soils, both on the golf course
and at home, followed by a math lab where they found the area of a bunker utilizing the offset method.
I can’t thank Jason, Curtis, Shad, Shayne and Mike enough for their efforts in putting together these field trips. Without their dedication and support, the opportunity for the students to learn at the golf course simply wouldn't have happened. I've never
participated in a First Green field trip where it's not a great time for those involved. It’s always great to see the smiles on the faces of the students and the teachers while they are getting involved in the field trip labs. If you are interested
in hosting a First Green field trip at your course, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.