February 16, 2017

TGR Learning Lab comes to Genesis Open

While 144 of the world’s best golfers chase birdies and eagles this week during the Genesis Open at The Riviera Country Club, many young fans will enjoy a different experience.

On Thursday, TGR Ventures introduced a free Learning Lab Youth STEM Activation Zone for kids ages 10-16 near 13 green. Overseen by Kathy Bihr, vice president, programs and education, for the Tiger Woods Foundation, five activities have been created to inform, challenge, entertain and educate youngsters.

Need for speed
Participants will use a stimpmeter, a device used to accurately measure the speed of a putting green, to record the distance the golf ball travels on two surfaces. Three trials will be conducted on each of the surfaces in both directions. The participants will calculate the average distance for each.

Digging deep
Participants will be divided into two groups to test two different soil samples and determine which soil would have the desired levels of pH, nitrogen and phosphate to grow grass at the Riviera course. The results are recorded on a graph, analyzed and then compared to normal ranges of pH, nitrogen and phosphate for soil. An expert in the field of agronomy and greens keeping will be on-hand to discuss and answer questions.

‘Tink’ outside the box
Participants will be given the following tinkering challenges: Make a light bulb glow, use a knife switch to make a light bulb turn on and off and use the single pole double throw (SPDT) switch to control two light bulbs. Using a given set of supplies, participants will use exploratory and investigative learning to figure out how to complete each challenge. Participants will also gain a better understanding of circuitry and the electrical components used to create electrical paths.

Sink a Sphero
Participants will program simple commands and settings using a smart device to code a Sphero, then employ those skills to navigate the Sphero over a putting course and into a hole. Students can improve their putting skills while practicing coding with Sphero!

Dream. Design. Develop. 
Participants learn and observe the 3D printing process and gain insight on how the engineering design is used to create innovative products. Participants also have an opportunity to use the online CAD app Tinkercad to modify a simple 3D model. Golf tees will be printed throughout the day as a live demonstration. 3D printed golf tees will be given out to those that complete all STEM activities.

“Our goal is to show that learning is fun,” said Bihr, now in her 12th year with the foundation. “You can learn anywhere; it’s not just something you teach out of a textbook. Learning occurs in activities kids do in everyday life. Our hope is they make the connection and learn something.”

The Tiger Woods Foundation, located about an hour away in Anaheim, California, welcomes 8,000 to 10,000 underserved youth each year. Most finish high school and attend college or a trade school.

“The majority of kids that come through learn advanced skills,” Bihr said.

The STEM Activation Zone will also be open Friday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.