Skip to main content

How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play - STEM Lesson Plan (Grades 4-12)

Science of Golf Thumbnail

This document is a companion piece to video titled How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play and is intended as a resource for educators.

Background and Planning Information

About the Video

Thirty-five seconds is a good estimate of the amount of time it takes a player to hit a ball on the golf course. Played at par, the average par 72 course requires about 42 minutes of actual hitting time. Science of Golf (SOG): How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play examines what happens on the golf course during the rest of the three to five hours it takes to play a round of golf. Patrick Rodgers, 2013 U.S. Walker Cup Team Member, knows about the bottlenecks that slow things down on the golf course. Matthew Pringle, Ph.D., Manager of Research and Development for Equipment Standards at the United States Golf Association (USGA), equates the time spent waiting on the golf course with how much fun golfers have. Pringle's analysis of the pace of play involves science, technology, engineering, and math. Flow rate and cycle times are studied to determine why bottlenecks occur on the golf course and what can be done about them. Solutions that speed up the game affect design, maintenance, and golf course management.

0:00 0:15

Series opening

0:16 0:41

Golf is a game of challenges—How long it takes to play a normal round

0:42 0:59

Introducing Patrick Rodgers

1:00 1:15

Defining pace of play

1:16 1:24

Introduction to Matt Pringle—the USGA is concerned about pace of play

1:25 1:38

Variables involved in analysis of the pace of play

1:39 1:48

Definition of flow rate

1:49 2:26

Flow rate examples

2:27 2:43

How to avoid traffic jams on the golf course by controlling flow rate throughout the course

2:44 3:12

Definition of cycle time—Cycle time determines intervals between tee times

3:13 3:37

Technology is used to gather data on flow rate and cycle times

3:38 4:00

Gathered data will lead to possible golf course changes and better pace of play

4:01 4:08

An improved pace of play makes golf more enjoyable....

4:09 4:22

Summary

4:23 4:33

Closing credits

Language Support

To aid those with limited English proficiency or others who need help focusing on the video, click the Transcript tab on the right side of the video window, then copy and paste the text into a document for student reference.

Standards Connections for NGSS and Common Core ELA

Connected standards are listed in full on the last page of this document.

Promote STEM with Video

Connect to Science

In SOG: How the USGA Determines Pace of Play, Matt Pringle uses a funnel and water as an example of flow rate. Flow rate is also examined in the flow of cars and trucks on a major highway. Traffic flow looks at the movement of individual drivers and vehicles between two points and the interactions they make with one another. Flow, density, and velocity are the three main characteristics looked at when studying the flow of traffic. Fluid dynamics is the study of how fluids flow. Fluid dynamics is an applied science dealing with the basic principles of gases and liquids in motion. Fluid dynamics studies pressure and resistance in relationship to flow. Fourth-grade students examine the flow of water in their analysis of weathering and erosion. Middle school students describe the cycling of matter and the flow of energy among living things. High school students look at how matter and energy flow through different organizational levels of living systems.

Related Science Concepts

  • capacity

  • engineering

  • factory physics

  • flow analysis

  • human kinetics

  • kinemetrics

  • pressure

  • queuing theory

  • resistance

  • speed formula

  • through put

Take Action with Students

  • Bottlenecks can occur on a golf course on any hole at any time. The rules of golf allow a golfer to spend up to 5 minutes looking for a lost ball. If Matt Pringle is correct that the average foursome requires 10 minutes to play a hole, the additional 5 minutes puts the lost ball group behind by 5 minutes. This has the same impact on the groups behind them. Player-specific factors greatly affect the pace of play. Some players faced with a lost ball will immediately hit a provisional ball. (Golfers can only hit another ball if they think their first ball is lost but not in a hazard. If they find their first ball and can play it, they pick up the provisional ball. If the first ball is lost the golfer can then play the provisional ball with a one-stroke penalty.) When those golfers get to where they think the lost ball is they will glance around briefly before quickly resuming play with the provisional ball. Other golfers will use the full 5 minutes given to them by the rules looking for what seemingly is their favorite golf ball. Player specific factors can be simulated with liquids of different viscosities. Viscosity is the property of a fluid that resists the force that causes the fluid to flow. Students can use plastic/paper cups to determine the relative viscosities of different safe liquids that you have on hand. Students can take the same amount of different liquids and determine the rate at which they pass through a small, uniform sized hole in the bottom of a cup. Have students make an analogy between the various activities of golfers that cause slow play and the viscosity of a given liquid, determining the pace at which the liquid will flow through similar sized holes in the bottom of cups. Higher-level students can determine the rate at which materials, such as ball bearings, or golf balls, will flow through a liquid.

(page 1)


  • On the golf course, conditions can change from moment to moment, impacting the pace of play. Microelectronics Heat Transfer Laboratory (http://www.mhtl.uwaterloo.ca/old/onlinetools/airprop/airprop.html) offers a Fluid Properties Calculator that allows the user to examine both dynamic and kinematic viscosity of different fluids under varying conditions.

  • Golf courses designed with long distances between holes or long walks (and cart drives) between the tee box and landing area of tee shots can add 30 to 40 minutes to the time required for a round of golf. Because making changes to an actual golf course may be difficult, consider having students explore features that slow or speed up play using pencil and paper mazes they design.

  • Students might do research to report on the use of flow rate analysis/cycle times in other sports.

  • The Golf Channel Amateur Tour is the nation’s largest amateur golf tour featuring 12 flights for all ages and skill levels. This tour has been very successful at improving pace of play. The Golf Channel Amateur Tour Regional Director Mike Rich says this about the Tour’s pace of play policy, “GC Am Tour has one of the best pace of play policies in the golf industry. It is not only easy to comprehend, but it motivates players to play ready golf.” The plan is straightforward. Groups of players are given four hours and 30 minutes to finish their round. All of the members of groups that are more than 14 minutes behind the group in front of them are penalized one stoke each. Students might consider this policy in terms of behavioral science, or the systematic analysis and investigation of human behavior through observation and scientific experimentation. Students could then devise a pace of play policy that would be acceptable under the tenets of behavioral science.

Connect to Technology

Show students SOG: How the USGA Determines Pace of Play, focusing 3:13–3:37, which explains how the USGA uses pocket-held GPS devices to gather flow rate and cycle time data. Pringle says "....it'll collect every five seconds where exactly on Earth you are and when you are there. And we get an exact path of how they flowed around the golf course with their group. We can get all of these parameters now, and see how all of those things affect how quickly they're able to navigate through.” What other tools and strategies can be used to monitor and improve the pace of play during a round of golf?

Take Action with Students

  • Some golf courses have golf carts with GPS devices on them. These devices give players their accurate locations on the golf course. They also let golf course management know where on the course each golf cart is. Identify the benefits of such a system and evaluate how it might impact pace of play.

  • Many golfers have GPS apps on their phones, a dedicated hand-held golf GPS, or use a laser range finder to find distances on the golf course. How might these hand-held technologies improve pace of play? Students might also identify factors that cause slow play that GPS devices are not able to identify or help with.

(page 2)


Connect to Engineering

The engineering design process uses human ingenuity to draw from science, math, and technology to solve a problem. Who manages the flow of people at theme parks or airports? Who decides what kind of training employees need before they work with new equipment? Who explains to accountants why the cost of a facility upgrade has changed? Who determines where to add people or machinery for maximum impact? For students who like to be at the center of the action designing creative solutions that make business and industry work safer, faster, and leaner, a possible career path is industrial engineering technology (http://spsu.edu/undergradcatalog20112012/industrial-engineering- technology.htm). Industrial engineering technologists can analyze the interaction of a golf course's length, obstacles, and green-to-tee distances to determine how long it should take to play a course.

Take Action with Students

  • Read: http://www.usga.org/MicroSiteContent.aspx?id=21474856713 and identify the strengths and weaknesses of Bill Yates’s engineering designed solution for slow play at Pebble Beach. What parts of Yates’s plan would probably work at any golf course? What data supports your conclusions? How do Yates’s efforts serve as an engineering design solution to Pebble Beach's problem?

  • Engineer Bill Yates has also written a pace of play guide for the National Golf Course Owners Association (https://www.ngcoa1.org/images/ngcoa/Pace_of_Play.pdf). Beginning at page 28, Yates discusses how certain features of a golf course can add to slow play. Use what Yates promotes to design a golf hole that will be fun to play without adding to the slow play problem. Annotate your design diagram to justify the features you've selected from a pace of play point of view.

  • How could you draw from science, math, and technology to design a device that will pump liquids of various viscosities at the same rate? Make a diagram and explain your solution.

Connect to Math

In SOG: How The USGA Determines the Pace of Play Pringle expresses the desire to create a dynamic model for improving pace of play. At the URL http://www.usga.org/MicroSiteContent.aspx?id=21474855444 you can see a picture of Matt Pringle and some of the math that he has used to progress towards the dynamic model. Like traffic on a highway, the flow of golfers around a golf course tends to have some reasonable consistency and can be represented mathematically. How will Pringle make best use of queuing theory? Queuing theory is the mathematical study of waiting lines. Queuing theory predicts line lengths and waiting time. Businesses use queuing theory when identifying resources needed to provide a service, which is exactly what a round of golf is. Mathematics can also be used in medicine to calculate the rate of flow at which fluids can be delivered.

(page 3)


Take Action with Students

  • If students do an Internet search for the next sentence they will find it on the sites of everything from small privately owned golf courses to national organizations. "Choose a set of tees with a rating of 142 minus your handicap index. Or just tee it forward." It is frequently offered as one of the top-10 ways to increase the pace of play. For more information of the issues raised here students might examine: http://www.leaderboard.com/abcs.htm. Using a scorecard for a local course (or a facsimile of one obtained online), explain how this formula works and analyze how it will improve the pace of play.

  • High school students should be able to develop a formula for figuring out the wait time for a theme park. Others might find the following useful: The average wait time for a theme park attraction equals the number of people who get in line during an hour minus the attraction's hourly capacity. Take that number and divide it by the hourly capacity. Then multiply that result by 60 (for minutes in the hour). The result is your average wait time during that hour (http://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/201102/2328/). Will this formula work on a golf course? On a par-four golf hole at most public golf courses, there is usually a foursome getting to the tee box as a foursome waits in the fairway for the foursome on the green to clear. Calculate and graph the wait time if there are 2, 4, 6, and 8 golfers waiting on a bottlenecked par four. How can this formula be used to learn what will happen if the number of players on a hole is actually less than its capacity?

  • VisageTM Mobile Golf Information System offers an in-cart GPS Information System. How much does it cost? Their marketing material boasts: $1.87 per round. That’s what Visage costs for an operation with a 70-car fleet and 22,400 rounds. The return on investment, of course, can be many times that. How would you use math to decide if this was a good deal? Could math help you to find out how much benefit the average golfer receives for her $1.87. Is there something special about the number 22,400? If this were an annual cost would it be worth it?

  • Students might read the text at http://www.columbia.edu/~ww2040/Fu_Whitt_Golf_110613.pdf. How can queuing theory help solve the pace of play problem mathematically?

  • Medicine has a very straightforward calculation for the flow of medicine through an intravenous drip. Total Amount of Fluid (mL) × Drop factor (gtts/mL) / Total Minutes ( # of hours × 60 min) = Flow Rate. gtts is the abbreviation for the Latin word guttae, which means drops.

    • Your patient requires 4000 mL of normal saline solution over 32 hours. The drip factor of the tubing on hand is 20 gtts/mL. Calculate the drip rate to the nearest whole number.

    • Mrs. Blomburg has been ordered an IV therapy over the next 18 hours. She is to have 5 liters of 0.8% Saline. The available IV set delivers 15 gtts/mL. Calculate the drip rate to the nearest whole number.

  • Many golf courses only allow golfers to ride in carts. Carts supposedly increase the pace of play. How can this supposition be investigated by math?

(page 4)


Facilitate ENGINEERING DESIGN Inquiry

Encourage inquiry using a strategy modeled on the research-based science writing heuristic. Student work will vary in complexity and depth depending on grade level, prior knowledge, and creativity. Use the prompts liberally to encourage thought and discussion. Student Copy Masters begin on page 16.

Explore Understanding

Guide a discussion to find out what students know about pacing during an activity, flow rate, and cycle time. Use resources such as the following:

After breaking the ice on the topic you might move groups of students to the four corners of the room. In each corner, groups will discuss flow rate (or an aspect of cycle time that you’ve assigned to each corner) to activate their background knowledge. Four corners can be highly engaging for students and only requires 5 to 10 minutes. Use the following or similar prompts to start students talking.

  • One experience I have had with flow rate is....

  • Golfers are able to play at a faster pace by....

  • I experience wait time every day when....

  • One way I have seen a flow rate change over time is....

  • One way to change the pace of play to make a round of golf more enjoyable is....

  • Flow rate and cycle time are also factors in the sports of....

  • Things that affect pace of play include....

  • Sometimes, pace of play makes it more difficult to play golf well, such as when....

  • The problem with long delays during a round of golfis....

  • The engineer/scientist can help golfers by....

  • Some factors controlling place of playare....

  • Club selection can affect the pace of play by....

Show SOG: How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play and encourage students, as they watch, to take notes about pace of play, flow rate, cycle times, and expert recommendations about improving the pace of play. Continue the discussion of how a design team might increase pace of play using the following or similar prompts:

  • When I watched the video, I thought about....

  • The video describes....

  • We learned from the video that....

  • Something about what was done in the video that I connected to an event in my life was....

(page 5)


  • One problem that a design team might try to solve is....

  • The experts in the video explained that....

  • Variables influencing the potential solutions include....

  • Constraints inherent in the game of golf include....

  • Our efforts might be limited by....

  • Engineering has already improved pace of play by....

Identify Problems

Stimulate small-group discussion with the prompt: This video makes me think about these problems.... Then have small groups list questions they have about pace of play on the golf course. The rules of golf may or may not be followed strictly to meet the needs of this activity.

Groups should be encouraged to always develop questions that push their understanding of flow rate and cycle time and may require print or online resources to supplement/deepen what they already know. Ask groups to choose one question and phrase it in such a way as to reflect an engineering problem that is researchable and/or testable. Bring groups together to discuss/share problems. Remind students that engineering problems usually have multiple solutions. Some questions that reflect engineering design problems are:

  • What factors can be changed that might increase the pace of play and prevent bottlenecks from happening on the golf course?

  • How do the rules of golf limit changes that can be made to improve the pace of play?

  • Would individual/group golfer factors limit innovations that will improve pace of play?

  • Is there an optimal pace of play for all holes on a golf course?

  • Is there a way to change the golfer’s performance that could take care of the pace of play problem?

  • How could we use technology to improve pace of play on the golf course?

  • How is golfing performance connected to the pace of play?

  • What is the ideal amount of time to play an 18-hole round of golf?

  • Which has a greater effect? Increasing the pace of play through engineering and technology or improving the athlete’s performance?

  • How can we predict how our design change/improvements will work on the golf course?

  • How might using the golfer’s average driving distance to determine the tees to play from on a golf course improve pace of play?

  • What is the quickest way to decrease wait time on the golf course?

  • Do golfers that are out to have fun on the golf course actually worry about pace of play?

  • How does pace of play affect golfers' scores?

Investigate Design Problems

Choose one of the following options based on your students’ knowledge, creativity, and ability level and your available materials. Actual materials needed would vary greatly based on these factors as well.

Materials and the Inquiry Process

Allow time for students to examine and manipulate the materials that are available. Doing so often aids students in refining their questions or prompts new ones that should be recorded for future investigation.

(page 6)


  • To explore decreasing pace of play by creating a golf simulation: Students might use file folders, colored paper, colored pencils, markers, various objects for game pieces, die, cloth with smooth to very rough surfaces, 3×5 index cards, golf score cards with course maps, spinner(s), and writing paper; or online computer simulation tools, and a healthy dose of creativity.

  • Measuring tools such as meter sticks, stopwatches, smart phone video cameras, protractors, rulers or measuring tape, and calculators might also be useful in the design process.

Safety Considerations

Review safe use of tools and measurement devices as needed. Augment your own safety procedures at NSTA’s Safety Portal (http://www.nsta.org/portals/safety.aspx).

Open Choice Approach(Copy Master page 17)

  1. Give students time to discuss their individual questions. Groups might agree on one problem for which they will design a solution, or each group might evaluate different problems and solutions. Creation of a golf simulation that examines changes/innovations that decrease wait times on the golf course could serve as a model for this activity. To help students envision their investigations, use prompts such as the following:

    • The design problem we are solving is....

    • Materials we could use to implement our design are....

    • The science concepts involved in our design include....

    • The math concepts involved in our design include....

    • We are designing a solution that will....

    • Barriers to success that we anticipate are....

    • Acceptable evidence for a successful solution would include....

  2. Lead discussions to establish the criteria and constraints within which the pace of play might be improved. Remind students that criteria are factors by which they can judge the success of their effort and that constraints are limitations to the effort and are often related to materials, time, or money. Remind students that in order to determine whether their effort is successful, they will also need to consider how they will measure the change.

    • We think we can solve the problem by....

    • Our criteria for success are....and we will determine them by....

    • Constraints that might limit potential solutions are....

    • Engineering designed solutions can improve the pace of play because...

  3. Have students determine the dependent variable they will use to evaluate their design as well as consider the independent variable on which it depends. Check the students' understanding of each variable, such as factors that increase the pace of play, things that cannot be controlled that decrease the pace of play, or events inherent in the game of golf that cannot be changed. Students should identify the other variables associated with the problem they are trying to solve and consider how they will measure or control all of the variables. Then have them determine what data/evidence they need to collect to evaluate the success of their design. Students need to confirm that their designs address the science concepts behind the investigation.

  4. Students should brainstorm a plan for their evidence collection. Work with students to develop safe procedures that control variables and enable them to make accurate measurements. Students must have your approval on their procedures before they start any investigation. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

    • Information we need to understand before we can start our investigation is....

    • We will change our board simulation to....

    • We will make our simulation more representative of what really happens on a golf course by....

    • To observe what happens to the dependent variable, we will make design decisions, or changes to the independent variable, such as....

    • The data we will collect are....

    • We will record and organize our data using....

    • We will measure increases in the pace of play by....

  5. Allow students to spend some time working with the materials they have decided to use to implement their simulation. As students work with the materials, suggest that they reexamine their problem(s) and write down the procedures they intend to follow and how they will test their design and collect the data necessary to revise their design. Collecting evidence to promote future iterations and innovations is a critical step in the engineering design cycle. Guide students with prompts such as the following.

    • Information we need to understand before designing our pace of play simulation includes....

    • We will construct our golf simulation by....

    • While constructing our simulation we will....

    • To conduct our simulation safely, we will....

    • Thinking about future innovation we....

    • We will represent our data by....

    • Mathematical models we can use in our investigation include....

  6. Be sure to work with students to develop safe procedures that help their simulations reflect what takes place on an actual golf course.

  7. After communicating information to the class about their solution and reflecting on their own solution, as well as those of other groups, allow the class or small groups to go through a redesign process to optimize their solutions and what they have learned. Encourage students to identify limitations of the design and testing process. Were there variables that they did not identify earlier that had an impact on their designs?

(page 7)


Focused Approach(Copy Master pages 19-20)

The following exemplifies one way students might design solutions to SOG: How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play problems. Imagine students were given this problem to solve in January in Minneapolis or that the closest golf course is 100 miles from their school. Modeling and simulation allow engineers to examine analysis of their concepts and conduct detailed simulations that can determine if an idea will work. Modeling bottlenecks on a golf course is just as realistic as modeling the control systems that will improve space flight. Not everyone has an opportunity to carry out actual physical changes to the lay out of a golf course. Simulations, used logically, can lead to insights in the design process.

Give students leeway in determining exactly how they will create a simulation to examine what changes to a golf course will lead to an increase in the pace of play, but insist that they get your approval on their procedures before they start any investigation. You might include constraints for issues of safety, time, or materials.

  1. Give students time to discuss their selected problem(s) and why they are doing what they are planning. Allow time for groups to examine available materials. Guide whole-class or small-group discussions to identify the problem being solved and the criteria and constraints against which solutions will be developed. For example, how can students create a golf simulation that will help them to learn about the frustrations of slow play and how to increase the pace of play. Remind students that criteria are factors by which they can judge the success of their effort and that constraints are limitations to the effort and are often related to materials, time, or money. Use prompts such as the following:

    • The pace of play problem we are solving is related to....

    • We are designing a solution to slow play that will....

    • Materials we could use to simulate pace of play are....

    • The science concepts that we will need to use in changing pace of play include....

    • Mathematics we must understand to improve pace of play include....

    • We think we can improve pace of play by....

    • Our criteria for success are....

    • Constraints that might limit potential solutions to pace of play are....

    • We will make a simulation of pace of play on the golf course to....

    • Acceptable evidence that would support improved pace of play due to our changes include....

  2. Encourage students to think about how they can design a pace of play simulation game while considering variables such as golf course management, player-specific factors, course-specific factors, group-interactive factors, and revenue management. Guide the class to establish criteria and constraints for the solution to the problem. Remind students that criteria are factors by which they can judge the success of their effort and that constraints are limitations to the effort and are often related to materials, time and money. Use prompts such as the following:

    • The pace of play problem we are solving is....

    • Factors promoting the continuation of slow play include....

    • We can build a model/simulation to examine pace of play using....

    • From the video, we could use....

    • Constraints keeping golf from improving pace of play include....

    • Our model/simulation will help us to understand/examine....

    • One thing we will need to do with a slow play simulation is....

    • We’re not going to simulate _____ because we think it will....

    • Another thing we will need to do with our slow play simulation is....

    • We think our changes will increase the pace of play on the golf course because....

    • The simulated golf course we have designed is similar to an actual golf course because....

  3. Students should brainstorm a plan for their evidence collection strategy prior to designing their pace of play simulation. Provide students with the following prompts to guide how they might collect evidence for evaluating their design:

    • We will test our simulation to see if it reduces slow play by....

    • We will change the speed of greens and the depth of the primary rough for our simulated golf course to examine their relationship to the pace of play....

    • The data we will collect demonstrating increased pace of play include....

    • We will record and organize our data using....

    • We will use evidence such as _____ to determine the need for additional changes such as....

    • Our simulation can be justified by....

  4. Students might plan and build their design from the materials at hand or use online computer simulation tools. Their simulations might include a model to show how far the ball is hit, a putting surface and ball to determine if a putt goes in, 3×5 index cards to make hazard/bottleneck cards that slow play, penalties for slow play, cards that determine the intervals between each player’s shots, and rewards for fast play, golf score cards to set up the course on which their round will be simulated, a spinner that determines how the ball/putt was hit, paper on which to post the rules of the game and how play begins and proceeds. Students need to determine how to keep time while play proceeds.

  5. After communicating information to the class about their solution and reflecting on the solutions of other groups, allow the class or small groups to go through a redesign process to improve their solutions. Encourage students to identify limitations of the design and testing process. Students should also consider if there were variables that they did not identify earlier that had an impact on their designs?

(page 8)


Media Research Option

Common Core State Standards Connections: ELA/Literacy –

 

  • RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions

  • WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

  • WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.

  • WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

Groups might have questions that are best explored using print media and online resources. Students might begin by researching why they are doing a media investigation. They might compare why some of the designs they learn about are better than others. Students should brainstorm to form a list of key words and phrases they could use in Internet search engines that might result in resources that will help them answer the question. Review how to safely browse the Web, how to evaluate information on the Internet for accuracy, and how to correctly cite the information found. Suggest students make note of any interesting tangents they find in their research effort for future inquiry. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

  • Words and phrases associated with our question are....

  • The reliability of our sources was established by....

  • The science and math concepts that underpin a possible solution are....

  • Our research might feed into an engineering design solution such as....

  • To conduct the investigation safely using the Internet, we will....

Related Internet Resources

(page 9)


Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

As students carry out their design investigations, ensure they record their observations and measurements. Students should analyze their observations in order to state one or more claims. Encourage students with this prompt: As evidenced by... I claim... because.... or I claim our design (was/was not) successful because....

An example claim might be:
As evidenced by average scores on the golf hole we set up to improve pace of play, I claim, that although we shortened the par three hole by 53 yards, it actually took longer to play because of two significant reasons. First, we learned that 87 yards is actually a very difficult number for the average golfer to hit. Most players were either far short or far long, which added significantly to time required to play the hole. Second, we found that the green of the hole was too firm and fast for the pace of play to be improved. The firmness of the green caused many good shots to skip to the back of the green, further slowing down play. The speedy green caused the average golfer to take one to two more putts than necessary. Overall, our efforts to improve the pace of play actually slowed play down by an average of 1.47 minutes.

Present and Compare Findings

Encourage students to prepare presentations that outline their inquiry investigations so they can compare results with others. Students might do a Gallery Walk through the presentations and write peer reviews, as would be done on published science and engineering findings. Students might also make comparisons with material they find on the Internet, information presented in the video, or an expert they chose to interview. Remind students to credit their original sources in their comparisons. Elicit comparisons from students with prompts such as:

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in the video in that....

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that....

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that....

Students might make comparisons like the following:
My results were similar to those discussed in class in that the once we instructed golfers on how to keep up with the group ahead of them by playing ready golf, the bottleneck was eliminated on the dog leg left, par 5 hole number 5. Average cycle time was decreased by 1.2 minutes.

(page 10)


Reflect and Redesign

Students should reflect on their understanding, thinking about how their ideas have changed or what they know now that they didn’t before. They should also evaluate their own designs in light of others’ presentations and propose changes that will optimize their designs while recognizing that there are multiple ways to solve any problem. Encourage reflection, using prompts such as the following:

  • My ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson because evidence showed that....

  • My design would be more effective if I _____ because I learned that....

  • My ideas changed in the following ways....

  • It is important to....

  • When thinking about the claims made by the experts, I am confused about....

  • One concept I now understand (or understand better) or could teach someone....

Inquiry Assessment

See the rubric included in the student Copy Masters on page 21.

Incorporate Video into Your Lesson Plan

Integrate Video in Instruction

  • Bellringer: Show SOG: How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play 1:25–1:38 to remind students about the many things that are involved in analysis of the pace of play. Display the following prompts for your students and have them explain which they think will improve the pace of play.

    • Playing from the correct set of tees (based on the length that you can hit the ball)....

    • Taking time to think about your next shot after you get to your golf ball....

    • Putting conversation on hold before it is your turn to play your next shot....

    • Keeping the preshot routine (the actions taken to set up a swing) as short as possible....

    • Not worrying about keeping up with the group in front of you....

    • Taking all the time you need on the green when putting....

Homework: Show students SOG: How the USGA Determines Pace of Play, focusing on the section from 1:25–1:38, that introduces a few of the things that slow down pace of play on the golf course. Videos of full or partial rounds of golf are available on YouTube and other video services. An example is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q8Vr5A656c. Have students watch a video and draw and explain golf course features that they spot that slow the pace of play.

Using the 5E Approach?

If you use a 5E approach to lesson plans, consider incorporating video in these Es:

  • Explore: Use the Design Investigations section of the Facilitate Inquiry to support your lessons on fluid dynamics and cycle time. Main concepts should include flow analysis, course set up, human kinematics, throughput, tee time interval management, and capacity.

  • Elaborate: Elaborate: Show students SOG: How the USGA Determines Pace of Play, focusing on 2:44–3:12 that discusses cycle time and how it determines optimum tee time intervals. Have students research the relationships between tee time intervals and the maximum number of groups that a given golf course can offer a fun round of golf to. Consider: http://www.golfchannel.com/news/golftalkcentral/pace-play-month-ten-ways-speed-it/. Students should elaborate on pace of play, how bottlenecks are created, and what players and golf course managers can do about it. Students can also generate their own questions to elaborate on pace of play issues.

(page 11)


Connect to...ELA Language Arts

Watch SOG: How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play 2:27–2:43. “Every golf course is a freeway (highway) with one on-ramp” says industrial engineer Bill Yates in Does golf need a shot clock, or just a clock? at http://www.pacemanager.com/uploaded_files/fck/files/does- golf-need-shot-clock.pdf. Have students conduct a debate or evaluate and communicate information.

  • Choose a side. Should golf have a shot clock? Back up your opinion with support from the article or other research that you might do.

  • Create a poster or brochure, based on information gleaned from the article, with common sense practices that new or novice players can use to pick up their pace of play.

Connect to ... Economics

Watch SOG: How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play 3:38–4:00. Rangers to monitor the pace of play used to be a common feature on golf courses. Recent economic downturns have caused cuts in the number of rangers (also known as player assistants). Look at the following resources and report on whether bringing rangers to every course would benefit golfers from a pace of play viewpoint. Use numerical data in your analysis to show how a ranger would/would not benefit the course and its players.

Use Video as a Writing Prompt

The impetus for SOG: How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play stems from a concerted effort of the USGA to shorten rounds to enhance player .and thus, more people play golf. Show the segment 3:38–4:00 that highlights some of the efforts being made. In addition, the USGA developed a few public service announcements, or PSAs, that play during televised tournaments. Featured are three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods, 1960 U.S. Open champion and golf icon Arnold Palmer, Academy Award–winning actor/director Clint Eastwood, three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam, 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer, and famed American golf instructor Butch Harmon. Show one or two of the students’ choosing.

Students might write a pro/con argument about the potential effectiveness of the PSAs they chose. A compare/contrast statement would also highlight the potential marketing value of the PSAs. In addition, some students might research the source of the “While We’re Young” statement, which is the iconic line from the character played by Rodney Dangerfield in the classic 1980 film Caddyshack, and discuss the effectiveness of irony for the target market.

(page 12)


COPY MASTER: OPEN CHOICE ENGINEERING DESIGN INQUIRY GUIDE FOR STUDENTS

How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play

Use this as a guide to design and test your solution according to criteria and constraints established by the class. Record all of your notes and observations in your science notebook.

Identify Problems

Our class discussion and the video make me think about problems such as....

Design Investigations

Choose your materials and brainstorm with your teammates to discuss how you will make and test your design solution. Take notes on your discussions. Use these prompts to help you:

  • The materials we will use to simulate slow play on the golf course include....

  • Our criteria for measuring increases in the pace of play are....

  • Acceptable evidence for increased pace of play would include....

  • The constraints within which we will examine the slow play problem are are....

  • We will record and organize data about the pace of play using....

  • To investigate the pace of play safely, we will....

Test Your Model

Record and organize your data and observations from your model/simulation using tables and/or graphs.

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your and make one or more claims based on the evidence your data shows. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the relationship between the variables.

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

Present and Compare Findings

Listen to pace of play presentations of other groups and create a peer review as scientists do for one another. You might also compare your findings with those of experts in the video or that you have access to, or material on the Internet. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) the experts in the video in that....

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) my classmates in that....

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) what I found on the Internet in that....

Reflect and Redesign

How did your investigation change your thinking? How did you improve your simulation?

  • I claim that my ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson in that....

  • My simulation would be more effective if we _____ because we learned that....

  • When thinking about the claims made by the experts, I am confused about....

  • One part of the simulation that I am most proud of is....

  • In simulating slow play innovations we incorporated included....

  • An idea about slow play that I understand better or could teach other students is....

(page 13)


COPY MASTER: Focused ENGINEERING DESIGN Inquiry Guide for Students

How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play

Use this as a guide to plan, build, and test your design according to criteria and constraints established by the class. Record all of your notes and observations in your science notebook.

Ask Beginning Questions

Why is increasing the pace of play and reducing slow play so critical to the future of the game of golf?

Identify Problems

  • What changes can be made to increase the pace of play?

  • What factors slow play and how can they be reduced or eliminated?

  • Which factors causing slow play should we consider changing?

  • How can we be certain that our pace of play simulation will be an accurate test of the science concepts we are examining?

Design Investigations

Discuss with your group how you might create a logical simulation of true golf course bottlenecks with the available materials. Use these prompts to help you.

  • The science concepts that we will need to use when planning our slow play simulation include....

  • We think we can reduce slow play on the golf course by....

  • Criteria that will demonstrate that we have successfully increased the pace of play are....

  • Constraints that might limit the range of decreasing slow play include....

  • Acceptable evidence that would demonstrate the simulated increases in the pace of play include....

  • Our simulation will look like....

  • We think these changes will increase the pace of play because....

  • We will represent our data in the following way(s)....

  • We will compare the data about pace of play from each trial by....

  • We will analyze the overall reduction to slow play data by....

  • To conduct our investigation safely, we will....

Test Your Model

Record and organize your observations and data in tables such as the one below. In the “Design Changes/Trial #” column describe the changes you made that were intended to decrease the time it takes for a golfer to complete 18 holes. Make sketches of the changes you make to your design.

(page 14)


Design Iteration

Describe Changes/Trial #

Time Required to Play 18 Holes

1

 

 

 

Trial 1

 

 

Trial 2

 

 

Trial 3

 

 

Average

 

2

 

 

 

Trial 1

 

 

Trial 2

 

 

Trial 3

 

Ideas for Analyzing Data
  • Describe how the changes you made impacted how fast a golfer completed 18 holes.

  • Describe how your data helped you make decisions to change your simulation.

  • What changes to the simulation had the greatest impact in observed results?

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence your data shows. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the relationship between the variables.

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present and Compare Findings

Listen to presentations of other groups and create a peer review as scientists do for one another. You might also compare your findings with those of experts in the video or that you have access to, or material on the Internet. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in the video in that....

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that....

  • My findings are similar to (or different from) information I found on the Internet in that....

(page 15)


Reflect and Redesign

Think about what you learned. How does it change your thinking? Your design?

  • I claim that my ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson in that....

  • My simulation would be more effective if I _____ because I learned that....

  • When thinking about the claims made by the expert, I am confused about....

  • One part of the simulation I am most proud of is....

  • Because of creating the pace of pay simulation I could teach others....

COPY MASTER: ASSESSMENT RUBRIC FOR INQUIRY INVESTIGATIONS

Criteria

1 point

2 points

3 points

Initial problem

Problem had too simple of a solution, was off topic, or otherwise was not researchable or testable.

Problem was researchable or testable but too broad or not answerable by the chosen investigation.

Problem was clearly stated, was researchable or testable, and showed direct relationship to investigation.

Investigation design

The design of the investigation did not support a response to the initial question or provide a solution to the problem.

While the design supported the initial problem, the procedure used to collect data (e.g., number of trials, or control of variables) was insufficient.

Variables were clearly identified and controlled as needed with steps and trials that resulted in data that could be used to answer the question or solve the problem.

Variables (if applicable)

Either the dependent or independent variable was not identified.

While the dependent and independent variables were identified, no controls were present.

Variables identified and controlled in a way that resulting data can be analyzed and compared.

Safety procedures

Basic laboratory safety procedures were followed, but practices specific to the activity were not identified.

Some, but not all, of the safety equipment was used and only some safe practices needed for this investigation were followed.

Appropriate safety equipment used and safe practices adhered to.

Data and Analysis (based on iterations)

Observations were not made or recorded, and data are unreasonable in nature, or do not reflect what actually took place during the investigation.

Observations were made, but were not very detailed, or data appear invalid or were not recorded appropriately.

Detailed observations were made and properly recorded and data are plausible and recorded appropriately.

Claim

No claim was made or the claim had no relationship to the evidence used to support it.

Claim was marginally related to evidence from investigation.

Claim was backed by investigative or research evidence.

Findings comparison

Comparison of findings was limited to a description of the initial problem.

Comparison of findings was not supported by the data collected.

Comparison of findings included both methodology and data collected by at least one other entity.

Reflection

Student reflection was limited to a description of the procedure used.

Student reflections were not related to the initial problem.

Student reflections described at least one impact on thinking.

(page 16)


SCIENCE OF GOLF: How the USGA Determines the Pace of Play Standards Connections

Next Generation Science Standards

The following inquiry investigations might be part of a summative assessment for these performance expectations. See NGSS documents for additional related Common Core State Standards for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics.

Engineering Design

  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

  • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

  • HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

  • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

Common Core State Standards Connections: ELA/Literacy

 

  • RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions

  • RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

  • WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content

  • WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.

  • WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

Sports in this article

Golf

Tags in this article

Science of Golf NBC News Learn