Science of Golf: water conservation

If you’ve ever flown into a city of any size, you know you can spot a golf course a mile away. The well-manicured fairways, even when snaking around natural contours, contrast sharply with the local vegetation. Nowhere is this more apparent than in water-starved deserts where the climate promotes year-round play.

And no one is more aware of this stark contrast than the United States Golf Association (USGA). Their attention to water use is inherent in the USGA Mission Statement and a key segment of the USGA’s Environmental Commitment. Use the video Science of Golf: Water Conservation and the connected NSTA-developed lesson plans to raise student awareness of issues surrounding turfgrass and water conservation.

The Science of Golf series is just one of NBC Learn’s explorations into the science of sport, where scientists and engineers really explain “how it works.” This series was produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Chevron. The videos are available cost-free on

Give them a try with your students here at the beginning of the year to excite them about science inquiry and other STEM subjects. No prior golf experience needed!

–Judy Elgin Jensen

Image of Estancia Club Golf Course near Scottsdale, Arizona, courtesy of AZGlenn.


SOG: Water Conservation discusses water usage and conservation related to maintaining turfgrass on golf courses.

STEM Lesson Plan—Adaptable for Grades 7–12

The lesson plan provides ideas for STEM exploration plus strategies to support students in their own quest for answers and as well as a more focused approach that helps all students participate in hands-on inquiry.

The SOG: Water Conservation lesson plan describes how students might investigate a question about the conservation of irrigation water for a golf course.

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