Xavier Norman swung a club with all his might yet the golf ball went only about 40 yards. Xavier let out a huge sigh and angrily dropped the club.
But after watching other students practice their swings, he asked for another club, and tried again. This time, cheers erupted when he knocked it almost 80 yards.
Xavier, 14, was Among 20 students in the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) gathered at the PXG Detroit golf shop in Troy for a Wednesday morning session called “The Science of Sport.”
The collaboration is aimed at showing that there’s more to golf than just swinging a club — it’s a way for engineers to learn how to incorporate technology into sports.
Leela Brennan, PXG vice president of brand and communication, said the collaboration is a way for the luxury golf club manufacturer to serve the community.
“It started off as a conversation with PXG and some of our team about how we become better partners within the community in which our store is located,” Brennan said.
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“We identified DAPCEP as an organization that’s doing amazing work, serving kids who have the aptitude for STEM,” she said. “We collaborated with them as well as with our headquarters’ engineers to develop a program in service to those kids.”
DAPCEP is a program for metro Detroit students from all backgrounds to be introduced to STEM fields through engineering programs, field trips and exposure to new opportunities.
“We know there’s not really a lot of people of color that might be in this sport, but we still think it’s a great opportunity for the students to learn more,” said DAPCEP Executive Director Michelle Reaves. “Then what we did is put a spin on it. Everything we do try to teach them about science is everywhere, or technology is everywhere.”
Students split into four groups and went into practice rooms and club fitting bays equipped with golf simulators.
Normally, fitting bays at PXG cost $50 per session, but the DAPCEP students experienced it for free.
For many students, this was their first time playing golf.
Norman, 14, of Southfield, a middle school student from Laurus Academy in Southfield, says he only watched golf on TV before his mom signed him up for the session.
“I didn’t really think it was gonna be fun,” he said, “(but) it is fun.”
At the fitting bays, students practiced full swings and learned putting skills as well as other golf basics.
Not all students were novices to golf. Sreeman Charabuddi, 16, of Bloomfield, a student at Cranbrook Academy of Arts, taught himself how to golf but did learn something new on Wednesday.
“Just more with my swing,” he said. “How much yardage and the angle with the software and all that type of information.”
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The field trip wrapped up with a visit to the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club. The weeklong tournament ends on July 31.