Short clips on the "Science of Golf" airing on the Golf Channel and NBC affiliate stations during the U.S. Open, are based on a longer series produced by NBC News' educational arm, NBC Learn.
This 10-part "Science of Golf" series is being made available to schools for free as part of a larger effort to use sports as a way to get students interested in science and math.
"The content of the series is a way to make students aware of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] topics," explains Mark Miano, the executive editor and senior producer of the "Science of Golf" series. "Sports is such a big draw for getting students interested."
To create the series, NBC Learn partnered with the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Chevron
Corporation. They provided the funding which allows them to provide it free to the public and schools.
The National Science Teachers Association provided lesson plans for teachers that accompany the
The broadcast versions for affiliate stations were reedited for the general audience and shortened to
about one and a half minutes, Miano adds.
The series, which is narrated by NBC Sports' lead play-by-play anchor Dan Hicks, features both
scientists and pro golfers.
Separate segments are designed to show students how the principles of science affect everything about the game - from a player's golf swing, to the anatomy of a golf ball, the math behind golf scoring and the evolution of the golf club, Miano explains.
The series also draws on some of the technologies that will play major role in this weekend's coverage
of the U.S. Open. The series uses the high-speed Phantom camera to shoot golfers at nearly 10,000 frames per second.
These high frame rates allow the producers used visually stunning images to illustrate such specific
scientific principles such as displacement, buoyancy, kinematics, acceleration and velocity.
Besides physics, the series also delves into technology, with a look at the evolution of materials used in golf equipment, and math, with a look at handicapping and the environment.
Typically such online series are produced with a crew of three or four people, but the use of Phantom
cameras required a larger crew that sometimes exceeded 15 people so that the lighting could be properly adjusted for the shots.
The online episodes also feature an innovative video viewer that includes lesson plans and other
The "Science of Golf" is the most recent iteration of a larger "Science in Sports" effort.
In the past, NBC Learn has won Emmys for "Science of NFL Football," and "Science of the Winter Olympic Games" collections.
The videos are available at NBCLearn.com/Golf, ChevronSTEM.com and the USGA.
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