First Green brings STEAM education to National Golf Day

National Golf Day activities go beyond Capitol Hill to include hands-on education with local schools.


Students at Langston Golf Course during 2023's First Green event at National Golf Day.
Washington, D.C.-area students took part in a hands-on First Green event at Langston Golf Course during 2023's National Golf Day activities. This year more than 100 students will join for the event. Photo by Scott Hollister

Editor's note: National Golf Day is May 7-10. GCM is covering GCSAA's involvement in the event with stories all week long. To keep up with our complete coverage, click here.

The important connections and conversations associated with National Golf Day in Washington, D.C. aren’t limited to congressional meetings on the hill. Introducing young people to the game and potential career opportunities in the industry is also part of the week.

GCSAA’s First Green is the only STEAM education and environmental outreach program which uses golf courses as learning labs. First Green pairs golf courses with local schools for unique Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) learning opportunities. First Green field trips take place in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.

Today, May 10, students from Two Rivers Public Charter School and The Field School will visit Langston Golf Course for a First Green Field trip hosted by superintendent members of the Mid-Atlantic Association of GCSAA.  

“I feel anytime we can tell our story in front of someone on the golf course, it is going to leave a lasting impact and if I can do that by hosting First Green field trips and demonstrating to students how golf course superintendents are stewards of the environment then hopefully the time spent on hosting field trips will pay off in the future,” said Ryan Kraushofer, CGCS, superintendent and general manager at Westminster (Md.) National Golf .

More than  100 students will be introduced  to STEAM principles through hands-on experiences on the golf course. Learning stations in the First Green curriculum at Langston include Soils, Water Conservation, Future of Equipment, Math, Golf Course Architecture and Putting, as students will be exposed to golf course benefits and the potential of professional careers.

“While the STEAM learning stations are at the forefront of the field trips, we also discuss career opportunities in golf,” said Leann Cooper, GCSAA’s First Green and Workforce Development Director. “Of course, the kids get to putt a little while there as well. Typically, at least 50 percent of the students have never set foot on a golf course, so it is a great introduction to the game.”

Having the field trip in this area of Washington, D.C. is also important as part of GCSAA’s DE&I initiatives. Cooper noted Langston’s history in African-American golf and the growth of the game in the community.  The course is named after John Mercer Langston, the first African American elected to public office.

“The children participating in the field trips are reflective of the people and cultures in the communities they live in. These aren’t always the communities playing golf or working in the golf industry,” Cooper said. “It is cool to see the students connect with golf and golf course management in a meaningful way and to feel welcomed while there.”

Kraushofer noted the importance of exposing the community to the green space and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide. He also encourages other superintendents to host these events.

“Some of the benefits of hosting First Green field trips are positive press and the potential for future employees from students or chaperones,” he said. “It is an overall rewarding experience when you can share your passion for the industry with the next generation.”

To learn more about GCSAA First Green visit

Mike Strauss is GCSAA's media relations manager.