1. Golf, Celebrities, and Science: the 3M Celebrity Challenge at the Pebble Beach Pro Am
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  • Golf, Celebrities, and Science: the 3M Celebrity Challenge at the Pebble Beach Pro Am

    February 08, 2016
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    • 3M Canada President Paul Madden.

      By Peyton Robertson, America’s Top Young Scientist, 2013

      This week certainly brings back exciting memories for me: When the Pebble Beach Pro Am tees off in Monterey, California, a highlight is always the 3M Celebrity Challenge, a five-hole skins match for charity. Last year at the end of the event, on the 18th green, I had the honor to be paired with Clint Eastwood and PGA Professional Jimmy Walker to participate in a chip off for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) charities.

      I’ll never forget talking with Jimmy Walker about the break of the green, and I can confirm that Clint Eastwood’s handshake is even firmer than rumored. Collectively, we raised $200,000 for charity last year, $100,000 of which I was able to use to start the Multiplied Foundation, whose mission is to expand STEM education.

      I am so grateful that the earnings from the event last year seeded the Multiplied Foundation, so I’ll definitely be tuning in on February 10 this year with lots of great memories. This year, you’ll be able to see the likes of Bill Murray and Ray Romano having fun with spectators, and you are sure to witness some great shots being made for well-deserving charities.

      And as you might expect, there’s some science to notice as well. The Celebrity Challenge always ends on the iconic 18th hole. Players start that hole with a long drive contest over the cliffs and Pacific Ocean where lots of science comes into play:


      1. Players teeing off on the 18th can elect to reduce distance by cutting the corner and hitting over the water along the cliffs. But an overly aggressive angle could result in a ball hitting the cliffs and bouncing into the water. Each golf ball strictly weighs no more than 1.62 ounces so the strong winds coming off the ocean can and will affect the flight, especially if they hit a high arching drive.
      2. The balls all the players use will have between 380 and 432 dimples, depending on the manufacturer, but these dimples serve the common purpose of providing lift, reducing drag and ultimately allowing the ball to travel further.
      3. If it is a warm day, all the tee shots on the 18th tee will travel further since the core of the golf ball will have greater elasticity and will therefore have more initial velocity after its collision with the club head. If it’s cold, players will have to account for less distance, perhaps taking a less aggressive line.

      About the 2016 3M Celebrity Challenge: The 2016 3M Celebrity Challenge tees off Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at 11 a.m. PT on the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

      About Peyton Robertson: Peyton Robertson became the youngest winner in this history of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge in 2013, when he was named America’s Top Young Scientist. Since that time, Peyton has been awarded three patents for various innovations.

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