When professional golfer Patrick Cantlay sank the birdie that won him the 2021 PGA TOUR Championship, he did it on turf that had been tested that morning by a student from the University of Georgia’s Griffin campus.
Ethan Barr, a junior and environmental resource science major at UGA-Griffin, scored a job assisting the PGA Tour with its culminating event of the season during the first weekend in September at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Barr's task was simple, but it had a significant impact on the tournament's outcome and reinforced his chosen field of study.
“We would go up early in the mornings to test how firm the greens are with a tool called TruFirm. It has a sensor on the end that you drop on the green and it tests how firm the greens are. You give those results to the person in charge of the golf course, and they make changes in the afternoon to make it firmer or less firm,” Barr said. “The head guy at the golf course said they want to make the greens challenging, but fair and consistent with regard to speed and firmness. We helped with that.”