PINEHURST, N.C. — The U.S.Open isn’t just about watching golf.
At three interactive exhibits, spectators learn about the science behind the game, from swing analysis to how dimples affect a golf ball’s flight.
They can get a fitness assessment from Sean Cochran, Phil Mickelson’s trainer at the American Express Championship Experience. One exhibit geared for young people focuses on using golf to teach science, technology, engineering and math.
Two shiny pieces of silver were a big draw Tuesday at the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.
Spectators had their picture taken with championship trophies for the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, which are being played back-to-back for the first time at Pinehurst No. 2.
Joe Layton, of nearby Raleigh, N.C., posed and smiled.
“This is kind of fun,” Layton said “We’re in a good mood.”
Besides a memento of the trophies, Layton was taking in a practice round at Pinehurst with a friend.
At the Chevron STEM Zone, people can study soil samples from Pinehurst and the flight of golf balls shot out of an air cannon.
“This shows practical ways that STEM can come to life,” said exhibit manager Bianca Valjalo.
The three corporate sponsors will also be presenting exhibits next June at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay golf Course in University Place.
Those exhibits will focus on the Seattle-Tacoma market and “what’s special about Chambers Bay,” said Katie Bynum, director of partnerships for the United States Golf Association.
While some features of the exhibits may change, their purpose will remain the same.
Besides providing a gathering place, Bynum said, the interactive displays are “a way to enhance the championship experience beyond golf.”