My name is LaDonda Porter and I would like to share with you a concept that has been three years in the making. This activity was a culminating activity for our golf unit. Students learned putting, chipping, driving and participated in a 9 hole course on our campus. I recall taking a trip to the entertainment complex of Topgolf about an hour away from my city. It is basically as I described to my students, a driving range on steroids. You get to hit golf balls at targets which are worth certain point values and within the targets depending upon where you ball lands are worth points as well. I wanted to recreate this for my students in a simplified form.
I saw a Facebook post from a fellow PE teacher that used parachutes to create their Topgolf experience, but I wanted to take it to another level. At night, the Topgolf facility illuminates the targets, so I thought, I know I can recreate this for my students.
- Parachutes (6 foot)
- Turf mats with rubber tee
- Golf putter/clubs
- Foam balls
- LED lights
- Numbered cone covers
— LaDonda Porter (@lporterPE) April 27, 2021
To create this activity I had some 6 foot parachutes. I also created 4 bays or stations for students to hit from. They used turf mats that are equipped with rubber tees. Students used pitching wedges since we weren’t hitting for distance instead working on accuracy and trying to lift the ball to land on the targets. Our local Kiwanis club donated our clubs. Students hit limited flight foam balls.
To give it the night time effect, through a classroom grant that I received I purchased some led strip lights. I used sewing straight pins to attach the lights to the parachutes. That way I can remove them and reuse them again. I ran a single extension cord down the center of my gym floor and attached two surge protectors to connect the lights. The cords are pretty short, so purchased led stirp light extension cords. The lights change to three main colors: blue, red, green and I can change them to multi color, chasing, fading and glowing. I would assign different point values to the different light features.
Instructions for Top Golf
To play, I divided the students up into pairs. My gym was divided into four “bays.” Three were on the gym floor and the other was up on my stage. 4 tees per bay. I aslo safety zones for those who were not hitting to keep them socially distanced and safe from swinging clubs. On my command, they were to swing and hit. I then would give them the okay to retrieve. They would then switch out with their partners and they would have an opportunity to hit. Groups would then rotate and have an opportunity to hit from another side of the gym.
If you decide you want to recreate this for your students, have fun with it and make it your own. It just came from an experience that I had outside of school and it turned out to be one of the most fun events for my middle school students. I had students at the end thank me for taking the time to set this up for them. They even asked if they could take pictures of the set up and if I I could take pictures of them playing to show their parents–ADVOCACY in action. Hearing the discussions and cheers when their scores and their ball landing on the targets is a moment that I will always remember.
About the Author:
LaDonda Porter is a 6th-8th middle school physical education teacher at Beaumont Middle
School in Lexington, Ky. She is the 2018 KYSHAPE Middle School Teacher of the Year and the 2020 SHAPE Southern District Middle School Teacher of the Year. She serves as the At-Large East for the KYSHAPE board and the middle school content specialist for Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, Ky. You can follow her on Twiitter @lporterPE