The Future of Learning – Today.

By Maverick McNealy

As you know, I created Birdies for Education to support Curriki.org, the education technology not-for-profit organization I’ve been working with for a decade.. In this historic time, education has come to the forefront of our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Many of you are parents, so you know first hand the impact of school closures and stay-at-home orders. I am in awe of the way parents and educators are banding together to make sure kids wdon’t miss a beat while at-home learning. I myself have spent a good portion of my time at home to learning the Korean language and brushing up on a few areas of educational interest. 

Curriki too, has stepped up to support K-12 students, their parents, and teachers —- helping them adapt to at-home learning. Check out the Virtual Learning Collections and share them with your friends and family.

Curriki’s future is burning bright 

Curriki has long been an innovator and change driver since they first championed O.E.R  (Open Education Resources) over a decade ago. Once again, they’re at the forefront of innovation, building a next-generation, open learning environment that will fundamentally change how learners engage with educational content and those who are creating these experiences. 

Just as companies like SquareSpace have removed the barriers to website creation and Anchor has brought podcasting to the masses, we are solving the pain points around building great learning experiences.  

Curriki is building the platform that will empower everyone — from individuals and non-profit organizations to entrepreneurs, and businesses — to share their expertise and create immersive, skills-based, and impactful learning experiences for this next generation..

Everything Curriki does, we do it for learning . Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your journey, Curriki is building a platform to solve the pain points around building great learning experiences.

I am proud of the work Curriki has done to support this transitional time for education, and am extremely excited about their path forward. This unfortunate shock will fundamentally change teaching and learning, and Curriki is going to be a significant driver to bringing eLearning and digital experiences to reality during this transformation. 

Once again, thank you all so much for your continued support. As we go, we will continue to update you with the attire we are making to bring our long-term vision to reality. In the meantime, check out www.curriki.org to see our new interface and explore some of our content!

I’ll be creating an instructional video series for Curriki, if you have a passion or talent to share please join us! contact@birdiesforeducation.com

Please support this vision with a donation through BirdiesforEducation.com

Thanks!!

Maverick

A Week with The King

Hello everyone!

I’m recapping a pretty special week every year on the PGA Tour schedule, the Arnold Palmer Invitational (which is very obviously presented by MasterCard ;). This was my first time back at Bay Hill since I played on the Arnold Palmer Cup exemption in 2016. As background, the Arnold Palmer Cup is a Ryder Cup-style match between the top collegiate players from the USA and the rest of the world. When the US team won in 2015, I was selected to represent our team at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Though I was pretty tired from a taxing week at Honda, I was so excited to be back and playing yet another golf course in major-Championship condition. I kept my practice brief, but enjoyed the excellent player dining and spent a little extra time on the golf course working on my short game. One of the coolest holes on tour is the par5 6th hole, a horseshoe hole around the pond. Though it is only 345 yards from the tee to the green (yes, I measured), it is a dangerous hole where you have to decide how much you want to bite off. Any score from 3 to 8 is possible here!

Another highlight of the week was drinking an Arnold Palmer tea on the first hole of my practice round. It just tasted right!

The first round I teed off feeling very comfortable and confident, and I was cruising at 2 under par until my 3w snap hooked left out of bounds on the last hole. It was a very uncharacteristic shot for me and especially for that club… and looking back on it the last “good” 3w I hit was on the 15th hole in Puerto Rico. I wonder if it broke then… anyways, I tripled the last hole to shoot a very disappointing 73.

I knew I needed a good round to make the cut on Friday, but the conditions were so difficult with winds and fast, firm greens, that hanging around par would be more than enough. I was playing solidly but made a few mistakes in the middle of my second 9. Knowing I needed to play my final two holes under par to make the cut, I made an incredible birdie on the 8th hole, but just missed an 8 footer for par on the 9th, ending my week short, as well as my streak of 11 consecutive cuts.

To me, I was still encouraged that with so many mistakes, I still had the game to make it to the weekend. I tested my 3w the following week and found that it was broken (very similar to my driver at the start of the season last fall), which could have cost me several shots over the last few weeks.

Shifting gears, a lot has happened in the last few weeks. I went to the Players Championship as 3rd alternate, only to practice for a few days and see the tournament cancelled after the first round. The earliest the PGA Tour schedule will resume is May 18th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and I am hopeful that that is the case.

In the meantime, I am getting plenty of rest, working out, enjoying some time at home, playing board and card games with my roommates, and practicing as long as the golf courses here in Las Vegas stay open.

Curriki is in High-Demand

With schools closing down everywhere, educators and parents are flocking to Curriki for help with virtual learning. Suddenly, parents are in the position of facilitating learning for their children and teachers are forced to modify their lessons for virtual classes. This is an unprecedented time and it impacts kids the most. If you are a parent, grandparent, or teacher seeking great content to liven up the learning, go to https://www.curriki.org/oer/Curriki-Virtual-Learning-Resources and explore the FREE, awesome (fun!) videos, simulations, and more!

So I’m asking you to consider upping your pledge level per birdie, and to recruit others to join the cause. Not only has COVID-19 shortened the season, reducing the number of birdies I’ll be able to make, but the need for what Curriki is doing isn’t a “nice to have” anymore! It is a dire need that will be important for decades going forward given all the k12 schools and colleges moving to distance learning. And – Curriki doesn’t EVER charge teachers, parents, or students anything.

Ask your golfing buddies to visit Birdies for Education and make a pledge.

To bump up your pledge, go to “My Account” on Birdies for Education.

Thank you so much for your support of Birdies for Education, and please stay safe and healthy in this strange time.

All the best!
Maverick

Hello From PGA National in West Palm Beach!

The Honda Classic is one of the toughest tests of the year on the PGA Tour… it is most famous for holes 15-17, known as the Bear Trap (Jack Nicklaus is the course designer). As you can probably see by looking at these photos, it does not look like there is much room to hit it. Practically all you can see is water…

But to add on to the challenge, the greens were rock-hard, fast, and the wind blew strong every day. However, this style of play fit my game really well, and I worked hard to leave the ball in the correct spots to secure a par just about every hole.

This week I had a consistent pattern of playing my first few holes extremely well. I was under par early every day in a tournament where single-digits under par has won most years. I shot even par in my first round, which held up to t23rd place… and when I shot one-under par in the second round, I vaulted up to 15th place. I hit the ball nearly flawlessly in my first round, and the putter going going in the second for a brief period of time.

The third round, I again played very solidly and kept myself in position, but just couldn’t read the greens very well. They were a very fast, dormant Bermuda grass, and the gusting wind was making green reading very challenging. It felt like disaster was a possibility on every shot, with water and hazards everywhere tee to green, and treacherously fast greens. But I managed to hold it together for a one-over-par 71, and moved up to 14th place.

The final round again started off hot, 2 under par through four holes. However I kept missing fairways with my 3wood (two weeks later I would find out that its face had finally “caved” in after 6 years…), but managed with exceptional short game and a few lucky breaks to have 9 putts on the final 9 holes (even with a missed 6 footer for birdie on 18) and shot 1 under par.

One of my best pars of the week came on the 15th hole, with water right and wind gusting into off the right. I tried to hit a draw into the back left portion of the green, but the ball started dead left and went straight into the grandstands. It rattled off a railing, bumped into a fan, and stayed near her seat. After getting free relief to drop in the rough below the grandstand, I signed a glove and slipped in a $20 bill to get herself and her friends drinks- I hear it can help numb the bruising!! I chipped it to 20 feet and drained the par putt to keep the round going. 

This round moved me up to t11 for my second- best tournament as a professional!

And while the acres of water around the golf course are what stick out most in my mind as the toughest hazard, the local wildlife made it even more of a place to be avoided…

My caddy Travis and I hopped in the car after the round and drove to Orlando to prepare for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill… and needless to say, I slept well after what felt like a major-championship test!

Looking forward to week two of the “Florida Swing”…
Maverick

My First Tournament in Making Birdies for Education!

by Brandon Wu

Pebble beach, what a spectacular venue for my fourth PGA start as a professional, but more importantly my first tournament in making Birdies for Education! I was quite excited to return to Pebble Beach, where in June I played the US Open, missing my Stanford graduation and receiving my diploma Sunday as I stepped of the course! Good memories. 

My partner for the week was former Secretary of State and Stanford Professor Dr. Condoleezza Rice. We started our tournament at the challenging Spyglass Hill course. I didn’t have my best iron game as I only hit 10 greens, however, chipped phenomenally and ended up scoring well for a 3 under 69. 

My partner for the week was former Secretary of State and Stanford Professor Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

The second round was at beautiful MPCC Shore course, a property that shows off the stunning shoreline of 17 Mile Drive. I started hot making birdies on holes 2-4, eventually turning at 4 under. Despite a chunked wedge shot into a bunker and a missed 3 footer, I was able to finish strong for a round of 5 under! On to Pebble Beach…

Beautiful day at Pebble Beach with some windy conditions. I was off to a poor start including making an 8 on the famous 18th hole, however, was able to shoot -1 on the front nine after turning to make the cut by 1… Tough day but an awesome learning experience on how to buckle down and grind out the last 9 and make the cut. Highlight of the day was Dr. Rice rolling in a long putt on the 15th hole and then again on the 18th! Fun to hear the crowd roars and amazing to watch!

Sunday was another tough day condition wise as the wind picked up for this final round. Despite finishing bogey-double, I played solid for most of the day and ended up moving up a couple of spots with a 2 over 74. Highlight of the day was eagling the second hole after hitting it 8 feet, capped off by rolling in a tricky putt! Can’t complain as Pebble Beach is such an awesome experience and it’s always a treat to play. Fun week with Dr. Rice and excited for what’s to come next!

Career High Finish Again!

by Scott McNealy

A slower start than hoped for on Thursday and Friday led to a major charge up the leaderboard for Maverick on the weekend.  His last 27 holes had him eight under par.  Not sure anyone was better.   But time ran out and he secured his best ever finish on the PGA Tour with a t5 finish.  And the second best round of the day at 68 on a cool and blustery day that showed why Pebble Beach as a major tournament venue.

The excitement was off the charts.  A birdie on his second hole of the day on the 11th got things going.   But birdies were hard to come by everywhere.   In fact, finding the greens with the wind, firm surfaces, and very fast greens was beyond challenging.   Short game and especially putting became paramount.   And Maverick saved par numerous times with what he called “easily my best round of putting ever.”    Quite a statement from what I consider to be one of the top putters on Tour. 

Par save after par save let to a monster drive on the Par 5 second (his 11th hole).  A long iron to the back of the green set up this eagle putt.

Eagle Putt!

And later, he drained this putt on the par 3 7th hole.   Epic deuce on an epic hole.

Birdie on Famous Par 3 7th Hole

This final putt was maybe his most rewarding.   A bogey free round in those conditions was truly incredible. 

Maverick drains a par putt on the last hole!

A week off.  Then he heads to Puerto Rico and then to Florida for the swing through the Sunshine State.

Thanks to Maverick for all of the thrills and birdies.  And especially to all of you out there supporting him and his quest to raise $1m for www.birdiesforeducation.com

I am going to stand down from blogging for a while.  Back to my day job making a difference in K12 education with Curriki.

Scott