Golf is a popular game in the world. Millions of people around the world love golf. Players play it by using various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course. A golf ball is an essential tool in the game, and we mainly use it for golf. In this article, let us talk about golf balls or, more specifically, biodegradable golf balls?
Eco-friendly golf balls
With a mass of nearly 16 g and a diameter of 42.7mm, golf balls are not that large. Plastic and rubber are the primary materials we use to create them. Golf balls are prone to get lost. So they are typically used as disposable items. That is because we play the game outside and on terrains with different ground structures, there is a high possibility of misplacing and losing the balls.
Especially the new or casual golf players may lose a large number of balls during the play of around. Approximately 1.2 billion balls are manufactured each year, and in the US alone, nearly 300 million balls get lost. Usually, the players ignore these lost ones and decide to buy more. The lost balls are openly and directly exposed to the environment.
But should we allow that to happen?
Not just on the land, these golf balls bring considerable damage to the ocean, primarily when the golf courses are near the sea. The most recent incident is the discovery of thousands of golf balls in Pebble Beach, California. Estimations reveal that around the year, nearly 60,000 golf balls get in the ocean every year from the golf course near the beach.
And they also predict that, with its opening in 1919, potentially millions of golf balls may have disturbed the ocean life. They pose a threat to both the ocean and thousands of creatures undersea.
The fact that the balls contain non-disposable and not environmentally friendly materials makes us rethink our decisions. As stated above, typical golf balls have a polybutadiene rubber core and polyurethane plastic outer shells. Neither of these materials is biodegradable. Both are also produced from petroleum, and the process requires large amounts of water, fossil fuels, and chemicals. The researchers in the Danish Golf Union state that it takes from 100 to 1000 years for golf balls to naturally decompose. They never truly break down and will leach heavy metals into the surrounding soil and water amidst the prolonged dissipating process.
Although the nature of the game makes it hard to gather all the balls lost each time, we can go for alternatives, like having environmentally friendly golf balls.
If the balls are eco golf balls, they will be made up of materials that decay and will not negatively affect the ecosystem. Then we do not have to worry about their impact on the environment once they get lost or misplaced. We should make biodegradable golf balls to be environmentally friendly. Because that means the golf balls will safely degrade themselves without us having to do anything.
But the question is, do they make biodegradable golf balls?
Yes, they do.
In the following paragraphs, you’ll learn the materials of these biodegradable balls, their effectiveness, and a review of some famous bio-degradable golf balls.
Are biodegradable golf balls any good?
With people becoming environmentally friendly conscious and developing concerns about reducing environmental pollution, the production of eco-friendly products has increased in recent years. Considering the considerable negative impact of golf balls on the environment, golf enthusiasts have also become inclined to have eco-friendly solutions. As a result, biodegradable golf balls came to focus.
They are indeed an invaluable discovery. Researchers have managed to find various biodegradable materials suitable to make golf balls throughout the years. These golf balls will bring no harm to the environment as they can effectively break down or dissolve within a couple of days.
There are many types of biodegradable golf balls.
Biodegradable golf balls with seeds
They are balls packed with different seeds like wildflower seeds, apple seeds, etc., which will grow once planted. These will decompose quickly and even helps the environment by allowing the growth of new plants.
Biodegradable fish food golf balls are the best choice for playing golf close to marine environments.
They are single-use products. They contain fish food in their core, and the outer shell biodegrades, releasing the fish food. Fish food golf balls are a great way to feed the fish and play your favorite sport simultaneously.
In 2018, a group of researchers forwarded the idea of biodegradable golf balls made from soy-based plastic. The bio-plastic has the ability to degrade naturally hence making it more eco-friendly than a regular golf ball. They also tested and proved that even though they made the golf balls from a different material. It could retain almost all the properties and features of a typical golf ball, including the shape, speed, and performance.
Similarly, researchers at the Kansas polymer research center at Pittsburg State University are also forwarding the idea of making an eco-friendly golf ball from soybean. They use soybean meal as the inner core and soybean oil-based polymer to make the outer layer. It is also a promising golf ball made of plant-based materials that can decompose without burdening nature.
Importance of eco-friendly golf balls at a glance!
All the eco-friendly golf balls do not contain harmful or toxic substances. Their CO2 emission is also very low. The harmful substances like zinc, lead, or chromium oxide present in regular golf balls are not eco-friendly. It is beneficial for animals, people, and plants. Especially, people with skin allergies can enjoy golf without worrying about getting sick due to the non-toxic and natural materials.
By looking at these various types of eco golf balls, we can say that they provide immense benefits and help preserve nature while nurturing it more. So it is safe to say that biodegradable golf balls are much better than regular golf balls, which bring many harmful effects to the environment.
How long does it take for biodegradable golf balls to dissolve?
In the last topic, we discussed whether biodegrade golf balls are good or not.
Evidently, they help the environment and keep it from getting polluted by the regular non-decomposable plastic-based golf balls.
Here, let us look at the effectiveness of biodegradable golf balls.
Will they take months or years to decompose?
Or is it much lesser than we think?
Traditional golf balls may take anywhere from 100 to 1000 years to degrade because they have plastic and rubber. But the eco balls golf take weeks to decompose because they use organic materials to create them.
Once they hit the water, the fish food golf balls start to dissolve in less than 48 hours. Once dissolved, it will release the fish food in its core providing food for the aquatic population. This way, the water golf balls help improve the sustainability and biodiversity of water bodies while allowing us to enjoy a game of golf.
Compared with biodegradable golf balls fish food, biodegradable golf balls with seeds take more time to decompose. They will take 9 to 12 months to biodegrade completely, and then finally, they may even gift nature with some plants as they contain different seeds inside the core. Inner core seeds, like wildflowers, will sprout and grow into plants that add beauty to nature while nurturing the soil. You may get to enjoy your golf games looking across flowers scattered surrounding.
Biodegradable golf balls made from soy-based plastic and soybean also take less time to decompose than regular golf balls. Other biodegradable golf balls use materials derived from corn. You can easily create that material by applying heat and pressure to corn starch or sugar cane. It makes an intermediate form of plastic named Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). But unlike petroleum-based polyurethane, PLA naturally breaks down over time.
Sometimes pure rubber is also used in making golf balls. They are also biodegradable as they eventually break down when exposed to water and light.
Price of biodegradable golf balls
We talked about various advantages of biodegradable golf balls and why we should use them instead of regular golf balls. Even though the eco-friendly ones give immense benefits, there can be some disadvantages, and price prioritizes this list of shortcomings.
As we know, price is something all of us consider when buying a product. The product should have a reasonable price and should be affordable. As standard recreational sports equipment, golf balls should also have an affordable price. For a new player, golf can be expensive because they may lose balls more than a regular or a pro golf player. Even for a pro player, the chances of buying more balls are high due to the nature of golf courses. We can say that golf ball purchases will be about the cost for a golf player. According to market price, you can purchase a dozen regular golf balls for around $8. Can we buy the same amount of biodegradable golf balls for the same price?
Are biodegradable golf balls cheap?
Biodegradable golf balls can be pricier than regular golf balls due to many reasons. The main reason is it has a one-time use. Most of the dissolvable golf balls and other eco-friendly ones can only use once. When they are lost, there’s no point finding them and trying to use them a second time. But the regular golf balls have no such problem. If you want to, you can find the misplaced or lost ones, clean them and use them many more times.
Another reason is that we should do a lot of research to create the perfect biodegradable golf ball that can retain the qualities of a regular one, such as shape, speed, and performance, so that the players won’t face any problems when using them. They should have natural materials, which can be more expensive than synthetic materials.
Due to these facts, it can be challenging to create cheap, biodegradable golf balls. But since there are a lot of brands out there that produce them, let’s go through some of the most inexpensive biodegradable golf balls available in the current market.
The cheapest biodegradable golf balls are the ones produced by EcoGolfBalls. You can purchase a pack of 12 golf balls for about $10. As you can see, even the cheapest eco golf balls are pricier than regular ones due to the science, research, and materials put in to manufacture them. It uses wood to create them, so it is biodegradable. There’s no harm from these golf balls to both land and water.
The regular golf balls can be as expensive as $36 per dozen. But for biodegradable golf balls, the price can be as high as $40. There’s a famous eco-friendly golf ball brand called Dixon. They sell their water-solvable golf balls for $39.95, higher than an expensive regular golf ball.
You may think that there’s no difference between choosing regular or eco-friendly golf balls. You may tend to choose the less expensive one so that you can save money. But the real saving does not come within one day. Choosing a biodegradable golf ball means you pave the way to keep the whole environment for centuries. It is much more valuable than money. Think of it as an investment you make for the future. Looking back, you can be happy about you doing your part in saving and reshaping the environment for generations.
Ocean safe golf balls
Suppose you play golf on land. If you make enough effort, you can gather all the lost or misplaced golf balls around the golf course. But can you do the same if you play near the ocean or in the middle of the sea? Many balls would directly hit the water and sink under the sea. To gather those, you would have to make an extra effort by hiring divers.
Nowadays, most rich people like to play golf in luxury yachts, cruise ships, boats, and other marine environments. It means golf balls falling into the ocean is an inevitable fact. It also happens when the golf courses are near the oceans, lakes, or rivers. Many golf balls will mix with water bodies. As we mentioned earlier, a student could find around 60,000 golf balls from the ocean near California’s Pearl Beach golf course. The statistics show how much danger this poses for the ocean environment.
Like land, oceans also contain diverse environments, creatures, and plants. The harmful materials and chemicals in golf balls can damage them under the water. So, using ocean-friendly golf balls has become a concerning fact. Biodegradable golf balls can solve these problems by dissolving water without emitting harmful chemicals.
EcoGolfBall is a significant golf ball brand that produces ocean-safe golf balls. Their products use wood, so it is safe to hit salt water or fresh water. Being made from wood means this is lightweight and can easily float on water. So unlike many other biodegradable golf balls, you can pick them from water and use them repeatedly. Even if you leave it in the sea, it will degenerate within three to six months, bringing no harmful effects.
EcoBioBall is another popular product by AlbusGolf which helps us protect the ocean. They contain fish food as an inner core, and the materials are also non-contaminating or non-toxic. When these golf balls hit the water, the outer shell degrades within 48 hours, exposing the fish’s food. The fish can safely take it as food. It means you can safely use it in marine environments without fearing harmful consequences to nature. Golfers can help improve the sustainability and biodiversity of the ocean and other aquatic bodies by using these golf balls.
Biodegradable golf balls review
There are two major types of biodegradable golf balls. They are biodegradable golf balls for water and biodegradable golf balls for land. Many golf ball types fall under either of these sections or belong to both groups.
When considering good eco-friendly golf balls, we can think of certain factors. Biodegradable golf balls should be water-soluble, eco-friendly, and non-toxic. Water solubility greatly aids when playing golf near lakes, oceans, or rivers. This benefit also helps you if your passion is to play in yachts and cruise ships or golf courses with ranges near water bodies. In these instances, golf balls will dissolve in water within days and will not add charm to the water bodies.
If the golf balls contain eco-friendly materials, they will significantly help nature. Due to traditional golf balls, thousand of pounds of microplastics can enter the ecosystems. Golfers can be more environmentally conscious and responsible by using biodegradable golf balls.
Similarly, using a non-toxic golf ball means you preserve nature by not allowing the addition of heavy metals into the environment. Traditional golf balls can contain many heavy metals like Zinc Acrylate, Zinc Oxide, and Benzoyl Peroxide. They cause severe damage to marine environments once mixed with water. The damage to the land and soil is no lesser if they are directly disposed to nature.
So these are the facts we should consider when choosing an excellent biodegradable golf ball. With that information, let’s look at the list of the best biodegradable golf balls in the current market.
Albus Golf Balls
Albus golf balls are a leading biodegradable golf ball brand in the market. It has a fish food core. The outer body will dissolve within two days of exposing the fish food. So, this golf ball plays a part in protecting the environment while sustaining it by transforming it into fish food once it hits the water. The Albus golf ball is available in over 50 countries. They also come in three different colors such as white, yellow, and blue. The selling price is of this golf ball will be around $210. Although it is a bit pricier and has a one-time use, golfers worldwide prefer it due to the positive impact on the marine environment. Especially golfers who enjoy golfing on yachts, cruises, and near water bodies prefer this biodegradable golf ball because they can play their part in protecting the environment while enjoying their favorite game.
Dixon Wind Eco-Friendly Max Distance Golf Balls
It is the world’s first high-performance golf ball. The 428 monster dimple pattern ensures the golf ball will achieve ultimate distance and accuracy. The eco-cover is what gives this ball the maximum coverage and spin control. It also managed to provide golfers with a biodegradable solution. They are made from reprocess-able materials like proprietary polymer and are 100% recyclable. Dixon golf balls do not contain harmful substances like zinc oxide, tungsten, and lead. Not just the ball, from packaging to production, Dixon golf balls use 100% recycled materials setting a new environmental consciousness. As you can see, by choosing these golf balls, you can contribute to saving the environment without giving up on your performance.
Biodegradable Golf Balls
It is a Canadian company providing eco-friendly golf balls for golfers worldwide. As the name suggests, they specifically produce biodegradable alternatives for those who care about protecting the environment. The golf balls are 100% compostable and non-toxic. Mainly materials like corn starch and a fully water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol coating are used to make these products. It helps to reduce the water pollution that happens every year due to thousands of golf balls sinking in the oceans and other water bodies. The balls will dissolve in the water entirely within two weeks without adding any harmful substances to the water. A pack of 24 balls will be about $59.99, which is much cheaper than other biodegradable golf balls brands. If you are or want to be a golf enthusiast, you can purchase these golf balls to enjoy your game.