Golf’s Green Side Is A Group Effort

Grip_8_RGB_300dpis(1)Recent countrywide events marking National Golf Day and Earth Day highlighted the game’s status – and potential – as a force for good in environmental conservation. But while most of the attention to the topic focuses on major contributions from golf course superintendents, architects, and other stakeholders, recreational golfers can also take more modest steps, like those below, in aiding the cause.

Dixon golf balls. First introduced in 2009, Dixon continues to claim the mantle of only completely biodegradable golf ball, and even packaging, on the market. (Others offer golf balls that, for example, dissolve in water, for those of us hitting off of cruise ships.)

Initially limited to the Earth model, the Dixon line now resembles other ball manufacturers diverse offerings, only with cuter names like Wind, Fire, and Spirit, a ball designed for women. There are also bamboo divot repair tools, golf balls painted to resemble the earth, and so forth.

No golf ball manufacturer has ever asked this reporter to endorse a product, and none is likely to, but experience indicates that biodegradability does not hinder performance for the average player.

Cork Tree putter grips. The result of a collaboration between a Portuguese cork oak forester and a British PGA professional, Cork Tree grips have recently become popular with several players on various pro tours.

Ecologically speaking, cork grips have a smaller carbon footprint than grips made of synthetic materials. In fact, according to the press information, cork bark is about 89 percent air.

It’s easy to clean and especially comfortable in conditions hot and humid enough to produce sweaty palms. And it’s available in multiple shapes and thicknesses – Bandit, Gimme, Slim Jim, and Stumpy – as well as color schemes.

Eco Golf tees. Few things rile the environmentally sensitive faster than the superfluous destruction of trees. Golf course superintendents feel the same way about damage to mowers and other maintenance equipment wrought by broken or discarded wooden tees.

Fortunately, Eco Golf makes a tee from corn that biodegrades in about a year, some three times faster than ordinary wooden ones, and is easier on the equipment. The tees come in standard and high-performance models.

What’s more, according the website – love the name – the corn-based tees are more durable, too: an average of 9.65 drives per tee, compared to 4.21 drives for the wooden iteration.

Of course, the retail side of the sustainability equation is dwarfed by factors like water and pesticide use. But we can, and should, still act locally, the big picture notwithstanding.

# # #