We don’t think a lot about the environmental impacts of our sports and hobbies, but in a world that is becoming more fragile by the day, we need to start taking responsibility for how we affect the ecosystem in big and little ways. One possible solution to a problem we never considered is biodegradable golf balls, for when a shot goes so wide that you just can’t get your ball back.
The thing about normal golf balls is that they leach out a staggering amount of unpleasant chemicals when they decompose. One study found that the average golf ball can release a high quantity of heavy metals, most notably zinc, when they break down. This most commonly happens with shots that land in water hazards, which aren’t always cleaned out as often as they should be. Creating golf balls out of 100% biodegradable materials will mitigate this issue.
Australian startup Water Birdie is, to our knowledge, the first biodegradable golf ball on the market. It’s created primarily from natural corn starch, which will dissolve in water in 48 hours and leave no trace of toxic metals. Even more interesting, the core of the ball contains fish food, so when you lose a ball something good can come of it. They don’t perform as well as top-flight balls, but give the company time to refine their engineering.
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