I have to admit, I am the first one to render my opinion on the environmentally friendliness of golf. In my mind, it has a huge environmental footprint. When I think of golf, I envision gas guzzling golf carts, large amount of water being used to keep the grass looking pristine and major upkeep of the fairways which includes fertilizer and weed control. In my opinion, a mightily large shoe print for people to chase a little white ball.
Putting my own environmental finger wagging aside, many people love this game. How many? According to the National Golf Foundation, in 2008, there was 28.6 million golfers (ages 6 and above) in the United States. Add four more. My children. So, why not green the game as much as possible?
Well, Dixon Golf has stepped up to the tee with a new greener golf ball that can be recycled at the end of its life (if it not lost in the woods or in a stream. They can’t help you when you shank the ball.) I laid my eyes on this white beauty at a golf shop in North Carolina while vacationing.
While my sons played the Executive Course, I had a lengthy conversation with a gentleman in the pro shop about the merits of the eco- ball. He loved the balls and highly recommended them. Sure he could have pushed the Titleist balls, which are known to be a superior playing ball at twice the price of the Earth ball, but instead he pushed the moderately priced, Dixon Earth Ball. He had no idea that I write about green products. Then I saw the Dixon Golf recycling container on the counter beaconing me to return my old golf balls to be recycled. I was sold.
(Founders William Carey and Dane Platt. William is on the left and Dane is on the right.)
Why create an eco-ball? According to William Carey, Vice President of Dixon Golf, over 200 million balls are discarded a year. He told me to envision a line of balls from London to Los Angeles and then back again as to the amount of balls that are put in landfills each year.
What makes this ball so environmentally friendly? Its inner guts are made out of rubber and a proprietary formula which, according to Carey, does not contain any of the heavy toxic metals such as cobalt, tungsten, or lead normally found in other golf balls. In addition, the guts of the ball are made of renewable products. It is then wrapped with a polymer casing and then packaged in 100% recyclable packaging. In addition, unlike other golf balls, the entire ball can be recycled to be reused to make playgrounds and turf fields.
The beauty of the ball for many non-eco golfers is its price which is in the middle of the pack for golf balls as well as its high quality playing ability. According to the Company, “the Dixon Earth golf ball outperformed the Nike One Platinum, Callaway Tour ix and Titleist Pro V1, in independent testing by PGA TOUR Partners Club, and received an incredible 92% Approval Rating.” For an independent review, read The Hackers Paradise article, which gave the balls high marks. (I am not a golfer so I can’t render any opinion.)
One comment that caught my eye on the Hackers Paradise review. The particular golfer claimed that every time he hit a wedge shot, the ball would be ruined. Carey explained, “[w]e have tested it extensively and durability is as good or better than other performance balls in this category. It is a ball built for softer feel around the greens and will not be as hard as some of the cheap balls out there.”
The Dixon Golf balls do not biodegrade any faster than a normal golf ball unless it is recycled. So, I thought, why didn’t the founders make a biodegradable one? Carey explained they have not found any biodegradable balls that play well. He further indicated why make a ball that is environmentally friendly if no one wants to use it.
To entice people to be more environmentally minded, the Company has set up recycling centers in golf shops. Carey figured that about 15% of golfers would go out of their way to play with an environmentally friendly ball. The Company is hoping that by setting up easy to use recycling centers they will capture more golfers willing to try the Dixon Golf ball and ultimately recycle the ball. Now it pays to turn in your old balls.
“Every golfer has old balls that aren’t usable for golf. Now there is a place to take them. We pay golfers to recycle all their old balls as a way to incentivize more people to participate. We give a credit of $.50/ball for any brand of ball and $1.00/ball for any Dixon golf balls toward the purchase of new balls. We recycle the Dixon balls and use the other balls in our R&D. Our goal is to eventually be able to recycle every golf ball and truly make a difference in this industry.” stated Carey
What intrigued me is how founders William Carey and Dane Platt got involved in creating this e-golf ball.
“Because of our golf ball background and manufacturing experience, we were one of the few companies who had the ability to do anything to help besides the big ball companies. It was not just an issue of making a ball that could be recycled, but also a program where it could be practical and easy for all golfers to participate.
We tested different products for nearly a year to find the right formula for performance as well as recycling because the whole concept doesn’t work unless the ball performs as well or better than the competition. When we were finally happy with the ball, we had a product that performed extremely well for the golfers and that we could grind up and recycle to make other products out of the material such as field turf and playground equipment.”
Dixon Golf offers two different balls: The Dixon Earth ball which has a wonderful spin according to Carey and the Dixon Earth Eco Distance which is a made for distance. Manufacturers listed price for a package of a dozen balls is as follows: $24.95 for the Eco-Distance balls and $39.95 for the Earth Balls. You can buy these golf balls at local retailers. See here for the nearest one to you. In addition, they are available online at Amazon or Golfballs.com.
If you are interested in the balls for a corporate event, see here.
So when you are playing on the green, why not consider putting with something green? In fact, the Company has offered to give one lucky Green Talk reader a gift certificate good for a dozen Dixon Earth balls. (Note, if you order them on online, you may need to pay shipping.)
In order to enter the giveaway contest, you must live in the US, and be 18 or older and follow the rules below:
• Leave me a comment here as why you or someone you care about loves golf. If you don’t have a golf loving comment, just say so.
• To double your chances of winning the balls, consider joining my Ning Forum. Come back and leave a comment that you joined my forum.
• To triple your chances consider joining my Feedburner email list or subscribe to my RSS feed. Both subscriptions are listed on the right hand column. Be sure to come back and leave a comment to tell me which one you joined.
• To quadruple your chances of winning, twitter about this contest and come back and leave the url (weblink) of your twitter comment.
• You must enter by August 21, 2009, 6 PM EST time to win.
• A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, August 24, 2009. Good Luck everyone!