Jan 25th, 2019
Californian teen retrieves thousands of lost golf balls
Causing serious damage to the local marine environment
16-year-old Californian, Alex Weber was swimming in a small cove near Carmel, two years ago, when she discovered that there were literally hundreds of golf balls on the beach and in the water.
She and her father began the laborious process of removing literally thousands of golf balls over the next months, storing them in her garage. But there was simply no end to the process, as with five coastal courses in the vicinity, they just kept on coming.
Weber then came across one Matt Savoca, a Stanford University scientist who studies plastic waste in the ocean. He was taken by her massive trove of golf balls, and suggested that she write a paper on it. The pair then worked together, even buying kayaks so they could go further out and retrieve even more golf balls.
Golf balls are coated with a thin polyurethane shell, which degrade over time, and emit toxic chemicals. As they degrade they can also be eaten by marine creatures.
Weber said, “If a person could see what we see underwater, it would not be acceptable.” Too right! Isn’t it about time that sea-facing golf courses / links courses addressed this problem head on? Golf needs to play a proper part in protecting the marine environment, and making sure that this does not continue to happen.
Why not reward people to actively hunt out discarded balls? Each of the five courses local to Alex could provide a bounty for every ball recovered. Members and visitors alike won’t want to be part of the environmental degradation that they are unwittingly inflicting, and will surely step up to the plate if they became aware of just how serious an issue this has become. Golf needs to play its part, and pull its weight.
And whilst we're at it: