Oct 29th, 2016
Students take on 'ocean destroying' Pebble Beach
It's Fish v ProV...
Words: Tim Southwell
Teenagers Alex Weber and Jack Johnston, students at Carmel High School, have taken on Pebble Beach Golf Club accusing the golf club of destroying the ocean floor at Carmel Bay, where thousands of hackers' golf balls have plunged into the ocean, confusing fish and poisoning reef life.
The pair have also criticised Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary for allowing this to happen and doing nothing about it.
The pair claim to have pulled out over 5,000 golf balls over six months. That's a lot of ProV1s. And not quite so many Top Flights. When the golf balls deteriorate, they break up, resembling reef grass, food that the fish and crustaceans live off.
Weber & Johnston have been free diving in the bay next to Pebble Beach and have made this video of their discoveries.
MBNMS superintendent Paul Mitchel claims that golf balls are less harmful to the ecosystem than other plastics, but the pressure applied by Webber & Johnston has forced the organization to coming up with a plan in conjunction with Pebble Beach.
A spokesperson for Pebble Beach said that the company already employs beach combers to handle the sandy and rocky outcrops that clod-hopping golfers often end up in. Critically, Pebble will now employ divers and scientists to retrieve golf balls below the surface.
"You know we've had decades of scientific researchers, recreational divers out off the coast and no one has brought this to our attention, it's really these two students who have discovered something, and we are really quite proud of them," the spokesperson said.
As for Webber & Johnston, The Pebble Beach Company rewarded them with $500 scholarships to a high school marine science and sustainability-based program at the Island School in the Bahamas.
They may not have needed the cash. 5,000 ProV1s in various states of condition, still gotta be worth a couple of grand...