It probably seems a bit odd for me to be thinking about the sport of golf when our landscape is completely covered in snow.  But then again, I’m a bit odd, just ask my sister.  It just so happens the topic of golf has been popping up around me lately and I’ve been giving it some thought.

     While I was in California I hiked an area known as Batiquitos Lagoon.  It’s a tidal wetland near Carlsbad and I had never seen anything like it before.  I grabbed one of the interpretive guide pamphlets and learned lots about this unique eco-system.  There were a variety of birds and plants as well as scents in the air; eucalyptus, salty marsh and more.  There were highways in the distance and houses lining the hill but it was a relatively peaceful area for being so close to San Diego. 

     While I was walking a portion of the trail I crossed a small footbridge.  I glanced into the creek and among the rocks and water there was of course garbage but something else as well.  I had to take a closer look to determine what exactly I was looking at because I thought I was seeing hundreds of eggs.  Upon further examination I discovered these egg imposters were actually golf balls.

     I couldn’t imagine why all of the golf balls would be sitting in the stream until I walked a little farther down the path.  Of course, there it was, a golf course right alongside the trail for quite a distance of the path.  Lush, green grass manicured to perfection complete with golfers and their carts.  I wondered about the lawn and how many chemicals it would take to make it so beautiful.  About that time it started to rain.  The area receives very little precipitation each year but I thought about the run-off of the golf course and the tidal area it flowed into. 

     I’ve played golf once and that was about twenty years ago.  Maybe I’ll learn how to play some day but at this point in my life I would rather explore the woods and trails than chase a ball across a lawn.  When Mike’s cousin was up for a visit last week the topic of golf came up.  Maybe because of that Lion Woods guy who has been in the news lately, just kidding, I know it’s Tiger.   In any case she expressed her distaste for the "so-called sport."  She’s not sure it should be classified as a Sport and she doesn’t like to see natural areas turned into golf courses.

     I was shocked that I had never thought about the construction of golf courses and the impact it has on the eco-system.  I’ve thought about how strange it seems to see patches of green when flying over a desert area such as Las Vegas or areas of Arizona.  I’ve wondered how much water and electricity is used to keep golf courses so gorgeous in such a climate but I had never thought about what was there before the golf course. 

     Golf courses are everywhere including on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  Of course trees were cut down to create it and the water quality of the Poplar River that flows through it has deteriorated.  This river dumps into Lake Superior which is also affected.  There are golf courses all over the place.  Up in the mountains, around lakes, next to the oceans and in the desert. 

     Other thoughts popped into my head when I was thinking about golf courses.  Are they highly regulated in regards to their run-off or other activities?  If they aren’t then is it because golf tends to be more of an upper class sport?  Could I make money collecting and re-selling the golf balls in the stream?

     I don’t have any answers but I was just wondering.  Then today I saw a link for a neat article about biodegradeable golf balls that release fish food.  What a great idea for golf courses near water!  I think I should tell the people at Batiquitos Lagoon about them, but then again, if I do that, there won’t be any golf balls for me to collect and sell the next time I visit.

Play Golf and Feed the Fish with Ecobioball

by Petz Scholtus, Barcelona, Spain on 01. 7.10

Our seas and oceans are badly contaminated, especially with plastic waste, which affects animals and plants in the waters. Jeremy wrote in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Out of Sight, Out of Mind that "the floating expanse of waste and debris in the Pacific Ocean is now covering an area twice the size of the continental U.S. believed to hold almost 100m tons of flotsam, this vast "plastic soup" stretches 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan". Between 40% and 60% of the waste collected on beaches is plastic, according to the book Green Plastics by E.S. Stevens (Princeton University Press, 2002). The trash has often travelled for miles before being washed up on the shore somewhere. So what if you like to play golf on the beach, on a cruise ship or from your boat? Well, now you can do exactly that without littering, but feeding the fish instead.

The Ecobioball is a 100% biodegradable, non-toxic golf ball that you can use to play real golf on the water, full swing! The use of plastic golf balls is illegal near water due to the waste it leaves behind. That’s why the Spanish company has just launched an alternative golf ball, to be able to play golf on the sea without littering. Ecobioballs claims to be 100% safe for the flora and fauna of the sea, as it is fully biodegradable and non-toxic. Once the balls hit the water, they biodegrade in less than 48 hours, letting out the fish food they contain inside. Let’s hope the fishes enjoy their meals! ::Albusgolf