“The life of a Golf Ball”
Imagine if nothing wears off until you lose them? Well, that is about what the good old saying goes for golf balls. The reason is that one keeps losing golf balls in the bushes, in the ponds or, among the trees. That pretty much defines the end of the life of a ball.
But, the life of a golf ball may depend on where and how the ball is used. If the ball remains on the shelf, there are very little chances of it getting damaged. Even if it gets lost in between a game, it never meant that the life of the ball is over, but it’s worth just ended with its inability to be used again. The way a golf ball is manufactured determines, to a large extent its lifespan. It is determined by the type of ball and the contents that are used to manufacture it.
Material type of Ball
Then it becomes interesting to question how long does a golf ball last with regards to its wear and tear during the performance. The durability of a golf ball depends on the kind of materials that were used to manufacture it and the science of its design to withstand high swing speed of the golfer.
The golf ball consists of two sections- the cores and the covers. The durability and consistency of the golf ball are identified by the kind of the material that makes up the core. Most golf balls have liquid or rubber cores, it is not to discredit rubbers with such cores,but the ideal golf balls are the ones whose cores are made up of polymers. Similarly, the material of the covers is very important as it determines how vulnerable is the ball to damage. Golf ball covers made up of ionomer covers have often been regarded as ideal.
Design type of Ball
While the life of a golf ball that is at use depends on the factors discussed above, it also depends on the kind of golf ball it is. All golf balls, in general, are designed to be able to withstand at least 100 strikes, but its durability is also determined to a large extent by the type of ball it is.
One-Piece Golf balls: One-piece- golf balls are for beginners or a non- expert player. They are made up of Surlyn and inexpensive. Since the nature of their very component and design is of low quality, they do not have high durability. A one-piece golf ball is made for short term use, it wears and tears quickly within a time period of fewer than five years.
Two-Piece Golf balls: Two-piece golf balls are usually for the mid-level player. The most t dominant kind of balls are these. They are made upon a solid rubber core and ionomer covers. Its cores are big in order to offer a lot of speed to the user, and they usually last for five to seven years.
Three-Piece Golf balls: Three-piece golf balls are for expert professional players. It is made up of a rubber solid or liquid core, elastic windings around and a softcover. It is designed to give a better experience and lasts for around two years only.
Four- Piece Golf balls: This ball is made up in the same way as the three-piece golf ball but with an additional second firm mantle layer to serve long durability, the force of speed and extreme external forces. These balls last an additional year longer than the three-piece golf balls.
Five-Piece Golf balls: Five-piece golf balls are the most expensive and gives an upgraded tour-level performance of the three-piece golf balls. They are mostly used in tours and their life beings and ends mostly during the tour period.
Golf balls which are kept for the shelf life survive for longer. It will also continue to be in good shape if maintained well under normal room temperature and proper maintenance. This, however, does not imply an infinity time frame. Golf balls kept under well-controlled conditions will be at good shape even for a decade and usable for a game. For example, if the three-piece golf balls approximately 5-8 years of shelf life. The reason is that they gradually begin losing out its when its firmness and reduces its spring.
Decomposition into the Environment
While the life of the golf ball is interesting, this serious curiosity should be contextualised to modern-day concerns too. The discussions have been about how long golf ball is useful to the consumer, but it is also important how long does the golf ball take to decompose. The Danish Golf Association has recently estimated an approximate time span of 100-1,000 years is taken for a golf ball to decompose naturally.
Even at this slow rate of decomposition, golf balls continue to be manufactured every year. Similarly, an estimated amount of 300 million balls gets discarded or lost in the United States alone each year. It then means that more than 300 million balls get discarded a global level which will take approximately around 500-600 years to decompose.
The final life: impact on Environment
The materials that made up golf balls were only to determine its durability. However, a large portion of the ball is made up of rubber and plastics which takes one of the longest times to decompose. Even when the balls decompose the break-down of its composition gives out a large number of toxic gases. Some harmful gaseous chemicals include zinc and sulphur that are released as a result of the break-down of heavy metals.
While the lush green terrain plains of the golf course that seemingly appears eco-friendly especially with the use of electronic vehicles. The golf sports industry is contributing to a serious environmental concern through the loss of the many golf balls. These golf balls lost in the field often remain unattended.
While golf balls seem to have long enough life for the users, it also seems to last long enough in the environment. This causes alarming ecological and biodiversity concern. It’s undeniable that sustainable and eco-friendly measures are indeed adopted in the industry, and biodegradable and non- toxic golf balls are available. Private clubs are emerging at an escalating rate due to the attached image of golf being a friendly leisure game, and it becomes crucial to educate everyone. With tournaments scheduled every season, associations should adopt an eco-friendly approach and searched, reuses and recycle lost balls.