Earth Day is upon us, and on its 40th anniversary this year of celebrating our planet, what better opportunity to highlight some cool, eco-friendly golf goods that can help your game and the environment?
For the tee: For those errant shot-hitters whose shots mysteriously disappear into the abyss, Dixon Golf makes a golf ball that doesn't violate the Earth as badly with its materials. Dixon Golf is considered the forerunner in the eco-ball category, using recycled materials in nearly every aspect of its Dixon Earth golf ball, instead of harsh heavy metal-based and synthetic materials. It's the world's first high-performance, eco-friendly line of golf balls, made from 100 percent reprocessable materials and is completely recyclable. Still not convinced? Three-time World Long Drive Champion Sean Fister plays with this little white nugget, as does A-list actor and SCGA member Don Cheadle, a member of Dixon's celebrity staff (check out the May/June issue of FORE Magazine for a Q&A with the thespian). Packaging is made from recycled goods too, and paired with a golf ball recycling program at participating facilities, Dixon really is green from the outside in. Price: $39.95.
For the feet: Is it possible to have environmentally sustainable golf shoes? Hi-Tec says it is, in the form of the company's Enviro shoes. Made from 99 percent sustainable materials, the secret to the footwear is the use of chrome-free, organic vegetable-tanned leathers, the byproducts of which can make drinking water unsafe. Soles made of rice husks, and the shoe liner is made from 100 percent recycled material. The only part of the shoe that is not eco-friendly is the spike receptacle, which Hi-Tec is working on. And since we're all a little fashion-conscious, the Enviro shoes come in two colors: Black and brown, to match every wardrobe.
For the body: Don't sweat the environment with what you're wearing; several companies have taken steps to use renewable materials in the fibers of their clothing. One of these companies is Verterra Sport, which claims to have the first renewable fabric clothing option in the industry. Made from fabrics that contain materials like corn fiber, the clothing still has popular moisture-wicking capabilities and UV protection that other brands include, while not sacrificing style or comfort that golfers require.
For the game: While nearly all golf courses provide significant environmental benefits, there are some that employ an even more sophisticated approach to being eco-friendly. Audubon International has a special division for golf, called the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, in which golf courses can become certified as properties that protect the environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game. One such golf course in Southern California is Barona Creek Golf Club in San Diego, which was certified bronze. Other courses include the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, Glen Annie Golf Club in Goleta, Shadowridge Country Club in Vista, Admiral Baker Golf Course in San Diego, Ashwood Golf Course in Apple Valley, Marriott's Shadow Ridge Resort in Palm Desert, Shady Canyon Golf Club in Irvine, The Citrus Course at La Quinta Resort and Club, Alta Vista Country Club in Placentia, and Brea Creek Golf Course in Brea.
Price: See the SCGA Online Course Directory for prices and directions.
For the golf cart: Many companies, like Sun Catcher and Cruise Car, are coming out with solar panel boosters for golf carts, which can reduce electricity costs of charging tired carts while boosting the battery life. These powerful panels normally stick to the top of the cart roof, making for even more opportunity to play that day.
Price: Varies by company.
Info: www.suncatchergolf.com, www.cruisecarinc.com
The extras: Every year more than 100,000 trees are cut down to make golf tees, but a company called Eco Golf sells, among other things, the original biodegradable golf tee. Called the Eco Endurance tee, it's been on the market for more than a decade, and instead of snapping in half like many wooden tees, they have a game life of several rounds if you don't lose it. Biodegradable tees are also more gentle on maintenance equipment at golf courses. Wooden tees break down the blades of mowers, while eco-friendly tees are softer.
Price: Varies by golf shop, see website.