Recently I had the opportunity to ask Dixon Golf Executive VP William Carey to explain why Dixon Golf chose to create a fully recyclable golf ball. I was very curious to learn what the motivation was and how their program worked.
We have made golf balls for many years for other companies. A few years ago, it became obvious to us that golf balls presented and eco problem. We looked up the stats and found that between 200-300 million golf balls are discarded each year. That is enough balls to make a line from LA to London and back, in other words, a lot of garbage and landfill space. Also, nobody seemed to be willing to do anything about it.
We tested different products for nearly a year to find the right formula for performance as well as recycling because the whole concept doesn't work unless the ball performs as well or better than the competition. When were finally happy with the ball, we had a product that performed extremely well for the golfers and that we could grind up and recycle to make other products out of the material such as field turf and playground equipment.
We also had to go through a few changes with the recycling program. Originally, an envelope came with each box of balls so golfers could send them in. The problem with that option was that it was a bit of a hassle to take it to the post office and mail off. Earlier this year, we launched our current program where recycle bins are placed at pro shops and golf stores.
Every golfer has old balls that aren't usable for golf. Now there is a place to take them. We pay golfers to recycle all their old balls as a way to incentivize more people to participate. We give a credit of $.50/ball for any brand of ball and $1.00/ball for any Dixon golf balls toward the purchase of new balls. We recycle the Dixon balls and use the other balls in our R&D. Our goal is to eventually be able to recycle every golf ball and truly make a difference in this industry.
We are not one of the big companies in this industry and as such, we have a competitive disadvantage in the amount of money we can spend to let people know that there is an eco friendly option out there and that the ball is as good or better than the one they are currently playing. But, we are the first company to do anything like this and feel that with enough people helping our grass roots marketing, we can make a difference.
People can help the cause by simply raising awareness. They can tell their friends and ask their golf shop if they have a recycling center. The more demand there is, the bigger difference we can make.
To find a retailer or recycling center near you, visit the Dixon retailer locator.
Impressed by the efforts of Dixon Golf, Turfhugger.com has decided to hold a monthly contest using the Dixon tag line "Get On The Green". Each months contest will focus on your solutions to environmental concerns in a specific area of golf course management. Each months contest will be posted on the Right Column of Turfhugger.com and the winners, choosen by Turfhugger.com and Dixon Golf, will be awarded One Dozen of Dixon Earth Balls.