“When you start playing poorly, you start thinking too much. That's when you start to confuse yourself.” — Greg Norman, pro golfer

My wife and I have made a big decision; we are going to sell our home. Like most serious sellers, we have begun the process of “cleaning out” items we have collected for a long time.

I am looking to find a new home for a couple of hundred golf balls. Admittedly, I am a “ball hawk.” Spring and fall, before the course has opened or closed, I go to spots where I feel balls have betrayed their owners. My caddy heritage has me fill my pockets with balls. I find them in areas I know golfers would have difficulties, and in places where golfers usually don’t look. Unsuitable for on-course play, these balls would be part of my personal practice bag. Now that it’s time for the balls and me to part ways, I visited the internet to see if there are ways to dispose of my collection and received some suggestions.

Before I get into methods to use balls that are taking space in my shed and closet, I want to educate you about wayward golf balls.

When researching the U.S. Open last month at Pebble Beach, I came upon a story of a young girl, who along with her Dad, have been diving in the cove that abuts the famous course. What they found were thousands of golf balls in different stages of deterioration. The father and daughter started collecting the spheres and taking them home. They now have more than sixty thousand balls stored.

The lost balls were having quite an impact on the local ecology. It became a tradition among players at Pebble Beach to tee one up and hit it into the water from the 18th tee. This has been going on for decades. The balls would land in the cove and currents would take them along to areas where the balls would collect. Doesn't sound like much of a problem, but the components that are used to manufacture the ball are plastic and metal. Zinc is one of the metals released when a ball decomposes. The young lady has prompted changes that carried over to Pebble Beach, where golfers are asked not to purposely hit shots into the water. She is studying to be a marine biologist (not a George Costanza marine biologist!)

Suggestions I came upon for reusing balls included some practical and cute ideas. The obvious one is to clean, repaint and sell. You could make Christmas ornaments to be hung on the tree. You could place balls on the bottom of planters, allowing water to drain. My brother hung a ball from the ceiling of his garage so that it would give the person parking the car an indicator to how close the car was to the wall. It worked most of the time.

These are a few ideas, but the quantity of used balls far outweighs the ideas for re-purposing. On a more serious note, it takes from 100 to 1,000 years for a ball to decompose. I will confess I have hit shots from some of the highest peaks here in the Mt. Washington Valley. I have attempted to hit balls across the Merrimack River. I recall that guests on cruise ships would stand on the fantail and hit shots into the ocean. Those acts, some of which I am guilty, need to stop. The damage to the environment is too great.

My short-term solution will be to give the balls to the golf course so they can be used in junior programs or add them to the range ball collection. However, the number of discarded golf balls must be staggering.

We know that the plastic waste damaging our environment will have an impact that far outweighs any benefit from golf. Golfers everywhere need to be made aware of the consequences. The selfish attitude that this is not “my” problem has got to change. A long-term solution needs to be created, not just for golf, but for future generations. Please send your creative ideas on your used ball collection to share.

Club Notes:

North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: Week 1 of the Ledgeview League Playoffs, was held on Monday. Taking first gross were The Golfaholics. First net went to Drinking Tucks and Sinking Putts. The Ladies’ Champ of the Month winner was Lydia Lansing. In the Women's Club Cup, Mary Deveau defeated Lydia to take the crown.

Results of the Mixed Scotch had Al Worcester and Gay Folland take the first gross spot. First net went to Bob and Alice McIlhinney. Pro Days are scheduled for the Labor Day weekend. Sept. 8, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Titleist Fitting Event will be available. Titleist Product Specialist Michelle Zaydon will have the 2020 Titleist equipment available. Call the pro shop to schedule an appointment or you are welcome to stop by and hit with the new equipment.

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 2019 Club Cup Finals have been played. On the men's side, Bill McBroom defeated Virgil Webb. For the ladies, it was Maryann Lowry defeating Ellie Thompson. The Club Championship will be played this weekend at the Jackson 18. The Red Fox League played a “skins game” on the back 9 this past Monday evening. Two teams won skins, Jack's Caddies and the Shanks-A-Lot. A big thanks goes out to all who participated from the Wentworth staff. A reminder to all, the end-of-year banquet will be held Sept. 3 at the Red Fox.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The Hale's Pro Shop hours are 7 a.m-6 p.m. Tee times can be made online at haleslocationgolf.com and click on “Book a Tee Time.” Carts can be added at the course. The final week of the Monday Women's League saw Sandy Wolner post a +8 in the weekly quota game. Jill Luchetti got closest to the pin honors. In the Tuesday Men's League, it was Brian Gilpatrick and Dick DeFronzo posting +5 to share first. Doug Beauregard got the closest to the pin. Nine, Wine and Dine continues on Sunday afternoon. Call the hotel (603) 356-7100 to make a reservation. The pro shop is having a “blowout” sale on Titleist and Cleveland wedges. There are still some bags available at great prices.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Sign-up for the Fall Don Ho has begun. This is a five-week league that plays on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings beginning at 5 p.m. Call the pro shop to sign up. This Sunday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m., the Eagle is hosting a Member and Friends Scramble event. The Thursday Night Eagle League saw the team of Joan Aubrey, Nicki Lynn, Terri Fitzgerald, Janice and Dan Andrews take the top spot.

Nicki Lynn got closest to the pin honors.

Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: As a sign that the season is flying by, the Tuesday Men's Twilight League has played its last match of the season. Finishing first was Team Trumbull, with Team Lord in second. Individual point leaders were Gus Fillerbrown taking first, Kit Trumbull second and Nat Mason third. Over 80 golfers  played in the first annual No Kid Hungry Tournament. The presenting sponsor of this event was the 302 West Smokehouse & Tavern. A big thanks to all who played and supported this event. On Sept. 6, the Professional Loggers will play their tournament at Lake Kezar Country Club. This event is sponsored by Cross Insurance and benefits local children at The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.

19th Hole

A takeaway from this weekend: I might be a minority, but the new rule of allowing the pin to remain in the cup is not speeding up play. In fact, I think it might be adding time to a round of golf.

With a long putt (20-30 feet) most players leave the pin in. But for short putts, 10 feet or less, most want the pin removed. However, there are guys who want the pin in for every putt, from every distance.

This is forcing the playing partners to put the pin back into the cup. I don't see where any time is being saved. I'd be interested in hearing from others if this rule is speeding up play. Have a great weekend!

Joe Soraghan may be reached at joesoraghan@yahoo.com.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.