In Kansas, researchers are developing biodegradable golf balls out of soybeans because the planet doesn’t get to claim a mulligan when novice golfers shank their balls so far out of bounds they are never seen again.
The work was done at the Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pittsburg State university in partnership with the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. “Many times, golf balls are lost in the field or the lake or the pond and it does not degrade,” says PSU chemistry professor Ram Gupta tells MorningSun. “Our idea is to use soybean-based materials such as soybean meal to use for the inner core, and for the outer layer — you can see this has to be very strong — we are using soybean oil-based polymer.”
Gupta says matching the performance of a common golf ball will be a challenge. “[T]here are lots of things the golf industry is looking for, like how far it will go, how it swings, how it rotates in the air. Those things will be challenge, but I think we can do it,” he adds.