Is there a sport (other than hunting and fishing) that is more in touch with nature than golf? For the sake of argument we’ll say no (although rock-climbing and surfing come to mind). When you think about the beauty that is golf much of it has to with the fact that for 4 hours we’re outdoors. The smell of freshly mowed grass, the sights like new magnolia blossoms, the sound of the birds chirping. Golf is quite simply organic and in a sense in touch with Mother Nature.
The golf industry has become increasingly more conscious of its effect on our planet. Slowly but surely golf courses are dropping the ways of gas-powered carts and moving to efficient electric golf carts. No longer are carts spewing out blue smoke from their exhausts and of course you have golf courses that get listed as being Certified Audubon Co-operative Sanctuaries. The industry truly has become Planet Earth aware. So what better product to write about on this “Earth Day Eve” than “the world’s only 100% bio-degradable golf tee”?
GelTees are the brainchild of Capsuline CEO and President Jonathan Gilinski. Mr. Gilinski founded GelTees in 2009. While in Orlando for this past January’s PGA Merchandise Show I was informed by Irlianna Samsara and Holly Geoghegan of Golf Marketing Services about an exciting new product called GelTees. Upon learning of what the product was it really intrigued me as I am conservation minded. So I went to pay their booth a visit. While visiting the booth I learned a few things. GelTees are the end result of five years of research by Pompano Beach, Florida based company Capsuline. Capsuline is involved in the pharmaceutical company and if you’ve ever swallowed a capsule you might have swallowed their products. With Capsuline’s extensive knowledge in gelatin and the material’s ability to biodegrade Capsuline set out to make use of leftover by-product of the manufacturing process. The end result was the first ever true 100% biodegradable golf tee.
The premise behind GelTees is quite simple. By producing the tee out of the gelatin that dissolves when you swallow medication the golf tee simply dissolves after it breaks. Within a few days GelTees simply decomposes and disappears thus leaving no evidence of the tee being there in the first place. Through literature received through a press release from GelTees I learned some significant information. The production of 2.8 billion wooden golf tees (in the U.S.A. alone) comes at the cost of 70,000 trees per year. The production of wooden tees also represents an astonishing 1,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere annually. Moreover, wooden and plastic are responsible for taking away from the budgets of superintendents as more time and money is spent on repairing mower blades and of course cleaning up tee boxes that have been littered by broken golf tees. Eyesores really.
After reading the information behind GelTees the product truly sounds like they are a “green” golf product to the “nth degree”. But there really is only one way for me to pass judgement and that’s to test them. I was able to get my hands on a few at the PGA Show Demo Day and then again while on the floor of the show where representatives of GelTees gave me a box of golf tees to try. I actually used a couple as I visited different booths hitting product until I turned blue in the face. The first thought that I had as I used them was that I likes the profile of them (the top in particular is streamlined) and that the GelTees were easy to stick into the ground. However, with those pro’s came a con. The breakage. Even though I understand the reasoning behind GelTees I wasn’t sure how the golf consumer would view them. Post-show I played some golf before returning home and I would also use them more back at home for winter golf and again in March on a second trip to Florida. While using them in January I readily admit that I became somewhat irritated by the fact they broke so consistently… but this is by design. Upon breaking, a quick step on the leftover fragments breaks down the GelTees even further which potentially speeds up the decomposition time. By the time I had gotten through my March trip to Florida and consequently a round upon arriving home I was sold on GelTees. From “hate to love”. Believe it or not… the tees will last more than one shot when using driver. As a matter of fact, I had one GelTee last 9 tee shots (driver) recently until it flipped up in the air and got lost in the grass. On the plus side… that tee will not leave a footprint behind. Will some consumers balk at purchasing them? It’s totally possible because some golfers may not like the idea of always replacing a tee so frequently.
In a separate news release that I received came some impressive news. To celebrate Earth Day GelTees is launching “an extensive sampling program across the country inviting private and public golf courses and resorts to test the eco-friendly tees”. Among some of the golf courses taking part in the Earth Day celebrations is the very well reputed Cog Hill Golf & Country Club located out of Chicago, Illinois. An honor that is well-deserved for GelTees and its CEO Tiger Summers. GelTees retails $1.99 USD for a pack of 20.
Golfers… the time has come to help Mother Nature one drive at a time. Hit it and crush it! Also, GelTees “mission is not only to lower the environmental impact of the game, but to help fund charitable organizations that improve lives through the game of golf. We’re changing commodity into community”.
For more information check out their website at www.geltees.com. Happy Earth Day!!
Until The Next GelTee!