Whack Balls – Feed Fish. This company makes golf balls from fish food designed to be driven into the ocean. We spoke to sales and marketing director Taylor Ward. Fore!
Ok this sounds like a blast … but why do we need golf balls made of fish food?
That’s a great question! The founders of Ocean Golf are very aware of the environment and what plastic/pollution is doing to the ocean. A real golf ball takes between 100 -1,000 years to break down in the ocean – releasing an array of highly toxic pollutants. Each year tens of thousands of these highly toxic polluting golf balls get hit into the sea. We want to rid the oceans of these toxic golf balls while also having fun doing so. We played this activity a while back on Necker Island and saw huge potential to link golf with sustainability whilst also taking away the strict stigma of traditional golf and what’s required on the course.
What happened before Ocean Golf Asia came along?
Before it all started, I used to work a corporate job in the UK for a telecoms company. I had a holiday to Sir Richard Branson’s Island, Necker, as a good mate of mine was working there. It was at that point I met my founder and we started discussing launching in Asia. Fast forward four years and here we are!
When did you open for business, and who buys your balls?
We started operations in 2019 and officially opened for business in January 2020 with some great events and marquee customers but then the global pandemic hit, drying up our intended tourism market. It gave us an opportunity to think outside of the box and look at different ideas/concepts we regularly wouldn’t have come up with. Our first client was Nihi in Sumba (voted number 1 resort in the world for two consecutive years) followed on by the world-famous Omnia Day Club (now Savaya). We now work with a variety of resorts including The Apurva Kempinski and Six Senses, and a huge selection of yachts plus private customers and parties.
How are your golf balls made?
Our balls are made at a high security laboratory using a top-secret recipe – if I disclosed this information to you I would have to kill you! Plus, my founder would feed me to the sharks, not just the fish!
How long do they take to dissolve in the ocean?
We recently conducted a test study with The Apurva Kempinski at their famous Coral restaurant aquarium to measure the biodegrading process. The balls were gone in under two days. It also depends on the water conditions, whether it’s a lake, ocean or even swimming pool. The maximum in say a lake would be 25 days and the quickest being the ocean is 48-72 hours.
Can we eat them?
Ha! This question has been asked by our customers in the past. I wouldn’t encourage it as the balls are very fishy in smell and taste once any moisture is put on the product. That being said, if you’re into eating fish food then go for it, there are no hazardous materials used – my dog enjoys eating them when he breaks into my stash at home sometimes!
What are the challenges facing golf generally as a sport in terms of the environment, do you think?
There is definitely a huge focus on sustainability and golf, as there is with any industry nowadays. The big golf events in Asia are all spending millions to transition to environmentally sustainable events. In addition to this, the younger generations getting into the sport have a bigger desire to think more about the products and activities they are part of and to do better for the world. As mentioned above, it takes a standard golf ball up to 1,000 years to fully biodegrade in the ocean, whilst releasing heavy metals, chemicals and micro-plastics that poison plants and wildlife.
How can we get involved in this magnificent palaver?
To get involved send us a follow on our social media page @oceangolfclubasia to keep up to date with our latest partnerships and events. In addition to this you can sign up to our newsletter on our website www.oceangolfasia.com
What’s your motto as a company?
Our motto has remained the same since we launched – ‘Whack Balls, Feed Fish’. Our focus is to make this activity fun and user-friendly. We certainly have fun at work and with our customers. On our social media we like to use the hashtag #beersandballs as we find it goes hand-in-hand with a cold one!
How do we buy a box of these balls for our next bachelor/stag/hen party?
You can grab our balls (sorry that sounds wrong!) from our online store www.oceangolfasia.com where we sell gift boxes of 25, perfect presents for him/her, or sacks of 50 and 100 for bucks/hen/birthdays.