Titanium Golf Clubs = Fire Hazard?
By Torleif Sorenson on 3/20/14
A tip of the cap to oober SpaceMaNy0.
Scientists at the University of California, Irvine have completed a study showing that titanium-coated golf clubs are capable of igniting wildfires.
According to the study, when a club coated with titanium or titanium alloys strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to as much as 3,000° Fahrenheit — and for a long-enough period of time to ignite dry foliage.
The aptly-named James Earthman, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and lead author of the study, had this to say:
"Rocks are often embedded in the ground in these rough areas of dry foliage. When the club strikes a ball, nearby rocks can tear particles of titanium from the sole of the head. Bits of the particle surfaces will react violently with oxygen or nitrogen in the air, and a tremendous amount of heat is produced. The foliage ignites in flames."But Dr. Earthman also said something that environmental extremists and anti-golf activists could latch onto and use against golfers and manufacturers:
"One fire almost reached homes before they stopped it. This unintended hazard could potentially lead to someone's death. A very real danger exists, particularly in the Southwest, as long as certain golf clubs remain in use."The university released also this video clip, which vividly illustrates sparks coming off a titanium-headed club striking a rock:
The study was the result of Orange County (California) fire investigators asking the university to determine whether titanium clubs could have ignited wildfires that occurred at Shady Canyon Golf Cluib in Irvine in 2010 (above right) and at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo.
Given the way that some politicians and activists have used almost any justification for their attacks on golf, as well as virtually anything in the private sector, this could get rather ugly.
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Image via Zach Bates
[ comments ]
Twice I've actually seen a spark from my driver hitting the ball during a round. I assume sand was on the club face or ball. At least I know I keep my head down through impact.
More anti golf, anti everything, claptrap.
I thought sparks were a common sight to anyone who tees off at dusk enough times. Did it really take a university-level study to suss this out? Makes me wish I was one of them over-paid professors.
what about cigars, or cigarettes? They should do a research on that!
I predicted this would happen when those whippersnappers stopped making drivers out of Persimmon.
"The university released also this video clip, which vividly illustrates sparks coming off a titanium-headed club striking a rock:"
A rock? How often does your driver hit a rock??? I guess if you use Pinnacles or Top Flites...
Torleif Sorenson says:
DaRupp13: Good one.
Dont you take rocks carve them into a golf ball shape, carve in some dimples and paint them white. Then just lay them around dry golf courses hoping someone will hit one and start a fire.
Or is that just me?
@jasonfish... I think that's how Topflite makes some of their balls
Fairly old news fellas. Yes, titanium clubs do spark when you hit into “rocks”, the tiny pebbles that make up part of the dirt in the grass. All the titanium clubs from the 90’s and early 2000’s always created a spark when we drop kicked it from the tee box. When we all played at dusk trying to finish the last few holes, it was super easy to see the spark and flash in the dark. We all made the jokes and comments about the flash and the spark after the shot, etc, etc…
Some of the courses I played gave us very specific rules about mandatory free drops from dried canyon sides, so as to not create those sparks.
I imagine that’s a big part of the reason why manufacturers don’t use much (if any) titanium in clubs anymore. At least not on the sole plate anyway.
I'm guessing most current Oobers are using clubs made past 2006, so those sparks rarely are sighted these days. Or if you still use a driver pre-2006, then you probably don't play often enough anyway to be a (fire) risk.
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