Off-season Biodegradable Golf Practice

Hey gang, just wanted to post an idea for those of you who are getting antsy in the off-season, and need a convenient environmentally safe way to practice.  Ever worked on your swing hitting magnolia fruit?

Nature's golf balls
Nature’s golf balls

These are truly nature’s golf balls and the idea came to me a couple years ago after I had bought a hitting mat and Callaway driving net and became frustrated with the deployment.  I discovered the net was a pain to keep setting up and taking down, and it didn’t behave well on windy days.  Plus, when the ground froze, you couldn’t get the tie down metal stakes in.  Just a poor labor intensive solution.

I took a look around and realized I have fruit bearing trees in my yard, including several black walnuts and a 50-foot magnolia.

My magnolia tree
My magnolia tree

My magnolia doesn’t accent the property like the many on Magnolia Lane at Augusta, but it is a beauty and she drops fruit pods from October to December which I have harvested over the past few years.

If you’re like me, you often wonder what different objects would behave like when struck with a golf club, and maybe you have tested your ideas from time to time.  So I tried out these fruit pods and they work perfectly.  They come complete with a stem (tee) that dislodges on contact, and can be placed directly on the ground or fit neatly into a rubber tee on a driving range mat.  They weigh about the same as a tennis ball and are constructed solidly enough that they will not break when hit with a driver.  A well struck magnolia pod will fly about 75 yards and of course, will biodegrade over time so there is no clean-up.  Just find an open space and hammer away!  Here’s a demo:

Finally, a word of caution; black walnuts (green shell when they drop in the fall) explode upon contact despite their solid feel.  Avoid at all costs.  I hit one last year and after the disintegration, was covered with green juice that stained my clothes badly.  Maybe the nut from inside the shell would be a better play; I’ll try that next.

Black walnut fruit
Black walnut fruit

Try this out and I’ll bet the next time you’re in the produce aisle of your grocery store you’ll start viewing the spherical shaped fruit and nut offerings in a different light.  Good luck!