Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Southern California’s Golf Ball Orchards

Last weekend we took a day trip to visit Southern California’s famous golf ball growing region. Few people know of this small valley south of LA. Over 90 percent of the worlds golf ball crop come from this region where growing conditions are perfect for the golf ball groves of golf ball giants such as Bridgestone, Callaway, Hogan, Ladies, Maxfli, Nike, Pinnacle, Precept, Slazenger, Taylor Made, Titleist & Top Flight. It is hard to imagine as you see them setting out the tiny seedlings that in just three years that seedling will grow into a tree capable of producing over 1000 balls in a single growing season. As the balls reach maturity they begin to whiten and develop their characteristic “dimple” patterns. When the time is right they look like this and are hand plucked from the trees by nimble fingered pickers. They are then sun dried, aged for 30 days and then sorted, packed and shipped to golf courses throughout the world.
Incidentally, scientists in the labs have altered the DNA of individual varieties so that the actual Logo of the owning grove forms on the balls during the aging process. In the late 50s the dreaded “red stripe” disease invaded the valley but it was quickly brought under control and now those with red stripes simply become the now familiar range balls.

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