Scientists at UC Irvine have discovered that titanium golf clubs can create sparks that cause fires on golf courses. If titanium clubs strike a rock during a swing, it can produce sparks as hot as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The sparks can last for longer than a second and can easily land on grass or nearby plants. James Earthman, a chemical engineering and materials science professor at UC Irvine told the LA Times, “Titanium reacts violently with both oxygen and nitrogen in the air.”
The study was inspired by investigations into how a 25-acre fire at Shady Canyon golf club in 2010 and a smaller fire at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in 2011 began. The only obvious common denominator was that the players were using titanium clubs.
Clubs made out of any other material did not produce any sparks when striking rocks. Next time you’re in the rough, be careful where you swing your titanium clubs.