Titanium Golf Clubs Can Lead To Brush Fires, Scientists Say

Paul Gutierrez

OMAHA (KPTM) - From a simple lightning strike to careless smoking, there are plenty of ways a brush fire can get out of hand. Now, scientists have added something else to that list: swinging with a titanium golf club.

As the weather get warmer and golfers begin hitting the links, a California-based study is getting a lot of attention. It found hitting a ball from the tee is okay, but near rocks and dry vegetation is something entirely different.

"If someone were to come into contact with the ground with a titanium driver and they hit a rocky surface, it would create some sparks," said Tony Tubrick, a golf store owner familiar with the study.

Those sparks, scientists say, can get up to 3,000 degrees. That's in contrast to the gentle orange glow that emits from a stainless steel club.

"The steel clubs release orange sparks and don't burn quite as hot as titanium," said Tubrick, who used a grinder at his store to serve as a demonstration.

Golf enthusiasts like Tubrick are quick to point out the likelihood of actually starting a fire by way of titanium isn't exactly imminent, but it is something to keep in mind.

"If you have any doubt, I would recommend alternatives like wood head golf clubs or vintage clubs."

Scientists used high speed cameras and special microscopes to verify their results. They found that titanium has a bad reaction to both oxygen and nitrogen in the air.