The Art Of Golf Balls

Like many “06880” readers, Heather Heenehan was grossed out by a recent Pic of the Day. It showed dozens of golf balls floating in the water near Longshore’s Hendricks Point driving range.

They weren’t the only place the Greens Farms Academy teacher had seen them.

Last October, her Oceanography class found a golf ball during their monthly survey of the nearby Burying Hill Beach shoreline.

Curious, they picked it up.

Then they found more, nestled in the rocks. They picked them up too, to clean the beach.

The students realized they now had important evidence of marine debris. They continued the project in Heenehan’s Marine Biology class this spring.

The Marine Biology class at Burying Hill Beach, earlier this spring. (Photo/Heather Heenehan)

They learned that in the water, golf balls break down into small pieces of plastic that are unhealthy for marine organisms to digest.

In addition, they’re covered in toxic zinc.

But what to do with the 121 golf balls they’d collected — a small fraction of the amount in Long Island Sound? How could they draw attention to what they’d found?


They were inspired by Alex Weber, a California high school student who also noticed golf balls around her coast. She and a few friends collected 50,000 (!).

Heenehan’s students cut and painted their golf balls into a mural.

The bottom layer represents the land along the shoreline: green representing seaweed, brown and tan for rocks and sand.

The middle piece portrays the oceans, with various creatures scattered throughout.

The top piece is the sky and sunset.


The Greens Farms Academy mural.

(Hat tip: Dawn Henry)

7 responses to “The Art Of Golf Balls

  1. Fran White

    What a wonderful project, transforming objects likely to end up as waste into art.

  2. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    Way to go GFA. What a wonderful project. I will forward this to Nancy Lauber, a former teacher and then Headmistress and an avid golfer. She will be so proud. P.S. So would my Mom and brother even though they weren’t golfers. Both were environmentally conscious persons long before it was a “thing”.

  3. Vanessa Bradord

    Walking the Fairfield coastline I have often seen golfers practice their swings by hitting balls into the Sound. Sometimes they can collect them at low tide. Other times not!

    • David J. Loffredo

      I’ve collected more than 600 this year from the beach in Fairfield. It’s mostly the students hitting from a few different rental houses – just dumb.

  4. Richard Fogel

    some think the beach is a sand trap. Take care of our world.

  5. Jack Harder

    When I would duck hunt on Hendrick’s Point I would pick up balls and put them in my decoy bag. I would then dump them back up on the range. Sometimes the bag would be so heavy with balls I could barely drag it up the river bank.

  6. Andrew Colabella

    Fantastic initiative to continue cleaning up our shorelines and being proactive in removing harmful waste in our waters. Long Island Sound holds 5,000 microfibers per cubic meter. Micro plastics is the most lethal. If ingested by aquatic life it can kill them and if it doesn’t, when fished, can end up on your plate.