Golf balls take 1,000 years to decompose, and they release toxic metals into the environment as they break down.

Yet another reason to kick yourself when you lose a ball.

From Green Living Ideas:

Golf balls are often lost by players, in fact there are a few lost in my own meadow and I don’t even play golf. Live Science reminds us that in 1971, Alan Shepard even left some on the moon (two or three golf balls). Golf ball litter is becoming an environmental concern on this planet. CNN reports:

Research teams at the Danish Golf Union have discovered it takes between 100 to 1,000 years for a golf ball to decompose naturally. A startling fact when it is also estimated 300 million balls are lost or discarded in the United States alone, every year…The scale of the dilemma was underlined recently in Scotland, where scientists — who scoured the watery depths in a submarine hoping to discover evidence of the prehistoric Loch Ness monster — were surprised to find hundreds of thousands of golf balls lining the bed of the loch.

Not only do golf balls take between a century and millennium to break down, they release toxic zinc in the process. This heavy metal attaches “itself to the ground sediment and poisoned the surrounding flora and fauna” when in water. Other heavy metals used in golf ball production include tungsten, cobalt and lead.

Read more here.