Here's the scenario: it's your second shot on a short par 5. You're feeling frisky -- you've been hitting it well all day -- and there's no trouble short of the green. You decide to go for it, and reach for your 3-wood.
That situation, or one similar to it, isn't just potentially jeopardizing your score, but could be setting the scene for a deadly and wide-ranging wildfire, according to a new study from the University of California at Irvine.
The study describes how the makeup of titanium clubs, when struck against a small, embedded rock or other hard services, produces "intensely hot sparks" that could potentially start a fire. The study added that sparks like this could have been the cause of recent golf course fires, notably the 2010 fire at Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine.
Titanium alloy golf clubs can cause dangerous wildfires, according to UC Irvine scientists. When a club coated with the lightweight metal is swung and strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for long enough to ignite dry foliage, according to findings published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Fire and Materials
One fire almost reached homes before they stopped it. This unintended hazard could potentially lead to someone's death, said chemical engineering & materials science professor James Earthman, lead author on the paper. A very real danger exists, particularly in the Southwest, as long as certain golf clubs remain in use.