NatureWorks, the leading global raw material manufacturer of the bio-based polymer PLA, was a sponsor of the 2021 Zurich Classic stop on the PGA tour. In collaboration with, Slant 3D, a high-volume 3D printing service based in the USA, NatureWorks delivered custom-branded golf tee markers, made from bio-based Ingeo polymer, for use throughout the tournament course.
The strategic objectives for the project were to find a creative use for sustainable, bio-based materials at the Zurich Classic to lower the environmental impact of the event and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in golf, as well as to utilize the strengths of 3D printing to deliver a small number of custom-produced items that complied with specific design and branding requirements.
This project was in line with NatureWorks’ mission – to create responsible high-performance materials for a more sustainable future – and on par with the efforts made by the golfing industry toward environmental sustainability – reducing water, pesticide, and fertilizer use on the course, as well as incorporating zero-waste practices such as organics recycling at tournaments.
The golf tee markers at each hole were 3D printed using Ingeo 3D870, a grade designed to deliver high-quality, durable parts, while providing improved heat and impact performance. According to NatureWorks, as these tee markers are made from Ingeo PLA, a plant-derived polymer, they have “a carbon footprint 84% lower than if they were produced from a petrochemical-based plastic such as ABS”, which is more commonly used throughout the 3D printing industry.
Working within specific size and branding requirements, Slant 3D designed and print a physical prototype in a matter of days – compared to the weeks or months that traditional manufacturing processes would have required. The team arranged for a custom colored Ingeo 3D filament, in Zurich’s brand colors, and delivered all 100 pieces of the final tee markers in under a month.