Golf shoes that used to tread county greens will soon cover the feetof homeless men in Baltimore, thanks to a new recycling program at alocal golf store.
But first, the store has to remove the spikes, says Greg Fudge, executive vice president of Pro Golf in Severna Park.
In a new twist on recycling, the store is offering a $10 rebate on purchases for those who turn in an old pair of golf shoes. The store also is asking for donations of old shoes from golfers who otherwise would throw them away.
The shoes will then be reconditioned and given to Christopher Place, a men's homeless shelter in Baltimore.
Already, old golf shoes are piling up in a bin, from plain cloth shoes with rubber soles to black-and-white, leather-soled oxfords.
Torecondition the shoes, saleswoman Cindy Fudge takes a special wrenchand unscrews the spikes, leaving a tiny rivet in a hole about an eighth of an inch. The spike holes are then filled with epoxy and the soles sanded until
they're perfectly flat.
"Old golf shoes are really good shoes for homeless people," says Fudge. "They're good shoes, very durable, and the soles have never been worn down because the spikes took all the abuse."
The store is launching its recycling program Dec. 1 and plans to continue it through the winter, he says.
Fudge came up with the recycling idea recently while driving throughBaltimore.
"You just see people hanging out on corners, shabbily dressed. And you know the economy is affecting people that would never have been affected before," he says.
When he called homeless shelters, representatives told Fudge that typically, donated shoes are nearly worn-out.
"But the golf shoes are perfectly good, great for someone lacking in shoes," he says. "The sole is brand-new, never been worn."
New golf shoes cost from $39 to $100 at the discount golfstore, which opened last spring.
"This is a good thing to do at this time of year, and it's a perfect opportunity for people who want to help but don't know how," Fudge says. "In an indirect way, they can help in a big way."