Fire at Launch Technologies Golf Ball Factory Kills 10
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Fire at Launch Technologies Golf Ball Factory Kills 10

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Fire at Launch Technologies Golf Ball Factory Kills 10

An investigation is underway into the fire that killed 10 people last Friday at the Launch Technologies golf ball factory in Pingtung City, Taiwan.

Launch Technologies is one of the largest golf ball manufacturers in the world, producing approximately 20 percent of the world’s supply. Launch Tech works closely with Callaway, notably producing the ERC Soft and Supersoft balls. The company also makes all the balls for Topgolf. Additionally, Launch Tech supplies other OEMs with two-piece balls, including TaylorMade, Bridgestone and Mizuno. It also services many direct-to-consumer companies.

Its customer list also includes OnCore, Odin, Sugar, Seed and Penfold.

Fire kills 10 at Launch Technologies Golf Ball factory.

More Than 100 Injured

The fire started Friday and was followed by two separate explosions that caused portions of the building to collapse. While the cause of the fire is under investigation, the Associated Press is reporting that Launch Tech has already been fined $75,000 and could face criminal charges for public endangerment and negligent manslaughter.

Specifically, AP is reporting that Launch Tech had more than 3,000 tons of organic peroxides stored at its factory. Only 100 tons were permitted.

Highly flammable organic peroxide is used to manufacture golf ball cores. Taiwanese law requires organic peroxide to be stored in a separate warehouse. But Launch Tech kept the material on the first floor of its factory, according to the AP report.

Launch Technologies golf ball factory fire.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor is launching an occupational safety investigation. The Launch Tech factory had previously been fined for other safety violations.

In addition to the 10 people killed, more than 100 suffered injuries including firefighters and other first responders.

Callaway Statement

Callaway released the following statement over the weekend:

We are aware of the fire that occurred on Friday at the Pingtung City golf ball factory and are working directly with Launch Tech and local authorities to gather more information. Our thoughts are with all the first responders, employees and families of those who have been affected.

Launch Tech has become the go-to supplier of golf balls for many smaller direct-to-consumer brands. The company is listed on the Taipei Stock Exchange and shipped more than 260 million golf balls last year. Roughly 80 percent of its business is in the United States.

One source told MyGolfSpy that the factory will likely be out of commission for up to a year.

MyGolfSpy will have more information as it becomes available.

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John Barba

John Barba

John Barba

John is an aging, yet avid golfer, writer, 6-point-something handicapper living back home in New England after a 22-year exile in Minnesota. He loves telling stories, writing about golf and golf travel, and enjoys classic golf equipment. “The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight.” - BenHogan

John Barba

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John Barba





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      Roy

      8 months ago

      This is sad for all the employee’s and owners. But don’t be a know it all, profit over workers. We know very little what happened. And why did it happen today and not the day before or the day before that? And why are golf balls in such a demand. I have a football 8 years old. Shouldn’t golf balls last a long time?

      Reply

      Bwawb

      7 months ago

      How many times have you thrown that football and had it just disappear? You and 3 of your buddies look for it for 3 mins before you have to move to the next football field or the ref gives you a penalty.
      How many times has that football seen a 120mph impact that literally flattens it before flying hundreds of yards?
      No, golf balls shouldn’t last as long as a football. You’re comparing apples to bowling balls.

      Reply

      Rob

      8 months ago

      Obviously Goldfinger was behind this.
      IF the AP is accurate and that’s 50-50 at best, the management was taking a hell of a risk. The workers and firefighters paid the ultimate price for those shortcuts.
      Wasn’t the raw material to make cores in short supply around the world not long ago?

      Reply

      Plumbob

      8 months ago

      Didn’t Callaway invest some $50m in a new ball facility in the USA, if so why do they need to outsource balls?

      Reply

      Mike

      8 months ago

      That was their Massachusetts ball plant that only make Chrome Soft and all of its TruVis and Tripletrack variants, and it was more like $150M. The investment was to improve their QC processes to address their off-center core issues, as well as add more TruVis and Tripletrack imprinting machines. All of their other balls are made in Asia.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 months ago

      Callaway makes the Chrome Soft lineup in Chicopee, MA. At one time they produced ERC Soft there as well, but as with most ball factories these days, they don’t currently have the capacity to run Chrome Soft and the inexpensive stuff. It’s common practice industry-wide to outsource ionomer product to 3rd party overseas factories. As far as I know, Titleist is the only brand that manufactures all of its 2-piece stuff in house (though not at the same factory that makes Pro V1/x/AVX, etc.).

      Reply

      Bob

      8 months ago

      They outsource their lower end balls. Chrome Soft are made in the USA.

      Reply

      Rod CLEMMONS

      8 months ago

      Under age victims? Children often are workers in Asian factories. What was the case in the golf ball fire?

      Reply

      tf

      8 months ago

      They were storing 3000 tons of highly flammable organic peroxide on the first floor of the factory. By law only 100 tons was allowed BUT it has to be stored in a separate building.

      Reply

      Ray Fouts

      8 months ago

      Those American companies knew what was going on. Profit over lives. Let’s boycott them, make them pay.

      Reply

      Allen wilson

      8 months ago

      Everytime they want a major price hike on something, the factory mysteriously burns down….

      Reply

      Bob Matuzak

      8 months ago

      So specifically what golf balls were made there?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 months ago

      The most notable golf balls produced by Launch Tech are the Callaway Supersoft and ERC Soft. Supersoft is significant because, by volume, it’s the best-selling ball in the Callaway lineup and among the best-selling in market. ERC Soft does ok as well.

      They also produce some cheaper models including range balls for Bridgestone, TaylorMade, Srixon, and Mizuno. Also notable on the list are the MG balls.

      DTC balls produced at LT include the new (2022) OnCore ELIXR, Sugar, and ODIN X1. I haven’t confirmed it, but based on dimple count and other details, it’s likely the LA Golf ball is produced there as well.

      Finally, the Topgolf balls are also produced at LT.

      Reply

      Mike T

      8 months ago

      Mostly a 2 piece ball maker? So, Oncore Avant vs Elixr?

      Reply

      John O

      8 months ago

      The 2022 Elixr was made there.

      Reply

      Anderson Dave

      8 months ago

      How do you know this?

      Tony Covey

      8 months ago

      As part of our Ball Lab process, we track track the factories than manufacturer the ball. Sometimes you have to comb through import logs, but more often than not, if you know the dimple count and the country of origin, you can figure out who made it.

      Original ELIXR is Foremost
      New ELIXR is/was Launch Tech

      Lewis

      8 months ago

      Glad I have a basket of slightly used balls. Price is likely to rise.

      Reply

      NB

      8 months ago

      That’s your takeaway? Wow

      Reply

      Josh

      8 months ago

      10 people dead and your concern is the price of your golf (a luxury sport) ball increasing. Sad.

      Reply

      Smogmonster

      8 months ago

      What an awful tragedy. Negligence leading to the loss of life is terrible. We are so fortunate to play the sport we love. My prayers are for the families of the survivors and the deceased. Enjoy every day friends as we don’t know when our time here is up.

      Reply

      UAWREP

      8 months ago

      This is why Companies need to be regulated. They have shown time after time that they are incapable of following safety regulations on their own. Profit over safety. Regulations need stiff and costly enforceable penalties.

      Reply

      CryptoDog

      8 months ago

      Yeah. This is how Covid got out, negligence lmao

      Reply

      IJA

      8 months ago

      Sounds like they were properly regulated. Its enforcement that’s the issue. The law was fairly clear, but the company wasn’t abiding with it and apparently happy to pay fines in the past and not modify its procedures. Desperately sad outcome.

      Reply

      C

      8 months ago

      Yep, and until fines outweigh the profits and guilty parties are given prison time, nothing will change.

      Reply

      frazzman80

      8 months ago

      Prayers for those who lost their lives and for those injured. The human toll is far more important than the golf ball side of this story.

      Reply

      Darood

      8 months ago

      No, because now golf ball prices will double in cost because of law suits.

      Reply

      Bwawb

      7 months ago

      Where is the down vote button?
      I feel 1/2 the comments here are not from golf spies, but from people who rage at golf at any opportunity.

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