Are you intrigued by all that “white gold” littering the bottom of water hazards? Excited by the allure of hanging out on America’s most scenic golf courses? We understand. We love this business. But golf ball diving might not be exactly what you'd expect. Here's a few things you should know.
First, some history. Golf ball diving goes way back. Back to caveman days when brave guys with names like Og and Steve would grab a hollow reed and weight themselves down with rocks. Then they'd leap into the nearest quarry in the hope of making some sweet change off their buddies shanked, granite Callaway Hards. Most were never seen again.
Which brings us to our main point. This business is not for everyone. As one golf ball recycler famously said, "It takes a special breed of cat to do this kind of work." Here’s four reasons why.
1. First, you have to be a certified, professional diver with training in first aid and dive rescue.
2. You’ve got to understand that just because you like diving the reefs off the Virgin Islands doesn’t mean you’re going to like crawling across the muddy bottom of a zero-visibility water hazard. Imagine raking through mud, broken glass and rusty golf clubs in complete blackness wondering if that round thing you just touched is a mint grade Titleist Pro V1 or a snapping turtle’s head? As one of our divers said, “You’ve got to be ready for anything. You’ve got to wear a really good pair of heavy gloves. A snake bite kit helps too.”
3. Recovering used golf balls is hard, often uncomfortable, work. Lugging around heavy equipment and 65 lb. sacks of used golf balls is routine. And doing that in Florida in a full-protective wet suit on a 99° day can really take the sap out you. Same with spending a couple hours in a pond in Michigan during October.
4. You’ve got to be legit, meaning you’ve got to work for a real, legal golf ball recycling business (like ours), or have your own signed contract with a golf course before you dive. And you’ve got to pay the course for every ball you collect. Believe it or not, there are a lot of guys out there who sneak onto courses at night and steal used golf balls (check out this Bob's Burgers clip). This is illegal and dangerous. Also a good reason to be careful where you buy your used golf balls.
So, we hope this little summary helps give you a little more insight into the glamorous world of golf ball diving. And if we didn't talk you out of it, and you're still gung ho, try Googling “golf ball diver jobs” or something similar. Good luck. We'll see you down there.