Golf Ball Diving Is Big Business

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those golf balls that amateur golfers whack into the lakes of golf courses? Needless to say, somebody has to retrieve them and those folks are called golf ball divers. It takes a special breed to do that kind of work. First, you have to be a certified, professional diver with training in first aid and dive rescue. Recovering used golf balls is hard work. Lugging around heavy equipment and 65-pound sacks of used golf balls is not for the faint of heart. If you happen to be a diver in Florida, you can throw in doing all that in 99ยบ temperatures. Those who choose to take up golf ball diving as a profession aren’t doing it for the exercise. The golf ball recovery business can be tremendously profitable. At least 200 million golf balls are lost each year in the U.S., with the majority being found by divers who make an annual income of $50,000 to $100,000. That might sound like a good living, but the job doesn’t come without a price. Divers routinely report being bitten by water moccasins and snapping turtles. If you happen to be a diver in Florida, the ultimate impediment to collecting used golf balls is the alligator. Golf balls aren’t the only things that divers have found. Some have reported finding things like a person sitting at the wheel of a car, handguns, golf carts, wallets, a Barbie doll, and a full-size telephone booth. As for what the job entails, a good diver can find 3,000 balls per day and are paid an average of 7¢ to 10¢ per ball.