Most Dangerous Job In Golf?


You may have seen the guys who dive for golf balls in the water hazards at your local club. When I see them, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to go on a golf ball dive. Josh Sens from Golf Magazine gave the story of a diver in Florida…

For a guy who doesn’t play golf — or even one who does — Wes Stanfield will go a long way for a golf ball. At the moment, he’s wading through the swampy shallows of a pond on a par 4 at Lexington Oaks Golf Club, north of Tampa, Fla., that isn’t just a hazard to players on the tee. Its chemical-laced waters, laden with bacteria that cause lockjaw, are home to snapping turtles, poisonous snakes and a feisty alligator that’s big enough to drag a man into a death roll.

Chemically-laced water? Lockjaw-inducing bacteria? Unfriendly reptiles? Doesn’t sound good so far…

Not that Stanfield can’t hold his own with gators; the last time one attacked him, he kept its head as a souvenir. (SEE IMAGE)

Now I’m picturing the stuffed alligator head from Happy Gilmore and Carl Weathers’ wooden hand…start at about 1:00

Anyway, Stanfield and other divers actually do this for a living, not as a side hobby (I can’t imagine what their insurance premiums must be). The story says that some divers make up to $100,000 a year selling to used ball retailers or as middlemen selling to refurbishers. Apparently it’s quite competitive…

“This has never been an easy business, and it’s only gotten more competitive,” says Paul Lovelace, a golf-ball diver and the owner of Golf Ball Paul’s, a retailer in Kansas City, Kan. “But those guys down there who dive in that mucky, nasty water with the gators? Those guys are absolutely nuts.”

The story also discusses deaths and some of the darker side of the used ball market. Interesting to note that author of the story, Josh Sens, asked a Titleist representative about the used ball market, the representative declined to comment. I suppose it’s not surprising when a dozen brand new ProV-1s retail for about $45 while a dozen used balls of the same model sell for about half that. Check out the full story here:

Diving for used golf balls: the most dangerous job in golf


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