Golf Ball Recovery Services

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Wells, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    In the last issue of Grounds Maintenance there was a story on golf ball recovery services. Is anybody on this board currently providing this service or know of somebody doing it? If so how has it worked out and is there much of a demand for the service?

    Sounds like it could be some easy money for not much work. You dive the ponds every few weeks in the evenings after the golfers have left, pull out the golf balls, clean them up and give them back to the golf course to re-sell for a buck a ball. They take 50% and you take 50%.

    I wouldn't think you could get rich off of it but it would generate some income. The Grounds Maintenance article stated that one golf ball recovery service in New York recovered 20,000 balls on a 18 hole course over one year. At a buck a ball that would be $10,000 in your pocket and $10,000 for the golf course.

    I think I'm interested in testing the market and seeing if theirs a need for this type of service here. What are you thoughts?
  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    nothing like diving into a nice pond full of canadian geese crap to recover a few golf balls :D

    in all seriousness im sure not many people have tapped that market and you are right, im sure theres some coin in it. i know at the local course here ive seen a diver in one of the ponds a few times scrounging for balls.
  3. JCW-G

    JCW-G LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    About 10 or 15 years ago here in upstate New York,two college students needed to make some easy money during their summer break.They went to afew local golf clubs and asked if they the ponds cleaned of balls,the managers were more than happy to let them swim the ponds but,not before they had insurance to cover them if anything should happen while working for the club.To make a long story short,they went and got insurance and had a contract with the club to be paid 35 cents for each ball. They found 11,000 balls but after sitting in water for so long,only about 2,000 were still good.
  4. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    Not to long ago I watched a Discovery Channel show called 'Dirty Jobs'. This exact service was featured on the show. :blob3:
  5. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I saw a story about a guy on 60 mins about golf ball recovery
  6. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    When I was running a golf course back in the 80's, we hired companies to remove balls from our ponds. One guy used scuba gear, but after several encounters with large snapping turtles, he got out of the business. Another Co., man & wife team, had a conveyor-type contraption that ran between 2 utility carts. This was pretty effective, but slow, and they didn't get wet. They kept half the balls, we got the other half. Of our half, only around 50% - 60% were good enough for resale ($.50 each back then), but since we also had a driving range, the rest were used for rentals.
  7. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,852

    many of our local courses have used them for years. don't know about now, but for a while, it was a fairly large internet business to resell them.

    it is dangerous work, however. besides turtles to deal with, there is the errant tee shot to deal with. just ask the guy i worm-burnered from 150 yds with a driver. got him towards the top of the head, and the only thing that saved him was his helmet. much like lawncare, odds are ya gotta do it during the day.
  8. ZaK18

    ZaK18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

    Back in the day, I used to recover golf balls for a driving range located along a river. I would gather the ball in the grass along the water and the balls in the real shallow water( never go diving) They would pay ten cents a ball. Every day I would get about 150-200. not a bad business when your 13 :cool2:
  9. lx665

    lx665 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    I met a guy who did golf ball recovery in Hilton Head. He brought up a point that made me think twice about golf ball recovery. On a golf course where do you think all the chemicals run off? A fair amount goes in the ponds and lakes. He starting diving in a dry suit due to exposers problems. His ears were developing sores inside related to chemical exposer. Something to think about.

  10. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,487

    Snapping turtles, snakes, goose terds, chemical run-off, cost of insurance, and equipment? No thanks. I have chacked into buying my own dive gear. It's very expensive. Unless you already have the dive gear and certifications to use it, I wouldn't suggest getting into it.

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