|By Tim Trower, Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
It might not have been relegated to a watery grave.
It might just be resting, waiting for
There are a lot of golfers out there capable of hitting bad shots.
"Thank goodness, or we wouldn't be around," said
It doesn't look like the company is headed for a downturn anytime soon. It contracts out to divers all over the country and annually processes about 45 million golf balls, said Wall.
The company has 2,800 golf course clients in 44 states. About 65 of them are in
Margison is one of 19 contractors used by the company. His diving business is in
Margison recently visited RVCC and made a substantial haul: He pulled 21,000 balls from the various ponds, along with a few other items.
LostGolfBalls.com sends the divers in at no cost to the course, then buys the balls it retrieves. In this case, it was about nickel a ball, and RVCC made
"I like it," said
Normally, he said, the grounds crew spends money.
"I'm actually able to hand over a check, so it's kind of nice," said Hilty.
"It's pretty seamless," he said. "You just have to set up a day or morning for them to come and fish them out. Several weeks later, we receive a check."
The balls are sent to
The company has done extensive research, according to data on its website, to show that the performance of its top golf balls, rated 5A and 4A, is not compromised because they spent time in water.
They lose their luster, he said, which can be restored, "but performance is really not affected until they're in there 10 years," he said.
Cooler temperatures, such as in the
For the divers, it's a fairly basic process. Margison does as much diving as he can but also hires others. He dons his scuba gear, hooks up to a surface air compressor and gets in the water, hand picking the balls as he goes.
"Most of it is black-water diving," he said. "There's zero visibility. If the water is clear, as soon as you go digging around in the mud, you can't see anything."
Some courses can be done in half a day, some might take two or three days.
A number of things determine how many balls are retrieved. Some ponds, like the big ones at