Diving In

During our years in the Wisconsin town, we belonged to the local country club there.  Our older kids could ride their bikes over to swim or play tennis. Handsome Son became a very good golfer in that period, but even the best golfer sometimes loses balls, especially when there is water involved.  Dearly Beloved has confirmed that… many times.

One of the golf holes required hitting over a large lake to reach the green and it sucked in golf balls unless they were hit perfectly.  That summer,  Son lost many golf balls before he was able to knock it over the scummy water.  Since he paid for his own golf balls after a certain point, he found this to be a revolting development.  One day, down to his last ball,  he dove into the water to see if he could find enough to finish the round. He discovered a sunken treasure of golf balls down there.

Always the entrepreneur,  he thought this held promise and by the next day, he and a friend were deciding how to go after more of the balls in a big way.  They realized they’d need something to hold all the balls as they retrieved them.  It had to be sieve-like, since  they needed both hands free for swimming and gathering, so it took some thinking to find a solution.

They each put on an old pair of my pantyhose and as they collected the balls, they would stuff them down the pantyhose until they ran out of room, surfacing as necessary.

When they finally came up with the haul, they looked absolutely grotesque.  The pantyhose bulged, bubble-wrap style, with golf balls.  The flesh color of the pantyhose and the white golf balls seemed frighteningly realistic, as if large tumors covered their lower bodies.   Pond scum and algae dripped from their hair.  The Creature from the Black Lagoon would have been terrified.  The only time I saw Son emerging from a dive, I thought that he’d had a tragic allergic reaction to something beneath the surface.

Although it began as a one-time dive,  they found literally hundreds and hundreds of balls, so they kept going back to the underwater treasure trove.  Buckets of golf balls lined our garage.  Soon,  golfers began calling to see if they’d sell some of them. Thus began a most lucrative business that continued until the club pro decided the boys were putting a sizable dent in his ball sales. Nevertheless, they had a supply which lasted for years.

Now, here at the beach-house-not-on-the-beach,  we live in a neighborhood with two golf courses.   Most of the golfers are retired and play every day, year-round.

This afternoon we went for a short ride and noticed a guy in a wet suit standing by one of the course ponds.    It was cloudy and 50 degrees–not a day for studying aquatic life.

Bad picture, but I couldn’t tell what he was doing anyway.  I got out of the car to see.

Golf balls!  This was only part of his haul from the water.  He pointed to another full bag, near the pond edge.  His diving bag looked much easier to use than pantyhose.

The guy had created a business, diving for golf balls.  There are at least a dozen ponds on the golf courses here and dozens more golf courses with water hazards  in the surrounding area.  Imagine how many balls he’s going to find! Handsome Son was on a career path all those years ago and didn’t know it.  I’ll have to tell him that if he tires of the business world, he can jump in the lake.

I guess this proves that the old adage is true:


When I die, bury me on the  golf course, so my husband will visit. – Anonymous


12 thoughts on “Diving In

  1. Birdie

    In Florida, there are commercial enterprises who contract out divers to brave the alligators in the many lagoons that dot Florida golf courses.
    I will never forget the first time I saw a scuba diver emerge from the lagoon near our house. I had seen a large gator on the other bank earlier and was sure this person was suicidal. After he surfaced and climbed on the bank, he pulled a large net bag up, much like the ones used for oranges only larger, and it was full of the little white ones. ( The clubs receive some of the balls back and the diver retains some I believe.) I went over and asked him about the gator, and he said he had seen that one and “kept an eye on him” while he swam along the bottom. Riiight.

  2. cw

    If you hadn’t put annonymous by that quote I would have bet all the golf balls in my house that it was a MerrilyMaryLee Original!!! lololol…..:):) Thanks once again for bringing on the smiles!:):)

  3. Being from Florida, I was thinking what Birdie said. Pretty sure he was safe in Wisconsin. Panty hose was a unique solution. The boys really had to be secure in their manhood.
    Love original thinkers.

  4. This is too funny! We live in a golf community and I’m continually amazed where “golfers lose their balls.” (Pssst – did you know WordPress featured you today on their Freshly Pressed page? Yay YOU!)

  5. I am loving the new look of your blog!

    This is yet another hilarious entry. I so wish you had a picture of Handsome Son. But your description is vivid enough I feel I could SEE him. LOL. Love the epitaph at the end.

  6. Not surprising at all that a son of your would be so clever. While we don’t have anyone buried on our course (that I know of), there are plenty of cremains scattered about. I think all of them are men, but the wife idea is a good one.

  7. unabridgedgirl

    Holy golf balls!!

    And your description of your son coming out of the water is hilarious.

    I didn’t realize how many balls can be lost in a game of golf. Then again, I can barely swing the club.

  8. You know what made me smile most about this post? Is that diving for golf balls in Florida is an almost guarantee to visit up close and personal with an alligator.

    My husband cusses for a week after a game of golf and more than a few of his balls are at the bottom of the lake.

  9. Chad MacQueen

    I am the diver in the pictures and I was wearing a drysuit at that time because the water was still pretty cold and I stay in the water for long peroids at a time. I covered most of N.C. and a little bit of S.C.,V.A.,G.A., and T.N. I don’t dive for golf balls anymore but I averaged 600k balls in 7-8 months a year. It is pretty cool to see pictures of myself.

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