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Golf Balls & Water Hazards: Time to DIVE! (Interesting Facts)

The Author: NMBG Staff
Published: May 3rd, 2013
Last Updated: October 5th, 2022
Lost $'s and Lost Shots

You’d be surprised how many balls are at the bottom of a difficult water hazard.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the golf balls that you hit into the water hazards on golf courses?  They aren’t left there!  If you buy refurbished balls, you might be buying the ones you sunk into that par 5 a few months ago!


How Many Golf Balls We Talkin’ Here?

To start this process, let’s break down how many golf balls could possibly be out there.

Here in the Myrtle Beach area, in 2012, courses along the Grand Strand totaled over 1.7 million paid rounds of golf.

**This figure does not include free rounds,  replay rounds, or tournament rounds**  So it is safe to say that close to 2.5 million rounds were played along the Grand Strand in 2012.  Out of all of those rounds, on average, each golfer tends to lose 6 golf balls per round.  And out of those 6 balls 75% percent end up in water hazards.

This gives us a possibility of 10 million golf balls lost to water hazards per year here in Myrtle Beach.

The first thing that pops into my mind is the number of penalty strokes.  No wonder the average golf score is a 100.  I also wonder how many balls are sunk around The Gambler hole at Kings North.

But the question still remains, where do all the balls go?  Here are a few possibilities…


Alright, So What DOES Happen to Them? GatorFood?

Collecting Myrtle's Beaches lost Golf Treasures

If you play late in the afternoon, you can find the occasional homeowner that lives on the golf course “ball hawking” the  pond’s edges to find hidden treasures.

Depending on where the course is located, the muddy marsh areas can swallow golf balls as fast as well.

But the majority of the golf balls get rescued by divers.  Alan Simpson has one of the largest companies here in Myrtle
Beach for this purpose.  He has divers that go out everyday on our wonderful Myrtle Beach courses to scour the ponds.  Once collected, he groups the balls by many different criteria such as brand and condition .  He then cleans and washes them and either gives some of  them back to the golf course as payment for letting him treasure hunt their ponds, or he resales them to local business that then turn around and re-sell them to the golfer as refurbished balls.


A New Found Respect for Divers, then!

But lets get back to the divers for a minute.  These guys to me are kamikazes!  They go into these murky ponds searching for golf balls at the same time swimming with snapping turtles, poisonous snakes, and large alligators. (Yes, they all chill out in the Myrtle Beach area.)   I am not sure if these guys get paid well, but I sure hope they get health insurance.  After speaking with a few of the divers, they tell me that the alligators usually leave them alone or just come up and nudge them while they are swimming.  This is one job I will never have to put on my resume.  I will leave this one for the professionals.


One Response to “Golf Balls & Water Hazards: Time to DIVE! (Interesting Facts)”

  1. Ray Says:

    Thats a lot of balls! I definitely would not be swimming with gators just to collect them up.