Deceptively Dangerous Diving
Diving for golf balls exposes entrepreneurs to hidden peril.
Most people head to the golf course for a day of relaxation or competition, but golf ball divers Jarrett Cornell and Cody Allen were at Arrowhead Golf Course in Naples last Thursday to get a job done.
"It's a really weird job," said Allen.
While everyone else is in shorts, the 20-year-olds suit up in scuba gear and head out to the water.
They swim through murky waters to find all of the golf balls that didn't quite make it to their intended targets.
"We'll sit here and watch people tee off and were kind of like, ‘Water, water, water,' you know? So it's kind of like every golf ball we see go in water, it's a couple more pennies were going to make," Cornell said.
Equipped with oxygen tanks and masks, the golf ball divers say they don't mind the goofy gear as long as they find what they're looking for.
To do that, they swim through the unknown.
"The deep water is probably my biggest thing. We got courses that get 30-feet deep in pitch black - it's scary," Allen said.
In just 20 minutes Thursday, the pair came out with two bags full of balls, which they turn around and sell for 8-cents each.
The Arrowhead course has 20 ponds filled with golf balls.
In just a couple of days, divers collected 50,000 and then refurbished, resold them and made good money.
But the job can be dangerous.
"All of a sudden you just can't breathe first thing you do is panic so that's what I did," Cornell said.
Each day they risk running out of air or bumping into alligators, snakes and even fish.
"The fish are kind of scary. Tilapia are bad. They feel like they're going 100 mph when they hit you and it startles you because you're all calm and all of a sudden you get slammed," Cornell said.
Whether its fearlessness or foolishness, the duo says diving is worth it - especially if someone's got your back.
"It feels a lot better knowing someone's there," Allen said.