Monday, July 14, 2008

Determined Scuba Divers Stir up Golf Balls Galore

Here's one way to get paid to scuba dive. Notice the part about Doug getting bitten by a small gator. Yikes!

If you thought you had tough job, try spending the day with East Coast Golf Ball Corporation where each hour brings a new set of obstacles.

"It's a challenge, some golf courses have alligators, snakes or different hazards so it makes for a pretty fun and exciting way to make a living," says Douglas Bounassi.

Bounassi takes this plunge daily hoping to capitalize on that slice or hook. It's a dirty job where face to face encounters with gators, snakes and snapping turtles are just par for the course.

"There's pieces of houses and roofs in some of these ponds," says Bounassi.

Each twist and turn uncovers something new in their quest to fill a daily quota of 2,000 golf balls per diver. That's money in the pocket when they're cleaned and resold but there's a price to pay.

"I got bit by a small gator once, I probably won't forget that," recalls James Oatley.

Hazard pay doesn't accompany these divers. Instead it's all sheer guts to get in the murky water and scoop up golfs poor shots.

"You got to work for it, you got to do things somebody else necessarily doesn't want to do," says Elead Oatley.

From clubs to a complete set, golf ball retrievers score big when it comes to their find which stretches beyond Nike or Callaway. Decades of experience has helped polish this year round business from watering holes in the Keys all the way to New Jersey.

"It's kind of like a competition with me and my dad and started off at a young age and just became a game for us almost," says Oatley.

A father and son duo working with Bounassi completes another day at the office carting off their prize catch in hand ready to tee off on a new set of terrain tomorrow.

"I get to be outdoors, I get to go scuba diving which I love to do," says Bounassi.

Ironically out of all the hazards in the water the worst according to these divers comes from flying golf balls hit off tees as they approach or exit the water.

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