Another golf ball diver dead - Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

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DandyDon

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Location
One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
# of dives
500 - 999
I know that there is money in used golf balls, but there are so many ways diving for them could go wrong. I'd want an armored hazmat suit, surface supplied air with a CO alarm, and a tender I could trust.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a man was diving to retrieve golf balls out of a golf course pond and did not resurface.

A viewer sent Action News Jax photos of SJSO vehicles responding to the Lagoon Course at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club.

Action News Jax contacted SJSO about the investigation and was told the following:

“There was an individual diving to clean a pond of golf balls and the individual was found unresponsive. Fire Rescue pronounced the individual deceased. An investigation is underway.”
 
I don't know this diver, but I know 2 people that do golf ball diving/recovery in Orlando. Just like fish there are different types of quality golf balls. Some Titleist & Taylor Made recovered balls pay $2/ball. Off brands pay as little as 20 cents (range balls). And just like diving locations, you get better quality on those dive spots that others can't get to (private courses). Last year one said he didn't even get in the water due to covid shutting down the courses. Pulling up 200 - 400 balls in a day is not uncommon, but other days you get skunked with just hand full. Most ponds you can't see your gauge (air supply) and that's a top hazard. He loves bright sunshine because it lights up the balls. They usually know which ponds have a gator/wildlife, but the guys say they are generally not aggressive and can be relocated if they approach golfers looking for their ball.
 
At shallow depth, say under 20 feet, do potential lung over expansion and nitrogen bubble problems still exist?
 
At shallow depth, say under 20 feet, do potential lung over expansion and nitrogen bubble problems still exist?
Yes, you can still have lung over expansion injuries if holding your breath coming up from a shallow depth. One local incident in the Chicago area happened from 4ft deep in a pool during an OW class in the 1990s, mentioned as part of a lecture by the local chamber. A married couple had been practicing buddy breathing. When it was the wife’s turn next, the husband wouldn’t give her the reg. She stood up while holding her breath. 4ft deep.
 
I don't know this diver, but I know 2 people that do golf ball diving/recovery in Orlando. Just like fish there are different types of quality golf balls. Some Titleist & Taylor Made recovered balls pay $2/ball. Off brands pay as little as 20 cents (range balls). And just like diving locations, you get better quality on those dive spots that others can't get to (private courses). Last year one said he didn't even get in the water due to covid shutting down the courses. Pulling up 200 - 400 balls in a day is not uncommon, but other days you get skunked with just hand full. Most ponds you can't see your gauge (air supply) and that's a top hazard. He loves bright sunshine because it lights up the balls. They usually know which ponds have a gator/wildlife, but the guys say they are generally not aggressive and can be relocated if they approach golfers looking for their ball.
Imagine a simple device attached in between the hose and pressure gauge that will sound an alarm when the pressure falls down to 500 Psi. The diver presses the "snooze" button and ends his dive.
 
Aren't J-valves so cheap because they are not considered safe?
No, they are as safe as any other valve. A J valve is far safer than some electronic gizmo that may or may not work. I used Jvalves for many years, never a problem. They let you know when you are down to about 600 PSI. Professional divers in murky near zero visibility conditions use them still.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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