Equipped with professionally trained divers who meet commercial scuba standards, the North Florida Golf Ball Company is a local  company that has served the Northeast Florida area for the past 20 years. How do you know them? Every year at TPC Sawgrass, they are the group tasked to retrieve golf balls from the water hazards on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course.

North Florida Golf Ball Company, the official underwater golf ball retrieval company for TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS, has collected more than 800,000 golf balls each year. At the Stadium Course, a majority of those balls find the water surrounding the 17th green.

“Learning how to recover the greatest quantity of balls in the least amount of time (is the key to our success). You need to be able to visualize the bottom and avoid covering the same place twice,” said Scott Evans, vice president of North Florida Golf Ball Company.

The company operates with crew members from as far south as Orlando to as far north as the Atlanta area. For the tournament, most of the work is done before and after the championship. The crew is passionate about their field as well as being outdoors.

“The most notable memory was being able to retrieve a club that was lost in a pond. The club was a gift from the golfer’s father who had passed away several years earlier. Although the club wasn’t very expensive, it had sentimental meaning to the golfer,” said Evans.

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Naturally, with shows like “The Turtle Man” and “Man vs. Wild,” one would assume that this type of work has a sense of natural thrill and some safety concerns.

“Due to the nature of the work, hazardous wildlife is quite common. Unlike the courses up north, Florida has many alligators that are quite happy living among golfers in the water hazards,” said Evans. “Experience and patience helps ensure our safety.”

Not only does the company retrieve golf balls from the tournament, but they also turn the balls into creatively engineered works of art. All of the gathered golf balls are processed, sorted, packaged and then put on the golfgearusa.com and sold wholesale to clients worldwide.

“The cufflinks are very cool,” said Evans, adding the company ships a few thousand golf balls each year to the troops overseas and supports charities including Wishes and More, The First Tee and the National MS Society.