Golf as a pastime has intrigued, challenged and confounded men and women alike since it first appeared in Scotland. Sometime during the Middle Ages it became an aristocratic pursuit. Not surprisingly few ‘duffers’ develop enviable skills and plenty of well-intended golf balls go astray often landing in what would normally be termed ‘irretrievable circumstance’. That is: irretrievable to all but the very few! Many intrepid entrepreneurs have discovered recovering these errant items is filled with profit and adventure!
The sixty footer
The company I was contracting for had warned me that the lakes on this course were a little darker and deeper than most, since they had made the lakes from the sand dredging process for the construction of the surrounding retirement community. I arrive at the course a little apprehensive since I had never dove for balls in extremely deep lakes. I entered my first lake, it wasn’t so bad only fifteen foot deep or so. The water was very dark like I was warned. The lake was also full of many sharp and jagged rocks, so I had to move slowly. On a scale of one to ten the course was a nine in terms of nasty inhospitable water. But that’s OK since I had been in black obstacle full ponds many times before. I finished my first dive realizing that this wasn’t going to be such a challenging creepy day after all.
The second lake I arrive at is a par three shoot across, should be just full of balls due to the size of the water in between the tees and the flag, no matter which way they missed they would hit the water. I climbed into the lake, to my surprise the visibility was great! for a golf pond anyway. I could see a long relatively steep sloping edge full of boulders large rocks and debris scattered around. I figured wow this isn’t a bad lake at all good visibility etc.. I decided to first work the top edge clambering around the boulders, there were many balls, a great top edge to say the least. Within a ten minutes or so I had already filled a bag of eight hundred balls off of the top edge. So I figured if the top edge is this good the bottom edge must be incredible. As I crawled down the edge I noticed it looked very black the closer I got to where I thought the bottom edge was. The water was already around twenty foot deep by this point. Now this was creepy as I got closer and closer to the black area I realized it was black because the edge just dropped straight off in a vertical manner. I climbed out as far as I could go without falling down looking down trying to gauge just how deep this thing was! I dropped a golf ball and watched it fall…it just disappeared after a few seconds. Now this started to not be fun, I was looking into what looked like a bottomless pit from hell. I crawled all along the edge of the togel 36 drop off trying to see if maybe it was just that spot, maybe there was some way to descend this thing without just taking a leap. No such luck it was a straight drop all around! I knew that if I didn’t go down this thing I would loose so much money because of the amount of balls that would be down there. So I decided to take the leap jumping off the edge, I mean how deep could this actually be its a golf pond! I pushed off hard from the edge so I wouldn’t hit the wall on the way down. First of all I could see then it got blacker, then pitch black. The water got colder and colder as I fell into the abyss, I fell for at least thirty seconds, it felt like hours! I crashed into the muddy bottom, sitting there motionless for a few seconds to catch myself. Time for a quick check, just as I thought there were thousands of golf balls all around me. Next step I needed to find the wall of this thing so I knew where the edge was and didn’t get lost in the middle. As deep as this hell pond was, i knew my air would go very quickly and an emergency inflate ascent would be very dangerous. I could get bent or embolise my lungs. This was not a fun place to be. Feeling all around me without moving anywhere I looked for the wall. It turns out I landed pretty close and it was a few feet off to my side. Good I decided to keep one hand touching the wall at all times so I didn’t loose it, also moving slowly was a good idea. As I went along i piled golf balls into my apron, it was filling very quickly. Then all of a sudden my head hit something above it. I stopped, feeling above me, I realized I was actually under an overhang! Great now I know I have who knows how many tons of loose rock hanging over my entire body. I felt my way out to the edge of the over hang it went out three feet or so, i was three feet into this thing. If it should come loose or collapse I would never get out. That was it for me! No amount of money was worth playing around in a pond as hazardous as this one. so I sat in one spot reached all around me until my apron was full. I had been down at the bottom for around fifteen minutes now, figured at this depth my air would be getting pretty lean. Now the next problem how do I get up to the top of this thing! Not only do I have all my gear on but a huge bag of nine hundred or so balls around my neck. I decided to climb it, hike my way back up. This wall was truly vertical, this was going to be tough! I stood up next to the wall grabbing at some rocks jutting out of the wall pulling myself up onto it, I made it up about ten feet then the rock I grabbed broke loose in my hand and I fell down backwards all the way to the bottom. Now I am getting a little worried. I start again but within a few minutes I fall back down. Sitting on the bottom I ponder the best way to get up this wall, should I inflate and just hope for the best? what should I do. I don’t have much time as my air is already getting lean. You know this when the air comes out of the second stage a little harder than before. After thinking for a minute or so I come up with something that should work. If I inflate my BCD so that I am just buoyant enough to rise slowly then I could use the wall as a way to keep my ascent slow enough so it wouldn’t be dangerous. I inflated to where I was slowly starting to rise, I grabbed the wall slowing myself. I kept changing grips along the wall keeping myself rising slowly. After about six minutes of this, looking up I could see the start of the middle edge. Relieved I climbed up onto the middle edge. Releasing the air from my BCD once I was safely on top so I wouldn’t rise any more. I climbed up the edge until I was in around fifteen feet of water. remembering my dive training, I stopped and just sat at this depth for around five minutes to decompress. This is called a safety stop, you do this to prevent getting the bends. By stopping in around fifteen foot of water you can gas off or allow the nitrogen build up in your body to dissipate. Since I had no idea how deep I was down, I figured this was the safest thing to do. As I crawled out of the lake I looked at my pressure gauge, sure enough I only had two hundred pounds of air left! which is only a few minutes of breathing time.