Blackwater Recovery LLC

 Serving the
 Tri-State Area
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How to optimize your revenue from the recovered pond balls on your course

Added 9/30/2012

1) Shop around
2) Talk
3) Check the Count
4) Sell them yourself


Shop around 

A lot of courses feel like they have contracts with a given recovery company, but more offten than not, there is actually nothing in writing. Some course managers feel a certain loyalty to their recovery companies and loyalty in business is a good thing, but who wouldn’t want to be more loyal to a service provider who does the same job better and/or cheaper? The same goes for underwater golfball recovery companies. You’re not married to them just because they’ve been servicing your water  traps for the past ten years. Shop around, see what else is out there, maybe you’ll find someone who’s a better fit, who’s willing to pay you more or who’s generally easier to work with. And if it doesn’t work out,you still have your current provider’s number on your smart phone. It’s a strategy that I wouldn’t suggest in a marrage relationship, but I don’t think your recovery company will have a problem coming back to you after some ‘time off’.

A contract is not in the best interest of the course. I would be weary of any recovery company that requires a contract. What benefit does it offer?


I’ve met some course managers who are reluctant to share about the financial arrangments they have with the companies servicing their water traps. I understand not wanting to show your cards when there may be a negotiation in the near future, but ultimately who’s in control? You are. You’re the guy or gal that’s calling the shots. You decide who you’re going to have service your water traps. My question is this, what do you have to lose? If you’re happy with your current recovery company, and ‘Joe’s Golf,Scuba & More’ is soliciting your business, what is it going to hurt to get a number from him? See how much he’s willing to give you for your pond balls. If its not enough, tell him, the company I currently do business with pays me ‘X’, Now you have an auction on your hands. What seller doesn’t want that? Pond balls going to the highest bidder. Going once…

Remember to ask him how he’s going to know how many balls his organization recovers. If you don’t like his numbers or you just plain don’t like Joe, then you don’t have to do business with him even if he decides to offer you a higher price. You’re the one in the driver’s seat. You’re the decision maker and you’ve got nothing to lose.

Check the count 

How do you know the company servicing your water traps is offering you a competitve amount for the balls they recover?  Often times, underwater golf ball recovery companies will offer a golf pro just about any price they require on a per ball basis just to get the job. How can they do that and still make a profit? It’s easy. Who’s counting the balls? Are you relying on the recovery company to tell you how many balls they recovered? Hmm… sounds like the fox is guarding the chicken coup don’t you think?

How do I know how many golf balls there are? I can’t tell the difference between ten and fifteen thousand balls just by looking at them. That’s a good question. As a rule of thumb, a five gallon bucket filled to the brim holds 300 golf balls. When we get done collecting the balls at a course, we rinse them off the best we can with a hose and pour them into five gallon buckets, usually filling 10 buckets at a time. From there we pour the buckets into a 55 gallon barrel. Ten buckets, times five gallons each, that’s only fifty gallons of balls. Yes. It is. But it works out great, because the barrels are not so full that we have golfballs spilling everywhere and it keeps the numbers round. Every barrel is 3,000 balls. Now just count the barrels and muliply by 3,000.

If your company is offering you in the neighborhood of 10 cents a ball, you might want to keep a little closer eye on their counting process.

Sell them yourself 

Why have another middle man? We’re all business people here and it doesn’t take a genius to know that the more times any product changes hands, the higher its price gets. How does this work? Simple, you find a recovery company that is just that. A recovery company. A company that performs scuba work, not some giant golfball wholesaler who also sells antiques on ebay, but a company that offers diving services. They are your golf balls, you just need to have someone get them out of the water trap for you. Once the balls are recovered and maybe rinsed off a bit, so they don’t smell so much like dead frogs, your maintenance staff can easily bag them up in grain sacks from the feed mill. Each grain sack should hold about six hundred balls or two five gallon bucket fulls. Have them stack the bags on pallets and wrap them in plastic. They’re ready to ship.

Our maintenance staff guys don’t have time for that kind of stuff. Really? That may be the case, but I’ll let you do the math. It depends on how many balls you expect will be recovered in a given year and the quality of the recovered balls at your course. I’m not going to put a dollar figure on your catch, but lets look at it this way: If you’re selling them outright to a recovery company where they sit today, you probabaly have a number in mind to use as a starting point. Well call this number ‘X’. Granted you will have some cost upfront to pay the divers, (probably about twice ‘X’) we’ll call this number ‘Y’. Now remember X+Y equals your current recovery company’s base cost, so you’re already ahead of them because your cost at this point is ‘Y’. Now let’s just imagine for the sake of figuring, if the current recovery company is making the same amount of profit after all their expenses as you are on the balls from your course (we’re being conservative here) then we could be safe to conclude that you would double your profits by having your maintenace guys put the balls in grain sacks, stack them on pallets and ship them off. If your check last year from the recovery company was $5,000, the short calculation looks like this: is another $5000 in revenue this year worth the time it takes my maintenance staff to put the pond balls in bags and load them on pallets? I’ll leave that one up to you.