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The life journey of a golf ball: a story of revival

Craig Stewart is in the golf ball recovery business. He dives in golf course ponds and retrieves balls for resale.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It's time to give new life to the wayward golf balls of the world. Craig Stewart makes a business of doing just that. He dives for balls in golf course ponds and then sells those "experienced balls" in his "Your Golf Ball Shop" in Virginia Beach.

As he explains, it's a simple concept, "The idea is to save the golfers some money, make the game a little cheaper."

Stewart is from South Africa and was conscripted into the military. He talked his way out of the Army, "I joined the Navy so I didn't have to go shoot anybody and they trained me as a diver."

With that he started a career, "I dived in South Africa commercially and I dived for diamonds on the west coast of Africa."

Conditions were not the best, "It was South Africa in apartheid South Africa back in the 70's and 80's and it was bad news. It looked like the plane was going to fly into the mountain."

So, there was a course change. He headed to the states and eventually found his way into the golf ball recovery business. 

He says it's not so treacherous but, "There's turtles. You get leeches on you. catfish, the spines, they'll like jerk." Also, while in Hilton Head diving, he got bumped by male alligators during mating season. He says that was better than being bitten.

Were you wondering if there was a trick to all this? Stewart says, "I don't think so. I think you just swim to the bottom and start feeling around."

All the ball cleaning process takes place at his shop. Eventually, the balls are sorted by brand and just what kind of shape they're in. There's a huge market for this kind of thing. He's awaiting a container to ship over 250,000 balls to Germany. 

By no means is Stewart a golf pro or some kind of expert, but he did leave us with some helpful advice when hitting on a water hole, "I think you should always take one extra club and just make sure you make good contact."

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