Sunday, March 19, 2006

Scrimpin For Golf Balls

In one of my previous posts I talked about me and my brother selling used golf balls to golfers on the weekends, but what I didn't mention is how we turned it into a small used golf ball business. We initially started out selling the used golf balls that would come over the fence surrounding the golf course. We then took it to the next level and decided to go where the real money was... in the lakes inside the golf course. Of course this was something that had to be done at night because we knew the golf course wouldn't approve of us taking a dip in their lakes during the day to get the experienced golf balls.

I still remember my first experience going into the lake at Meadowlark Golf Course in Huntington Beach. We wore our two piece wetsuits to keep us warm because the water and air at night was pretty cold. The bottom of the golf course lake was slimy with the mud oozing between my toes and there where crawdads as well. We made up a name for what we were doing called scrimpin. Scrimpin to us was crouching down and feeling with your hands and feet for the used golf balls along the banks under the water. We'd stuff them into the long tube socks we'd bring to carry the golf balls in.

Now there were a couple of hazards in scrimping; 1) the crawdads where very protective of the banks and now then you'd get pinched on your hand or foot. I sometimes wondered if they were protecting the used golf balls as well; 2) while scrimping we were always freaked out by what could be in the lake and we were always on the look out for "The Creature From The Black Lagoon." You know how kids are with their imaginations; and; 3) the golf course maintenance guys would occasionally come by the lake. This required us to take drastic measures. We would have to go under the water and hold our breath until they went by. Let me tell you... that water was pretty disgusting and I'm surprised we didn't get sick from it.

On a good night we would get about 60 experienced golf balls of which half were good enough to sell back to the golfers. We'd go 2 or 3 times during the week and clean them up Friday night so we'd be ready for Saturday and Sunday mornings at the golf course. We asked the neighbors to keep their empty egg cartons and give them to us. We used these as a way to present and sell a dozen of the used golf balls at a time with each dozen being of one brand like Titleist, MaxFli, Topflite, etc... A dozen golf balls would sell for $6 and we'd typically have 6 to 10 dozen for sale. So on a good weekend we could make $30 a piece, which made us feel rich having that kind of money in our pocket.

After about six months of scrimpin we decided that there had to be a better way to get the golf balls out of the lakes. And sure enough we found a better way and created an ingenious device that would do just that. My next post I'll describe in detail how me and my brother could have made millions with this device.

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