Golf Ball Divers Alliance
There are hundreds of independent divers working across America retrieving and reselling the millions of golf balls lost each year in the lakes and ponds of the country’s golf courses. This industry was described by Golf.com in 2013 as one transitioning from “golf’s black market margins into the multi-million-dollar mainstream.” Formally the sole purview of independent divers who sold balls at flea markets, local stores and golf shows, it has now become the province of large commercial interests. The industry’s largest company currently sells over 50 million used balls each year on-line and at retail. The scale of these enterprises and their growing control of access to used ball re-sellers and buyers has marginalized the divers doing the hard and often dangerous retrieval work, squeezing the price they get per ball.
The idea for a cooperative of these independent divers was brought to CMG by one of the divers. Called the Golf Ball Divers Alliance, the co-op’s mission is to use the collective resources and buying power of the group to improve the financial well-being and quality of life of its members, their families and communities. This co-op takes the form of a “marketing” or “producer” cooperative – an association of the producers of a particular type of product – in this case recycled golf balls – who voluntarily work together to pool their production for sale, and then market and distribute it through the cooperative. View their e-commerce site at golfballdivers.com.