Making Money From Golfer Mistakes, A Pickford Teacher’s Unique Underwater Summer Job

A scuba diver on a golf course is certainly not something you see every day,

This summer an Upper Peninsula man is diving into water hazards to recover lost golf balls. He has turned it into a pretty lucrative business.

9&10’s Aaron Parseghian and photojournalist Harrison Light caught up with him in Sault Ste. Marie to learn more about his unique side job.

Many Northern Michigan golfers understand the frustration of hitting their ball into the water, but for one Pickford High School Mathematics teacher it’s something he looks forward to.

“Anytime you have a pond in front of the green, it’s kind of a goldmine,” said Labrador Ball Retrieval Owner Vince Leveille.

Leveille turns golfer’s mistakes into money. He scuba dives to collect golf balls at courses in the UP.

“I collect typically in a day, 1,000 to 2,000 balls. I’ve kind of been looking for something to do in the summer to supplement my income. My wife and I said Hey let’s try this,” explained Leveille.

He finds balls that were left to drown, cleans them up and sells them to both courses and back to the golfers.

 “A lot of golfers appreciate the opportunity to buy low-priced balls and don’t mind that they have been previously used. They look practically like new,” said General Manager of Tanglewood Marsh Golf Course Scott Shackleton.  

Vince says he’s one of the few to do this here in northern Michigan.

“It’s a small niche, not too many people are willing to get in that pond with the snakes and turtles and the mud and the muck,” said Leveille.

A man in scuba gear is quite the surprise for golfers trying to make par.

“A person asked me this morning, how many do you find? I said about a thousand, he said, well you got about a thousand-and-one now cause I just put one in there,” joked Leveille. 

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