Over the past five years, four-legged scholar Marlowe has scurried through the woods and tall grasses of local courses to help owner Charles Jefferson collect more than 6,000 golf balls left by stray shooters.
Admittedly more of a hunter than a collector, Cavapoo’s fondness for chasing balls has made him an invaluable asset in tracking foul shots. Jefferson follows Marlowe’s heels with empty buckets at the ready, crossing off a few balls each as a chew victim.
appreciate 300 million Golf balls are lost every year in the United States alone, and are a huge garbage problem, but also a potential source of revenue. The whole retrieval industry sees contractors all over the world foraging timber – Even the lakes From courses, with a UK-based golf ball diving company, expect that up to £100,000 (about US$114,000) per year can be earned by those who want to take a dive.
Retailing at £4 (US$4.50) per live ball, the Titleist Pro V1 is the collector’s pinnacle prize, with excellent condition saving up to £3 (about $3.40) in resale value.
As a huge amateur golfer for more than four decades and a former European Tour employee, none of this was lost on Jefferson. Imagine his surprise then, when the first time he took the newest addition to the family for a spin around his local links course, he watched the pup come out of the bush with a mint condition Pro V1 between his jaws.
Since then, these treasures have become a surprisingly routine find on the duo’s weekly evening trips to Mitcham Golf Club and Wimbledon Common Golf Club. However, other than selling the 600 Pro V1 to friends – to sell it to other club members – for around £300 (about $340), Jefferson never had any interest in profiting from Marlowe’s discoveries.
“I didn’t plan to go, ‘Uh, I’m going to make a little business out of this,'” the 52-year-old told CNN.
“Growing up, owning golf balls has always been a luxury, and losing a lot of golf balls too, being the type of golfer who hits the ball far… For me, I see a lot of value in that.
“I see partly as a service, picking up a lot of rubbish, and partly for myself – I will never buy a golf ball again.”
The 300-plus Pro V1 stacked in the staircase of Jefferson’s house is proof of that, although now he’s limiting his rangers to the latest premium finds and has given bucket loads to local charity stores.
The rest of his finds, about 3,000 balls, were left on the field, sprinkled around the tees in the form of “Easter eggs” for golfers to discover the next morning.
Although that could dilute his personal supply, Jefferson is eager to see golfers take more care of using as few balls as possible during the rounds.
“It’s a reflection of our runaway society, and our lack of focus,” he said. “People hit a ball and immediately talking to their comrades, they didn’t keep track of where their ball went.
“I just feel like there’s a lack of attention going on – people are almost expecting it [playing] The partner will find it for them.”
Jefferson’s glutted tales of golf balls have long been a joke among his colleagues at 160over90, the branding agency where he works. So when a project to promote a ball-collecting container came up on the DP World Tour, all eyes turned to Jefferson.
Weighing in at 12 tons when full, the repurposed 20-foot shipping container has been steadily filled with balls donated at various Tour events over the course of the season — 40,000 balls so far.
After their sixth and final appearance at the UAE DP World Championships in November, the balls will be redistributed to five international golf recipients: the Kenya Junior Golf Foundation, the South African Disabled Golf Association, the European Disabled Golf Federation and the UAE Stick Pitching Team. and the Indian Golf Corporation.
At the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth, London, in September, Jefferson and Marlowe dropped 600 of their finds to make an impressive impact in the container’s 200,000-ball capacity.
“I felt like this was way better than sending it to our local charity store, and there was a guy coming in and picking up a shipment of balls,” Jefferson said.
“If there was a way to offer more, I would, because there are a lot of grassroots communities around the world that could benefit from inappropriate golf balls.”