U.S. News

Diving For White Gold

By CNBC.com Staff

Talk about enterprising. Jim Best has built a business fishing golf balls out water traps. Golfers lose an estimated 1 billion balls a year in water traps around the country. Best Balls sell about 2 million balls a year.

As Darren Rovell reports, one of the more lucrative locations is the famous 17th hole of the TPC Sawgrass golf course. An estimated 50,000 balls a year are lost there. The hole at Sawgrass is partiularly treacherous. Even the best pro players send balls into the drink. Bill Hughes, the course's general managers, says he  has seen average players lose a dozen or more balls to the six-foot deep water trap.

And we're not talking just any old ball. Because Sawgrass is such an exclusive club -- the fee is $350 a round -- the balls tend to be top shelf. Best Buy sells a packaet of balls for about 50% of their original retail price.