14 years ago, out-of-work thief Glenn Berger was struck by a crazy idea that would turn out to make him a millionaire. He decided to dive in lakes across the golf-course rich state of Florida, looking for lost golf balls. He now fishes out about 1.3 to 1.7 million balls a year, and claims to have amassed a fortune of about $15 million so far!
“I was partially unemployed and I was stealing golf balls out of a golf course lake where I lived and I realised that wasn’t the way to make money,” he said. So he started to sell the balls at a minimum of $1 each – a decision that has paid off handsomely over the years.
One of the reasons the balls fetch so much money is the risk that scouring golf course ponds involves. Berger faces loads of underwater dangers and challenges on a daily basis – he’s encountered tables, golf carts, lawn mowers, snakes, and the worst of all, alligators. He always makes sure to look carefully before leaping into a water hazard, but he still bumps into alligators sometimes. “One time I felt my arm in an alligator’s mouth,” he says. “I couldn’t see anything, but I almost flew out of the water. There was no blood, so I think the gator just mouthed me without biting down.”