Bernson's Corner: The Ball Hawker of Bullitt County - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bernson's Corner: The Ball Hawker of Bullitt County

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During a recession, people try to save money. 

Take golf balls, for example -- a box of a dozen new top-quality balls can set you back up to $50.

Which is where Charlie Colvin comes to the rescue.  This Bullitt County man you're about to meet in Bernson's Corner. s teeing off on the recession through recycling -- in a most unusual way. 

Colvin says it's just or miss most days.  Neither rain nor heat nor cold nor briar patch keeps him from his quest. 

Colvin is a master hunter of the dimpled sphere, an entrepreneur of round retrieval: one of the great golf ball hawkers of our time.  "They'll try to hit a shot that they can hit one out of 100, and they'll knock it out of the woods or out of bounds or something."

Oh, Charlie plays the game too on his home course, the Crossings Club in Bullitt County.   But he's been hunting wayward golf shots since he was in the 7th grade -- that's 50 years of this.

"I'm still ball-hawkin', even when I'm playin'.  We may be drivin' the cart and I'll look up in the woods and see one 50 yards away, " Colvin says.

If you lost it -- Charlie's going to find it.

A golfer only has so long to search for a lost ball, according to the official rules of golf. Five minutes is all you have.

But Colvin has a garage full lost golf balls.  "So we're lookin' at probably 15,000 -- that's a conservative estimate, I think -- 15,000 golf balls."

Charlie washes his finds, gives them to friends by the dozen, in egg cartons.  And he sells the best ones. "I've got enough I could play golf from now 'til three people's lifetimes, and never run out of golf balls," he says.

Into weeds. Or woods. Or water.  Wherever golfers spray their shots... Charlie's hard at work.  He may pull out his 18-foot-long ball retriever.  Now, there are hazards for a ball-hawker like briars, bees and  poison ivy and Charlie's least favorite—snakes.

But he says, " somethin' I always do, I always keep a club with me, just in case, because you never know when you're gonna see a varmint."

No one knows how many golf balls are lost in the world each year, though in the United States the total is estimated at 300 million.  One could look at a lost ball as a metaphor for life: we are all lost in high weeds, waiting to be found.  But Charlie Colvin doesn't think about that.  He simply goes where the rest of us fear to tread, taking pleasure in our pain. 

Colvin says his motivation is simple, "'Cause you never know what kind of ball it's going to be, it may be a good one -- or one that somebody knocked in the water 'cause they didn't want it any more.  That has stuck with me all these years -- I just enjoy ball-hawkin'."

From Bullitt County, Barry Bernson, Fox41 News.

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