There are golfers who turn their sport into a profession. Three of them we will introduce.
Submerged: In search of the “White Gold”
Golf ball diver Sascha Kruse developed a taste for golf at an early age when it came to choosing a career “Even 25 years ago, as a small boy, I noticed that an incredible number of balls land in water on golf courses. After I fished my first two balls out of the water, the hunter-gatherer in me came to the surface”, the man from Lentföhrden says. In 2003, Kruse completed a diving training course especially to be able to recover the “white gold” professionally. Nevertheless, this is not an easy undertaking: The visibility in the water hazards is usually very hazy, so that the balls cannot be seen. Kruse often has to grope his way through the pond with his hands.
From March to the beginning of November Kruse is out and about in the waters of northern German golf courses. “I feel like the Iceman there,” says the diver. “He also has to make sure that he earns his money in summer. In winter nobody wants to see him.” The treasure hunter sells the found objects as used goods in his online shop and thus helps his customers to get cheap balls. But Kruse has already pulled not only golf balls, but also key rings, smartphones and even a – unfortunately empty – cash register out of the water. Could he imagine doing another job at all? “As long as no one invents the unsinkable golf ball, I’m dying to stay in the business.”
Colourful pictures make life easier for golfers
Felix Espermüller and his colleagues have dedicated themselves to the golf ball in a completely different way. For the Munich-based company, their business idea “Sign your flight” is a matter close to their hearts, which they pursue in parallel to their job in an advertising agency. Their target group are golfers who are tired of guessing over and over again which ball now belongs to them. Espermüller finds a remedy for the problem with the white uniform look: “Sign your flight” produces and distributes golf ball tattoos – wafer-thin, colourful stickers that serve to mark and identify golf balls. “The basic idea was born three years ago on the golf course when another one of my balls was lost,” says Espermüller. “Then we spent three years working on the project alongside our main jobs. And since 2013 it has been working! Finally we found our secret mixture of varnish, glue and paint: The tattoos stick reliably and do not soften even in the rain. And they can be applied to the ball without any tools – just stick them on and off you go.” In the future, the creative mind would like to launch a new collection every year and thus provide even more colour in golf.
The art of blacksmithing in perfection: The legend from Japan
A true master of golf clubs is Katsuhiro Miura from Japan. Miura forges golf clubs in his factory in the Japanese city of Hirneji – known for centuries for the production of samurai swords. He is supported by his sons Yoshitaka and Shinei, who were trained by him. His career began in the 1950s: “As a young man I had the opportunity to work in a golf manufactory. The process of manufacturing fascinated me enormously and that’s how my interest in the art of golf-club forging was founded,” says Katsuhiro Miura. Over the years Miura perfected his art. He uses special forging techniques in several steps to ensure that the steel of each club is fine-grained and even, without cavities or small bubbles. Especially pros appreciate this precision. Even players of the US PGA and European Tour are said to play the legendary irons. Miura keeps the names of the famous players confidential.
What does the famous racquetsmith particularly appreciate about his work? “In the course of my work, I come together with people of different ages and playing abilities,” says Miura. And then, of course, there are the special aspects of his work: “At the moment I’m working on a unique racket. It is made of the same material as the famous Japanese swords, the katanas. It’s really difficult, but thanks to my past experiences and various failures, I’ve now found a way to make a racket out of this material.
Vita of the golf experts:
Katsuhiro Miura started making golf clubs in 1957. In 1994 Miura Golf Inc. was founded with Katsuhiro Miura as the largest single shareholder at that time. The special Miura forging and manufacturing process guarantees the consistency of the properties and has earned the Japanese blacksmith the nickname “The Hand of God”.
Sascha Kruse is a trained diver and has been searching for golf balls from water obstacles for several golf clubs in the area of Northern Germany since 2003. He sells the balls in his online shop for a fraction of the original price.
Felix Espermüller studied communication design. In 1997 he went into business for himself with two other partners and founded the advertising agency Spleen Advertising in Munich. In 2012 he founded the company Sign Your Flight with two partners and is responsible for product development, creative implementation and communication.