Rawhide Golf Ball Company Gives New Life to Lost Golf Balls
Regardless of how good or bad you are at the game of golf, you've no doubt sent your fair share of golf balls straight into the center of a water hazard at your favorite course, never to be seen again, or so you thought.
Among the corn fields just outside Ft. Branch, on a gravel county road off Indiana Highway 168 sits the Rawhide Golf Ball Company, a farm that doubles as a sort of heaven for thousands of golf balls left for dead in the murky lakes and ponds of area golf courses.
Founded in 1975 by golf enthusiast, Mark Schmitt, Rawhide travels the area, skimming the muddy bottoms of various water hazards, and resurrecting those balls left behind to give them a second chance at par (or in my case, another shot into the drink).
What started with scuba gear and a contract with one course nearly 40 years ago has grown to contracts with over 200 courses and an annual haul of over 1.6 million golf balls.
A purely family-run company since day one, Schmitt and his crew clean and inspect each and every golf ball by hand before sorting them by brand and repackaging them by the dozen for resale to the public at much cheaper prices than if you were to buy them new at a department or sporting goods store.
Each ball is also sorted into one of three different quality categories, with Roundup Grade being the best, followed by Prime, and finally Maverick. This eliminates the risk of customers purchasing a dozen balls only to have half of them scuffed up with blemishes from too many bounces of the cart path or parking lot.
For someone like me who shoots in the mid-to-high 90's and doesn't want to drop $50 on a dozen high end golf balls such as Bridgestone, Titleist, or Srixon knowing they're more than likely going to end up in the lake or get skipped across a cart path, Rawhide gives me the opportunity to play those brands for the same price I would pay for a new dozen of lesser quality balls.
For example, a buddy and I took a trip to Rawhide this past Saturday and I was able to get a dozen each of Calloway Hex Diablo, Bridgestone e5, Nike Crush Extreme, Srixon Q-Star Tour, and Taylor Made Burner's that would have cost me $121.92 through a popular online golf store. Instead, I paid just over $52 for those five dozen balls that have no visible marks on them at Rawhide. Even if you factor in the gas it took me to get there and back (approximately 45 minutes round trip), I still made out like a bandit. And considering I don't get the chance to play as often as I'd like, this new supply will easily last me roughly two seasons.
Unless you're a tour player, a trip to Rawhide to replenish your stash is certainly worth it. Find their complete stock list along with prices on their official website.