• End of the Bench
  • Posts
  • Lost Golf Balls Host Annual Beach Bash At 16th Hole Water Hazard

Lost Golf Balls Host Annual Beach Bash At 16th Hole Water Hazard

A hazardous party.

By Emily Knapp

The annual "Lost Balls" Beach Bash was hosted at Maplewood Country Club's 16th hole water hazard this weekend. Each year, the event brings in hundreds of lost balls from across Maplewood Country Club, and this year, in particular, there was a strong showing of lost golf balls from the surrounding area.

"This is my second year attending the bash," says Phil Donohue, a Callaway Chrome Soft USA TruTrack Golf Ball. "About two years ago, I was sliced into a water hazard on the 4th hole. I thought my life was over. The minute I landed on the slimy pond floor, I was welcomed by other balls who took me under their dimples and welcomed me with open arms. These balls are my family."

The annual celebration includes karaoke, a pig roast, tropical drinks, a silent auction for Families of Lost Balls, and some friendly contests like the "Slimiest Ball" competition.

"I'm trying to be the 'Slimiest Ball' three years in a row," says Maxine Michelson, a Maxfli Women's Softfli Translucent Multicolor Golf Ball. "No one's ever done it, but I have a system. Three months before the bash, I bathed myself three times a day in the dirtiest corner of the pond. Works every time."

The annual ball bash is more than just a beach hangout where friends can get together. Often, it's a reunion of loved ones who've been searching for each other for years.

"I haven't seen my wife in five years," says Brian Richards, a Volvik X Disney Mickey Golf Vivid Golf Ball, wiping tears from his eyes. "When I was overshot on the 9th hole green and slowly careened into the pond, all I could think about was how I would never see my wife again. There was no way for me to get a hold of her. Turns out she was in a water hazard at another golf course. But today, we're reunited and ready to move forward." 

While the event is built around joy and celebration, the bash also offers moments of reflection and community support. Each year, the party takes a moment to honor the lost balls that were never found, along with others who were extracted from the water hazard, never to be heard from again.

"I met my current partner in the 18th hole pond," says Jacob Granger, a Callaway Supersoft Mother's Day Golf Ball. "I thought I found the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. One day, I woke up to him being sucked out of the water. I never got to say goodbye. This annual event reminds me that my grief is valid and I'm not alone. I have a community who'll support me through this difficult time."

The beach bash also hosts a fundraiser for Families of Lost Balls to help support community members who've lost loved ones.

As the event wound down, many of the balls were found hugging and holding hands. Many promised to come again next year to see their new friends. Others slowly rolled away with their partners, spouses, and families, ecstatic to be reunited at last.

"Becoming a lost ball has opened me up to a life I never knew existed," says Nex Turner, a Titleist Velocity Golf Ball. "I love this event. I love this community. I love my life."

What did you think of today's story?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Join the conversation

or to participate.