- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

BRADFORD, Pa. (AP) - Greg Souchik enjoys scuba diving. And he is an avid golfer.

On a warm Friday evening, he decided to use one passion to benefit the other.

He and two of his friends from the Bradford area traded golf outfits for scuba-diving gear as they went treasure hunting - for golf balls in one of the ponds at Pine Acres Country Club in Lafayette Township.

The men started scuba diving around 5 p.m. July 31 and about an hour and a half later, about 1,500 golf balls had been collected from the bottom of one of the ponds near hole number one.

The three men swam in the dark water - as deep at 20 feet in spots - making circular small ripples and flapping blue flippers.

Souchik quickly admits he has sunk one-too-many balls into the water at the golf course.

“I don’t play golf. I abuse golf balls,” Souchik said after he came up with a yellow fluorescent bag packed of golf balls.

A diving instructor and owner of Allegheny Underwater of Bradford, he tied the bag to a rope, and friend and fellow scuba diver Jim Quigley reeled the bag in.

“He’s (Souchik) really good. He’s a very confident teacher,” Quigley said.

Souchik calls scuba diving fun, and it’s akin to treasure hunting “because you never know what you’re going to find.”

On July 31, the water was murky, but Souchik said he could see two feet down.

“It’s just a little part of scuba diving, and it’s a whole lot of fun,” Souchik said.

Another diver, Mark Platko asked how he did after lugging a large green bag filled with golf balls.

“You’ve done good,” Quigley said.

Before heading back into the pond, Platko asked Quigley to put more weight into his wet suit. Platko wasn’t able to go deep enough into the pond.

Quigley complied, putting two weights into Platko’s outfit. And off Platko went.

“Everyone has lost golf balls in this pond,” Quigley said, saying he was waiting to find his initials on some of them.

Normally, Quigley would suit up. On July 31, he sat out. Quigley pointed out that someone really should remain out of the water.

“It’s so much easier if someone helps,” he said.

And near the pond was a yellow box labeled first aid.

“If something happens, he’s (Souchik) ready,” Quigley said.

In his first year of scuba diving, K.C. Keller said he finds the hobby fun, and he says being underwater gives him an interesting feeling. He didn’t have much time to elaborate … soon he was under the water.

In the end, Keller said he found many golf balls and even a putter.

This isn’t the first time the men have gone scuba diving together; they go three or four times a year, Quigley said.

“It depends on when the opportunity arises,” he said.

One of those chances will be in March, when they plan to head to Bel Air, Maryland.

The scuba diving event on July 31 at Pine Acres provided publicity for Allegheny Underwater and Pine Acres, Quigley said. There are other ponds that need cleaned out as well at the golf course, Keller said.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/1M92nKP

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Information from: The Bradford Era, http://www.bradfordera.com

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