Man dies after diving to retrieve golf balls from pond at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, deputies say

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a man was diving to retrieve golf balls out of a golf course pond and did not resurface.

The St. Johns Fire Rescue pronounced the victim, who has not been identified, as deceased at the scene.

A cause of death has not been confirmed.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the times you go back and analyze the accident it comes down to, most of the time, diver error,” said Dan Michelke, a diving expert with First Coast Divers.

Christy Waldenmaier, a neighbor who lives near the pond, says its not usual to see people in the water searching for golf balls.

“We just haven’t. You don’t see many people climbing in the lagoon to look for golf balls. If so, it’s usually in a controlled environment,” Waldenmaier said.

Action News Jax reached out to Ponte Vedra Inn & Club to see if the man was an employee and we are awaiting a response.

Michelke says this is a reminder to take precautions when diving.

“Regardless of the dive environment you find yourself in, it doesn’t matter if it was a 5 to 6 foot retention pond that he was collecting golf balls versus 100 foot wreck dive off the coast of Jacksonville. It’s all the same,” Michelke said.

A viewer sent Action News Jax photos of SJSO vehicles responding to the Lagoon Course at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club.

Action News Jax contacted SJSO about the investigation and was told the following:

“There was an individual diving to clean a pond of golf balls and the individual was found unresponsive. Fire Rescue pronounced the individual deceased. An investigation is underway.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.