Grouchy Golf Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 12:04 AM

Take My Wallet, Just Leave My Golf Clubs!

If you had a suitcase stuffed with over $2,000 cash, would you ever leave it outside and unattended? Well, that's what happens all the time at golf courses around the world. Obviously, it's not cash, but it's something just as valuable: golf clubs.

Consider someone who carries the latest Callaway Golf clubs purchased at Golfsmith.com:
Such a bag sits on the high-end of the price spectrum, but I see similar bags unattended at my home golf course all the time. For some reason, there's sort of a mutual feeling of trust amongst golfers at golf courses. It's like we're all soldiers waging war against a common enemy: the golf course. No golfer would dare steal the weapons of their brothers in arms.

Unfortunately, there are unsavory characters out there who exploit this camaraderie for personal gain. Golf club theft is nothing new, but the problem is now more common than ever before. One of the reasons is the rise in club prices due to high tech designs and exotic materials. But the main reason is the emergence of my favorite online marketplace, eBay. With eBay, criminals can sell "hot" clubs at premium prices in a couple of clicks.

But the problem recently gained national attention when USA Today reported that thieves stole the golf clubs of police officers! Interestingly, the incident occurred last May at a police department golf tournament held at Santa Anita Golf Club, one of my local golf courses! The USA Today article also mentioned a robbery at my home course, Brookside golf course.

I know the guys who work in the Brookside pro shop, so I asked them about the article. They confirmed that club theft has always been a problem and that eBay has made it worse. However, they said that since USA Today ran the article, they haven't had a single incident.

I was relieved since I had no idea that I lived in the golf club theft capital of the world (or at least it seemed that way when I read the article). Luckily, I have never been the victim of theft.

Here are some tips that I follow to remain theft-free:


Blogger CB said...

You have touched on two topics so near and dear to my heart in this post that I felt I had to comment. First, anyone with a bag completely outfitted in Callaway deserves to have it stolen. Second, don’t leave you clubs in your trunk. I am usually careful to bring my bag into the Pro Shop, or leave it outside where I can see it. However, I also frequently leave it in my trunk overnight and during the day if I plan on playing after work. Well a few months ago some prick broke my window, climbed through, and got them from the trunk via the backseat! I can also tell you that most bags have more in them than clubs. I lost a lot of smaller priced items with sentimental value, a great jacket, and few sleeves of golf balls. Basically, you add up all the money your clubs cost (don’t forget the extra cash you spent if you are a grip snob like me), and that is a fraction of how much the entire experience sucks.

There was a silver lining. Renter’s insurance saved the day. I upgraded a bit, and had this whole thing never happened I wouldn’t know how great Titleist Spin-Milled Volkie wedges are:)  


Anonymous Tom G said...

You just scared the living crap out of me with this post.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

last spring, i got my first "real" driver, a used taylormade r580 (no fancy headcover though). my brother and i took our annual trip down south to play with my dad. the morning of our first round i went out to the garage to find an old ratty head cover on my shiney new driver. i made a comment and my pops told me about the switcheroo. i feel fortunate to have his wisdom at my disposal. but your article got me thinking...i bought that driver on ebay and it came with no headcover. right now i feel like i might have contributed to this problem by buying a hot club. there is no way to tell really, but i think from now on i might just kick down that extra money to be sure about where a used club comes from. i'm afraid that kharma might end up being more expensive in the end.  


Blogger dave said...

There have been reports of clubs being stolen out of garages down here in Florida. A lot of people leave their grange doors up during the day as they do things in and out of the house. I can’t imagine having the nerve to stop and walk into someone’s garage and take a set or two of clubs. I assume they wear cloths that are similar to golfing cloths. This doesn’t seem to happen in the smaller gated communities but has been reported in some of the larger ones.  


Blogger woundedduck said...

Thieves are such creepy bastards! But then, a guy who spends almost $2400 on golf clubs is pretty wacky, too.  


Anonymous Wedgehead said...

I never really worried about it until this last spring when I purchased the brand-new Titleist Scotty Cameron "Futura Phantom" putter. Whenever I got into the pro-shop/restaurant/bathroom, it comes with me.

Another thing I did was buy basic black, no-logo headcovers for my woods. It is also recommended to do for putters.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...


i had 50 good titleist balls nicked from my locker when i accidentally left my keys in it's lock (oops!!!), that tcked me off a bit.

im all with the blank headcovers thing, i had my callaway x-tour driver and 3-wood in 'donnay' headcovers (donnays a really cheap brand in england for those who dont know), i got a few laughs in my direction when i was on the 1st tee in junior matches when my opponents are brandeshing their 905R's and R7's in their pretty headcovers, then i pull out my callaways and pelt one 50 yards further than anyone who laughed at me. well worth the odd expressions, especially when people havent worked out that im not hitting a donnay club.

i do know of one particular robbery at my club, one of our little 12 year old juniors was on the 14th tee, when some guy (who looked about 18 apparently) ran onto the tee all wrapped up in a balaclava, nicked the juniors 3-wood n ran off - funny thing is that the 3 wood was a really cheap one; worth about £8 (around $14) when new, and it was now pretty bashed up. i wud luv to have ween the thiefs face when he sold it off, be lucky to get £1 for it - and i would say to him - was it really worth it?

great blog btw mate, keep it up  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can immediately identify my clubs, individually, from a distance with visual cues. i make little unique markings that appear factory. i won't tell you what i do but it works. also i make permanent identifying marks just under the end of the grip on the shaft that can be identified simply by rolling the grip back just a hair. i even have my driver reshafted label up as one visual clue. also, when reshafting use a Ferrule close to but not identical to factory. make your clubs as unique as you are.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an LAPD officer who was there when clubs were stolen at Santa Anita during an LAPD golf tournament. I was the only one in my foursome who did not have his clubs stolen and I was the only one who finished the course. Everyone was angry and one of the officers found his bag, keys and empty wallet in the parking lot. Responding local officers told us that a group of 4 to 5 Asian guys were staying at a local motel and had multiple bags and clubs in their room and were selling them on ebay. They would dress like golfers and mill around so they looked like other players. If they had been caught in the act there would have been physical violence. Watch your clubs and your Scotty Cameron putters.

To those of you who steal clubs. There will be no arrests. You will have facial fractures because you resisted.  


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