Have you been playing golf for a while now? If so, then it’s likely that either you have been through the unpleasant experience of having some of your expensive golf equipment being stolen or you’ve known someone who has experienced the same. With over $100 million worth of golf equipment stolen every year in the US (a tenth of that in the UK), the need to secure yours is a necessity that shouldn’t be overlooked. Besides, this is a crime that can be easily stunted with a bit of vigilance and plain old common sense.
So here are eight simple ways to ensure you keep your beloved clubs with you and not in a car boot sale or the pawnshop without your knowledge.
Add identifying marks.
Engrave some kind of identification mark on your clubs, like your initials perhaps. This is an effective means of keeping thieves at bay. Once thieves notice that clubs are engraved with the owner’s initials, they will realize that reselling them may be an issue. Moreover, you will have concrete proof of their ownership if the police manages to even catch them.
Know how thieves do the job.
Dressed like other golfers, thieves hang around the clubhouse and putting green, casually sizing up players’ bags. They wait for golfers to walk away and check in at the pro shop or starter’s hut, take a few clubs to the range, or patronize the coffee shop. The moment the bag is left unattended, the thief calmly hoists it over his shoulder and heads for the parking lot, looking as if he’s just completed a round.
Keep them in sight.
Now that you know how thieves do the deed, you now realize how taking your eyes off your golf equipment for a minute or two already means bad news. So have your golf bag by your side at all times, and do not commit the mistake of leaving them unattended. If you need to go indoors for a minute, take your bag with you. Don’t you ever leave them unattended in the locker room or at the bag drop.
Know the thieves’ favorite brands.
If you use popular and expensive woods, bragging about it will only make you a thief’s easy walking target. Callaway, Titleist, and TaylorMade are their faves. Keep it low-key and use plain/generic unbranded head covers. Thieves tend to lift the entire bag. On the other hand, top-of-the-range drivers are the individual clubs that are in highest demand because they’re the easiest to grab and they fetch the best black market prices.
We get it. You’re a proud golfer. But using vanity license plates, bumper stickers, and the like on your car translates to “I'm carrying golf equipment I’m proud of too!” for thieves. Worse, the fact that you’re attracting their attention only obviously means you’re oblivious about safety precautions. Or if you’ve ever been robbed, you still haven’t learned your lesson.
Keep them in your room.
If you’re not on an organized golf trip where often arrangements for secure club storage are made for you, keep your clubs in your hotel room at night. Checking them in with reception, where security is usually minimal, is asking for trouble. Don’t store your clubs in the hotel, concierge, or bus storage when you travel. If possible, keep them in your room.
Lock them up.
Just like locking a cart to prevent golf cart thefts, there are security locking systems on the market that are worth investing, including sensors similar to those in electrical shops, which set off alarms to deter club thieves. You may also opt for the security lock that traps the shafts at the top of the bag under a sophisticated lock and key. Locking systems are actually fairly inexpensive and effectively drive thieves away.
Invest in a GPS tracker.
Since you can’t always prevent a thief from snatching up your golf equipment, have a system in place to recover them quickly. By hiding a GPS tracker in your golf bag, you will be able to track them, locate them, and recover them as soon as possible. You get your clubs back, and the police get to make an arrest.
Think about it. Would you leave your purse or wallet stuffed with $2,000 in cash unattended? Be smart, be wise, and do not let the thieves steal your expensive golf equipment so easily.