What is a golfer’s worse nightmare? Missing a three foot putt for the Club Championship? Standing on the first tee on Saturday morning with a crowd watching? How about having your golf clubs stolen right out from under your nose while on vacation in the golf Mecca Myrtle Beach!
The young man this happened to is Luke and he lives in Alabama. Luke and his wife Shelly were on their way to South Carolina for a wedding and some rest and relaxation which involved playing some golf in South Carolina. They were staying with her grandparents in a very nice house in a great retirement community with a golf course, not what you would classify as a high crime area at all.
That afternoon Luke decided to squeeze in a round of golf at the area golf course, after the round he left his clubs in the trunk like most of us golfers do after a round of golf. The next morning being the loving and caring husband he is he forwent the golf and went to the beach with his wife Shelly; after all it’s only fair it was her vacation also. So the clubs came out of the trunk and were placed in the garage, out of plain sight tucked between a car and the outside wall lying down on the floor. Upon returning from the beach Luke happened to walk through the garage and the clubs were still in the same place where he had previously placed them. So they went into the house had some lunch and packed up their suitcases and were ready to head off to their friend’s wedding dinner. While packing up their items to leave Luke’s mother in law asked him if he wanted to leave the travel bag cover behind or take it with him, he said that he would bring everything with him. So Luke went into the garage to grab his clubs, travel bag and shoes but to his despair only saw his travel bag and shoes. He first asked if someone had moved his clubs or already placed them into the trunk but that was not the case. They had actually been stolen right out from under their noses while they were eating lunch. The thief had walked up the driveway in broad daylight with seven adults and two dogs home and made away with his prized possessions.
Luke was in shock, and furious to say the least, that someone would have the (you know what) to walk up in broad daylight and make away with his golf clubs. This is when the story gets really interesting!
Luke and Shelly were now running behind to attend the scheduled wedding dinner. Shelly’s grandfather filed the police report for the stolen golf clubs and off they went to the wedding dinner stopping at a couple of pawn shops along the way with a list and description of the clubs stolen hoping that would help him find his clubs. The police officer that came to file the report suggested that Luke keep his eyes on eBay because people have been known to sell them to one of the various club liquidators in the Myrtle Beach area. After checking eBay to no avail that day, the next morning when he woke up he decided he might as well give up. Luke decided he was just going to start looking for new clubs. He was going to a golf shop in North Myrtle beach that has every club you could imagine and offered free fitting and demos so he figured he would head down there and swing some clubs to see if any of the new drivers fit his game better.
While there Luke got talking to one of the employees and told him his story. He took down his club list and then gave him some advice, he said the PGA store didn’t pay cash for used clubs only offered store credit so the likely hood someone would turn them in there was slim but that there was a store down the street that was legitimate but they had been pinched by the cops a few weeks back for selling stolen clubs. He said if Luke was lucky they brought them there because they required an ID from the person selling the clubs.
Luke left the store but couldn’t find the other place so he headed back to the hotel and on a whim decided to pull up that store up on eBay and wouldn’t you know the two newest listed items were his irons and his fairway wood. His blood started to boil he called that shop right up and told them that they were selling his clubs that he had just reported stolen yesterday. The store asked some questions about them and then said they would have to call him back. In the meantime Luke called the police to inform them of his findings; they said they would send an officer eventually, not the answer Luke wanted. Luke hung up the phone and called the store right back, no answer, well five minutes later the store calls back and the caller says “I’m pretty sure we have your clubs is there any way you can identify them?” Fortunately Luke had custom stamped his wedges and given them names I.E. 56° named sandy and he confirmed he in fact had his clubs and bag and everything still intact. The store said they would need to get the police there because he wanted to prosecute the person that sold the stolen clubs to them. The police officer called Luke within ten minutes after she had arrived at the store and wanted to know if he could properly identify them. Fortunately for Luke he had taken a full set of pictures of them a week prior after cleaning them all up. Luke emailed her the picture and that was enough to confirm they were his golf clubs.
This story doesn’t end quite yet, it turns out since the report was filed with county police and the clubs were found in a different town that Luke couldn’t get the clubs released before he had to fly out of town that Sunday. So Monday morning Shelly’s grandfather went to the county police to try to get the golf clubs only to be told that they can’t be released because they are being held as evidence in an active investigation. So here Luke sits in the beautiful weather of Alabama unable to play golf all because his clubs are in lockup in South Carolina. Luke has no idea when his clubs might be release back to him. The moral of this story might be, keep your loved ones close, but keep your golf clubs closer! Hopefully the clubs will be returned in a timely manner to Luke because if he is he like the rest of us any extended time away from the links can be very painful.
NOTE: We recently found out that Luke got his clubs back and he is now able to play golf again. Well done by all involved. I think stealing golf clubs is a federal offense, penalty of 10 years of State Prison. Don’t touch another man’s clubs!!