Here is hoping that golf club thievery never happens to you, but leaving your golf bag unattended outside of the golf snack bar may be the most expensive cold beer you will ever buy. Recovering from the accompanying anguish in the 19th hole may require needing a designated driver to get you home.

It is estimated that the market value of stolen golf clubs in the U.S. is more than $100 million annually. Much of that amount is smash-and-grab robberies at golf stores, but too many individual golfers also pay the price.

Do not lose sleep if your set of clubs consists of garage-sale giveaways. But with new top-of-the line drivers sporting price tags of $400 or more – and new sets at $2,500-plus – your golf investment can be a target for the unscrupulous at the friendly confines of your local course. Not to mention that the hassle of a full bag swipe likely affects much more of your life – wallet, smart phone, prescription Ray-Bans and car keys stashed in side pockets.

There are ways to protect yourself from loss. Awareness of the reality is most important.

  • Do not let your bag out of sight. If possible, park in a location near a window so that you can watch your bag even when inside ordering a Gatorade and hotdog with mustard and onions. Have someone in your group remain with the bags at all times.
  • Do not advertise to the world. Disguise your high-end sticks with generic, faded head covers that won’t draw a lowlife crook’s attention. These creeps would certainly heed the advice of Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book.” Keep a lower profile with your clubs.
  • Purchase a golf bag with a club-locking mechanism. If a thief wants to nab your Scotty Cameron putter and make a dash they will be caught in a tug-of-war they cannot win.
  • Implant an unseen microchip that tracks your golf bag via GPS unbeknownst to the villain. The service is available. Imagine the scoundrel’s surprise when the local sheriff knocks on their front door.

If, despite your best efforts, your cherished clubs get away, quickly contact the pro shop and local law enforcement agencies (video surveillance is ubiquitous these days). Also contact your insurance agent to determine if the loss might be covered in your policy.

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