Ben Hadden, a 24-year-old professional golfer, was forced to withdraw from an All Pro tournament in Texas after his clubs were stolen from the Squaw Creek Golf Club car park.
Hadden turned professional in 2018 and recently earned playing status on the PGA Tour Canada. Despite adversity in his mini-tour career, which included sleeping in his car and missing Monday qualifiers by a single shot, he described the events as: "The worst day I've had."
"It’s tough to explain to somebody who hasn’t had a custom set of golf clubs for a long time just how devastating this feels," he said. "Those clubs were absolutely perfect for me thanks to the help I’ve received from people who know more about club building than I do. I have all my specs written down, but it’s still difficult to completely recreate a set without the original set in hand."
Hadden shared a heartfelt plea on social media and asked the golfing community help in the safe return of his clubs. There is an active Police investigation underway but the American knows full well that the chances of him being reunited with his equipment are slim.
Taking the advice of one of his online followers, Hadden set up a GoFundMe page to help raise enough money to cover the cost of his clubs; which is said to be around $5,000. He has since surpassed the target but was keen not to profit from the situation: "Any amount that we raise above what it costs to replace my clubs will be donated straight to the First Tee, no questions asked."
The First Tee is a youth development organisation that teaches life skills through the game of golf. "I want to get more kids into golf, I want to make this world a better place," he said. "I believe that kids that get into golf, kids that learn the values that golf teaches do not steal golf clubs from a parking lot. Let's get more people like that in the world."
As we wait to hear a positive outcome, Hadden said: "I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I’m really hoping to turn a negative into a positive here by raising some money for the First Tee."
Visit the GoFundMe page.
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James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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