A driving range near Hobart has fallen victim to a major theft of its golf balls for the second time this year.
Close to 6,000 golf balls were stolen from Golf Park Hobart on Cranston Parade in Cambridge on Friday May 31 and taken away in bright-coloured plastic tubs.
Police suspect at least two people were involved in the burglary before lifting the containers over a 2.5 metre-high fence and loading them into a car parked beside the Tasman Highway.
“I don’t know why people think they can just help themselves to other people’s property,” says range owner Dianne Reynolds. “There’s resale value for golf balls, so I guess if they advertise them and sell them, that’s a good night’s work for them. It’s very annoying, very frustrating and just disruptive to everything.”
No CCTV vision of the theft was captured and it has forced Reynolds to install a new security system at the range, which she says will ensure almost the entire facility is under surveillance. “We’ve put in more cameras and more censor lights.”
Close to 6,000 second-hand golf balls were stolen earlier this year in a separate robbery. “They’re old balls that are too warn to use on the driving range. What we do is we spray them pink and we use them for school groups. A few months ago, there was a number of those that disappeared but that doesn’t impact on our daily earnings.”
Reynolds – who has managed the driving range for more than 18 months with her husband David – admits that the facility’s relatively isolated location has left it vulnerable to burglaries.
“We are in the middle of a paddock so I guess it makes it an easy target even though we have really high fences and our gate’s padlocked and chained and they have barb-wire across them. They still have to make a fairly big effort to get in here but it is secluded.”
Reynolds says business has been allowed to operate as normal since the golf ball theft in late May due to a reserve stock of golf balls that were stored at the range.
At any given time, Cambridge’s Golf Park has an estimated 7,000 balls on the driving range and close to 3,000 in storage.
“It would have had a huge impact had I not had a spare supply of balls to put out. If I hadn’t have had those, I would have closed the business because we wouldn’t have had enough balls to get through. It’s very fortunate that I’d just ordered those in. It’s fortunate that it’s winter and it’s not as busy as it is in the summer months.”
The financial toll the stolen golf balls have taken on the range owners extends beyond the cost of installing new security. Reynolds says she had to order a new stock of balls much earlier than expected at a cost of around $1,900.
“But as far as impact to daily takings for the driving range, it didn’t because I had the balls in stock to bring out,” Reynolds says.