College golfer has clubs stolen ahead of upcoming televised tournament

January 25, 2021

Pepperdine golfer Joe Highsmith's clubs were stolen out of his car on the weekend before the Southwestern Invitational.

Todd Drexler/

The spring portion of the men’s college golf season is underway and on Monday a dozen teams, including 2019 champion Stanford, teed off on the first day of the Southwestern Invitational at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, Calif.

Unfortunately, one member of Pepperdine’s team is already off to a rough start.

Joe Highsmith, a junior for the Waves, had his clubs stolen from his car over the weekend.

“I went out to get something from my car Saturday morning and all the stuff from my trunk was in the backseat, and normally my back seat is empty, so I knew I didn’t put it there,” Highsmith told Golf Channel, which first reported the story. “And then I go to the trunk, and my clubs are gone.”

Highsmith said he thinks the clubs were swiped from the trunk sometime after 9 p.m. on Friday, when he arrived home from an MRI on his back.

“The putter was the biggest thing,” he said of his Scotty Cameron 009 flat stick, which he’s had since 2017. “I had totally fallen in love with that putter.”

That forced Highsmith to dust off an old Pepperdine bag and hustle to piece together a new set of sticks in time for a practice round at the host course on Sunday. According to Golf Channel, Titleist was able to build him a new driver, 3-wood and 3-iron. He’s also borrowing irons, wedges and the same model putter he uses from mid-amateur Nick Geyer, who works for Scotty Cameron, though he said the putter is set up completely different from the one that was stolen.

“It’s a little longer, the neck is longer, it’s lighter and the ball comes off the face differently,” Highsmith told Golf Channel. “As soon as I got to the course [Sunday], I knew I was going to have to find another putter.”

After the practice round on Sunday, he headed to Roger Dunn, a golf shop in nearby Thousand Oaks, and decided on a Toulon Design putter. “I feel good about this putter,” Highsmith told Golf Channel.

Now he’ll try to shift his focus on putting his name alongside the list of prestigious past winners of the event, which include Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay, Anthony Kim, Paul Casey, Corey Pavin and Billy Mayfair. Golf Channel will have live coverage all three days beginning on Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET.