Former Charger and four-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III teamed up with Realty One and Santa Ana Golf Club to replace the clubs stolen from three golfers at the state tournament earlier this year.
“I think the important thing to note is that these sorts of unfortunate things happen, and they’re just things that we come across in life,” Begay said. “And instead of it forcing us to take a negative attitude, I think it gives us a chance to come together and work together, support each other. And that’s what building community is. It’s celebrating the good things coming together and supporting each other for the tough times.”
Los Alamos High School sophomore Natalie Crawford, one of the golfers who had her clubs stolen, said the new clubs changed the way she was feeling. “It is like the biggest difference in feelings that you can think of. I was really distraught, surprised, really uncertain, disappointed when the clubs were stolen,” Crawford said. “I was wondering how I was going to get through it, but now I’m absolutely over the moon that this ended up coming together. It’s been amazing. It’s a great feeling.”
The new clubs were purchased out of pocket by Begay, Realty One of New Mexico, and Santa Ana Golf Club. “This is a wonderful example of the golf community coming together to help make things right,” said Santa Ana director of golf and PGA General Manager Derek Gutierrez.
Realty One owner Mike Taylor said it is important for businesses to give back to the community. When he heard about the stolen clubs and the opportunity to replace them, he said the company “absolutely wanted to be a part of it.” He said he has known Begay for many years and that through golf he hopes to help kids to succeed. “Golf teaches so many life lessons,” Taylor said.
Gabrielle Mowrer, a senior at Los Alamos High School, said having her clubs stolen made it difficult to keep her spirits up “but it worked out in the end.” She said she intends to continue playing golf and when asked if she is going to go to college, she said, “I have yet to decide, but with these it may be possible. I’m thinking about it.”
Conner Cook, who is now a student at the University of New Mexico, said he tried to stay upbeat after his clubs were stolen. “I was very disappointed when I lost my clubs. It was hard hitting putts with a putter I’ve never hit before, but I tried to be happy because I didn’t want to screw everyone else up I was playing with.” He said he will use the new clubs in different tournaments he intends to play in.
Begay said he is always striving to give back to the community and is focused on helping Native American youth through the NB3 Foundation he started. He said his schooling at Albuquerque Academy helped him to get where he is today. “So many of my former teachers and coaches at the Albuquerque Academy would have done the exact same thing,” Begay said. “That’s how I learned to be sort of a community servant. The Academy has been a very big part of my life and my success.”