Old golf clubs never die -- they live for a higher purpose

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comMarch 7, 2013 

Golfers, many of you may have noticed, are hoarders.

When a golf club misbehaves, it gets put in Time Out. It is replaced by a new club -- one guaranteed to make the ball fly straight. But unless by some quirk of fate the old club happened to be assigned to Time Out on the bottom of a lagoon, it rarely actually leaves the premises.

At my house, Time Out is in the attic. But there is Golf Club Purgatory in a dark corner by the china cabinet. A club may rest there and think about its wrongdoing for months, maybe years, before some neat freak comes along and orders its removal.

This trait among golfers is good news and bad news for Mike Danoff of Palmetto Hall, a retired cardiologist who is moving up in the ranks of the Hilton Head Island-area chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

The good news is that he has plenty of inventory for the chapter's booth at the World's Largest Yard Sale.

On Saturday morning, March 16, Danoff and his colleagues hope to sell a ton of used golf equipment in the Hilton Head Island High School parking lot. They have about 16,000 golf balls, 500 golf clubs, 10 golf bags and dozens of head covers.

All the money will go to college scholarships for select Junior ROTC cadets who plan a military career after graduating from Hilton Head, Bluffton, Estill or Jasper County high schools.

The club's scholarship fund had dwindled in recent hard times, and Danoff had the bright idea to revive it with old golf gear.

The bad news is that the donated stuff is piling up at his house. It has spread from the garage to a spare bedroom, porch, foyer and patio.

"My wife is ready to kill me," Danoff said.

She has used the word "hoarder," he said. And "pathological."

But Jayne Danoff knows how driven her husband is, especially when it involves golf, or helping the military shape young lives.

As a child, Danoff was separated from his family when a bomb hit their home in Seoul, South Korea. It was the outset of the Korean War, and young Chun Lee Ham was eventually taken in off the streets by American GIs. His first words in English were: "Shoe shine, GI?" They called him "Mike," and at age 12, he was adopted and brought to America by the family of a GI named Danoff.

After finishing medical school, Danoff joined the U.S. Army and went back to Korea. This time, he was the American GI helping a young man make something of a torn life. He helped his younger brother, John, get into the military, and then brought him to America.

John will be driving up from Florida for the World's Largest Yard Sale. He'll be bringing 200 used wedges and irons.

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.

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