Respect Homeowners Near the Golf Course
The New York Times featured an article detailing the troubles of a homeowner living on a golf course near Palm Springs, California. Though she has a great view of the greens and fairways, and a landscape that requires no maintenance on her part, she has had her share of headaches due to the location of her lovely home. In fact, not long after she moved in, a golf ball came flying through her kitchen window, nearly grazed her head and then smashed into the glass of her oven door.
This scenario has become increasingly prevalent, especially since golf technology now enables even average golfers to hit the ball great distances. Considering that 70 percent of new courses in the United States also include housing; the course and homeowner clash is becoming a fairly common situation. Many golf course designers are adjusting their plans to make wider fairway corridors, yet problems remain.
The most common concern for homeowners is the threat of a golf ball smashing through a window, hitting their siding or screen porches, and damaging outdoor furniture. In addition, many homeowners gripe that they receive divots in their stucco siding from golf ball damage.
Beyond these concerns, homeowners experience other difficulties. They may be troubled by noise from maintenance equipment, especially during early morning hours. Over-sprayed chemicals on courses can wreak havoc on their plants and flowers. Ponds can attract frogs, toads, birds, snakes and even alligators, not only causing nuisance and noise for nearby homeowners, but also potential danger for pets and small children.
Generally courts rule in favor of golf course owners when dealing with disputes between homeowners and golf courses, as the homeowners assume the risks when moving adjacent to a course. Yet, golf course owners have a duty to exercise ordinary care and to respect their neighbors.
If your course is surrounded by homes, consider moving tees, greens, trees or using nets to prevent golf balls from damaging the property of others. Also, educate your members on proper golf etiquette and instruct them on where it is appropriate to hit the ball, and where it is prohibited.
What’s on the Line?
Beyond that, recognize that your course’s reputation is not solely based on the quality of the golf course, the food served at your clubhouse or the cleanliness of your facilities; the kindness and concern that you show for your neighbors also goes a long way.