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Blue Fish

Home Damage from Golf Courses - Any Expereince with This?

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I'm curious about whether any of you who live next to or near golf courses have sustained damage to your home/car/other property, or incurred personal injury, from errant golf balls flying onto your property. If so, did the golf course reimburse you for the damage? Did it take any additional steps to prevent damage in the future?

 

My expereince is that golf course take two positions: (1) The golf course was here first, so live with the damage; (2) only the individual golfers are responsible, so you have to figure out who that person is.

 

Neither argument has much of a basis in law in MD, but I am seeing a very recent trend of golf courses recohgnizing their precarious position and offering reimbursement. I'm just curious how widespread it is.

 

P.S.: I have not had golf ball bamage to my home (yet), but know many folks who have had horrible experiences with it.

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You chose to live there. You are stuck.

 

A well-meaning golfer will approach you if they did any damage, and offer to pay. (I have seen this happen).

 

However, most people playing golf today are part of the Tiger generation, so I wouldn't hold your breath.

 

I hate playing courses with houses on them.

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Why would you buy a house on a golf course? ANd if you did why would you be shocked/pissed about golf ball damage?

ROTFLMAO:D

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We stay at a place in Williamsburg thta has a golf couse built around it. (Both were built at the same time) There is a minor surcharge to all the golfers and the club takes care of any damage caused by errant balls (Did I just type that)

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I hit a house while playing Clifton many, many years ago. The residents threw the ball back to me. My first instinct was to run, but I was only about 16 at the time. :eek:

 

I'm not saying my age would have made it the right thing to do btw. It was just the first thing that popped into my head as I helplessly watched the ball fly toward the homes. It made a God awful sound as the ball plunked from awning to awning.

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Most courses are built with trees between the course and the houses for this reason. Is that the case? Is this a Country Club or Public? Do you belong or use the course?

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Demop, I’m glad that you're taking the time to ROTFLMAO on a nice Saturday, but your answer sounds like you haven’t really thought through the issues. Let’s take those issues in turn:

 

(1) One who lives next to a golf course should have understood, before purchasing the house, that it will be damaged and they may be injured by golf balls. Well, if one plays golf, then I agree to a point. However, most people do not. They may reasonably assume that the golf club took appropriate measures through course design to keep golf balls within club property, including an appropriately sized buffer, strategic tree locations, a berm, etc. A purchaser may also not know how dangerous a little golf ball can be.

 

In my community, the golf course is surrounded by about a 40-foot buffer zone and earth berm. Unfortunately, these have proven woefully inadequate. Homes sometimes get pelted with golf balls dozens of times a week. They not only go through glass, but through siding and even screened-in porches. They can cause serious injury. This happens not just with houses literally next to the green, but to those across the street (even with other houses between them and the course). Most golf clubs know this in great detail. They also quickly know whether their initial measures to prevent this are working or not. The average person would have difficulty appreciating the risk, however.

 

(2) One who lives next to (or near) a golf course "assumes the risk" of golf damage. As stated above, I disagree that non-golfers appreciate the degree of risk that they take on when they purchase a home near a golf course. They may reasonably assume that the golf course designers and club managers – as professionals – took appropriate steps to at least significantly reduce the likelihood of golf damage to their property. And in many cases, I think that clubs do take such measures. Some golf courses have giant nets that seem to be very effective. Others have very wide buffers and/or trees that effectively keep golf balls off of other folks' properties. But a person who is not a professional golf course designer/managers, or especially one who has never played golf, is not in a great position to second-guess this until after they purchase the house and experience that these measure either do/don’t work. So they do not “assume the risk” of golf ball damage.

 

But in Maryland, this is all a moot point, because “assumption of the risk” is not a defense to trespass, and a trespass is what happens when one hits a golf ball onto your property.

 

(3) If the golf course existed before the homes, then why should it be responsible for damage caused to homes built near it afterwards? Who was there first is irrelevant. If the golf club did not own vacant land abutting it, then it had an opportunity to purchase that land to create a larger buffer. Otherwise, it knew that homes (or other structures, within the applicable zoning regulations) could be built there. In fact, even if homes were never built there, it still would not have a right to trespass (via golf balls) onto that land. The only difference once homes are built on that land is that the trespass now is more likely to cause property damage.

 

Let’s use a hypothetical. Say, I own a 1 acre lot in an area zoned residential and with other 1-acre lots. I purchase 1 lot and set up an archery range. I quickly realize that many of the arrows fly beyond the targets and onto the vacant lot next door. However, I choose not to purchase that vacant lot. A few years later, somebody else seeks to purchases that lot and prepares to build a house there. Can I tell them (a) you can’t build a house there because some of the arrows fly onto that lot?; or (B) go ahead and build, but you will have arrows sticking out of your house and I’m not paying for it? It doesn’t take a lawyer to have a pretty strong gut feeling about the answer to those questions.

 

(4) If anyone is responsible for the damage, it’s the individual golfer, not the club, since the “club” didn’t actually hit the ball. This is usually the last-ditch fallback argument for many clubs. As someone here pointed out, some (but not most) golfers either never own up to the damage or refuse to pay and require you to sue them. In a situation where the golf club has taken measures so that golf balls would only damage surrounding homes in a highly unusual, hard to anticipate event, such as when a golfer purposely aims at a home or a sudden 50mph gust carries a ball over a net, this argument may have merit. However, when the golf course invites, as its business, people to come onto its property and engage in a club-sponsored event that it knows causes frequent damage to surrounding property, then the club is just as responsible for the damage as the golfer who hit the ball. The club is an “aider and abettor.”

 

Solutions. The first solution is for the club to take additional steps to prevent golf damage. In my community, for example, room exists for many additional steps, from erecting netting to simply planting additional trees. So far, the club has refused to spend a penny on such measures (although that may change this spring). The other option is, as someone mentioned, to have the club enter into an agreement with the homeowners whereby the homeowners hold the club harmless beyond a certain annual monetary amount, and in exchange the club agrees to collect a small surcharge from golfers and place it in escrow to cover damage up to the agreed-upon amount.

 

Of course, the litigation option is also open. I’m convinced that, in many circumstances, a court would agree to order all golfing suspended on a particular course pending trial, given that demonstrating that golfing is continuing and dangerous is pretty easy, and the law in MD heavily weighs in favor of the club’s liability. The downside is that, given the financial state of many golf courses, such an injunction may cause the golf club to go belly-up and sell the property to developers. I am convinced that this is way more suits against golf clubs do not occur. As much as people hate being pelted by golf balls, they love the view.

 

At any rate, the purpose for this long post is to let folks in similar situations know that they do have options, and to allow folks to share their experiences and, especially, any creative solutions.

 

P.S.: I don’t golf….never have. I have nothing against golfers, however. ). I just prefer to fish, boat or ride bikes with the kids in what little spare time I get. I also don’t wish to see golf courses go out of business (the one near my community is private).

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Years ago I used to play with a really good golfer at Charleston National in SC. The course was lined with houses. Every time we played, this guy would hit a towering draw that would bounce off a certain house's roof and onto the green. He did it every time. He always, at least, parred the hole.

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Why don't you move out to the country and then sue the farms because of the sounds and smells associated with faming? Or move into a house next to a firing range and complain about the noise?

 

Fact: Most golfers suck (Demopublican is wiling to demonstrate his own poor golfing skills to anyone who pays for a round).

 

Fact: Any home near a gold course will get hit eventually. Some more often the others.

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Why don't you move out to the country and then sue the farms because of the sounds and smells associated with faming? Or move into a house next to a firing range and complain about the noise?

 

Different issues: odors/noise are not the same as incoming missiles. I would also like to see zoning taken into account. If an area is zoned agricultural, then perhaps the legislature should pass laws to allow those activities to continue regardless of who later builds a home nearby.

 

However, extending your example to golfing (or the bullets, rather than the noise, from the firing range), anybody could control large swaths of land that they do not own by launching dangerous/damaging things onto it. Don't you think that the better answer is for those who engage in such activities, and particularly those who make a business out of it, to purchase sufficient property, or take appropriate measures, so that the activity can be confined to their property?

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Many of the homes you are speaking of are built, marketed, and sold as Golf Course homes. I love golf but would never live next to one for all of the reasons that you outlined. If you don't like it move.

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I'm curious about whether any of you who live next to or near golf courses have sustained damage to your home/car/other property, or incurred personal injury, from errant golf balls flying onto your property. If so, did the golf course reimburse you for the damage? Did it take any additional steps to prevent damage in the future?

 

My expereince is that golf course take two positions: (1) The golf course was here first, so live with the damage; (2) only the individual golfers are responsible, so you have to figure out who that person is.

 

Neither argument has much of a basis in law in MD, but I am seeing a very recent trend of golf courses recohgnizing their precarious position and offering reimbursement. I'm just curious how widespread it is.

 

P.S.: I have not had golf ball bamage to my home (yet), but know many folks who have had horrible experiences with it.

 

When I was learning to play, about twelve years ago, I was in a golf club where we played all over the state and up in Penciltucky. I saw several homes damaged (some of them with For Sale signs in the back yard facing the golf course). I have seen For Sale signs hit. :D Usually it's a hole in the siding. There are a few homes with video surveillance cameras, nets, high fences and the like. The worst location, IMHO, is any house that is easily reachable from the tee box (e.g., 230 yards out) on long par 4's and par 5's, on the right side of the fairway. Fortunately, I haven't nailed one yet, but I have donated a few golf balls.

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Blue I hate to tell you but a ball crossing property is not trespassing. Does the Hurricane have to yield to the house...No you should build a bigger fence. Ignorance of a risk does not negate the risk. If you buy a house in the outer Banks. You don't get a free pass on Hurricane damage because you don't know about it.

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I hate to tell you, but you're misinformed. Maryland's highest court has decided the issue. A storm is an act of God; a golf ball is not (notwithstanding that some golfers may consider themselves to be above our mortal laws). Trespass occurs when a person enters onto the property of another without the owner's permission, or when he causes an object to enter onto the property of another. Whether he does so purposefully or by accident is irrelevant.

 

Whether one is aware of the risk of trespass is also irrelevant. If you move next door to me and know that I'm prone to walk onto your property, hang out in your yard, maybe cause a little damage because I’m clumsy/careless, does that mean you have no recourse against me because you knew of my tendencies before you bought the property? You know the answer to that, I'm sure.

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<cough-cough>

 

"We had one of our residents who was frequently finding golf balls in his yard and hearing balls hitting his home," DeLozier says. "We took several steps of remediation: planted trees around the tee, then redirected the tee itself and changed the angle where balls might go slicing off to hit this home. We then actually built a screen along the line of flight to keep balls from hitting the home."

 

It was all to no avail. The resident continued to register complaints and concerns about the errant golf balls. So DeLozier visited the site of the problem on a Saturday morning. As he wandered around trying to size up the situation, a foursome of golfers at the tee became curious as to why he was there.

 

"I said, 'Man, it really looks like someone pelts that house with golf balls,'" DeLozier says. "And the guy said, 'Well sure, that's Harvey's house.' And I said, 'What's the deal with that-why do so many balls go over that way?'"

 

The golfer's response, according to DeLozier: "Are you kidding? Harvey's a jerk! Everybody hits at least one ball at his house!"

 

http://golfbusiness.com/pageview.asp?m=8&y=2004&doc=1100

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Demop, I’m glad that you're taking the time to ROTFLMAO on a nice Saturday, but your answer sounds like you haven’t really thought through the issues. Let’s take those issues in turn:

 

(1) One who lives next to a golf course should have understood, before purchasing the house, that it will be damaged and they may be injured by golf balls. Well, if one plays golf, then I agree to a point. However, most people do not. They may reasonably assume that the golf club took appropriate measures through course design to keep golf balls within club property, including an appropriately sized buffer, strategic tree locations, a berm, etc. A purchaser may also not know how dangerous a little golf ball can be.

 

When you look at a house, whether you play golf or not, a reasonably intelligent person would be able to discern, if the house was too close to the tee, fairway or green. If you purchase the house, it's on you. No different than people buying a home that is well outside of their price range under an ARM...And then looking for help to pay for the new rates...:rolleyes:

 

In my community, the golf course is surrounded by about a 40-foot buffer zone and earth berm. Unfortunately, these have proven woefully inadequate. Homes sometimes get pelted with golf balls dozens of times a week. They not only go through glass, but through siding and even screened-in porches. They can cause serious injury. This happens not just with houses literally next to the green, but to those across the street (even with other houses between them and the course). Most golf clubs know this in great detail. They also quickly know whether their initial measures to prevent this are working or not. The average person would have difficulty appreciating the risk, however.
(2)

 

 

Ball that is designed for distance, golfers with clubs designed to hit ball far. Golf courses, public, have people who cannot play golf properly ie- hit errant golf balls. Again, any reasonably inteeligent person would know, peole who can't play golf-do...;)

 

One who lives next to (or near) a golf course "assumes the risk" of golf damage. As stated above, I disagree that non-golfers appreciate the degree of risk that they take on when they purchase a home near a golf course. They may reasonably assume that the golf course designers and club managers – as professionals – took appropriate steps to at least significantly reduce the likelihood of golf damage to their property. And in many cases, I think that clubs do take such measures. Some golf courses have giant nets that seem to be very effective. Others have very wide buffers and/or trees that effectively keep golf balls off of other folks' properties. But a person who is not a professional golf course designer/managers, or especially one who has never played golf, is not in a great position to second-guess this until after they purchase the house and experience that these measure either do/don’t work. So they do not “assume the risk” of golf ball damage.

 

 

Of course you disagree, you were one who thought it cool to own a home next to, on top of, a golf course...

 

 

But in Maryland, this is all a moot point, because “assumption of the risk” is not a defense to trespass, and a trespass is what happens when one hits a golf ball onto your property.

 

Personable responsibility, not just for the golfer, but you. Either find the golfer and sue or deal with the damage from your cool purchase.

 

 

(3) If the golf course existed before the homes, then why should it be responsible for damage caused to homes built near it afterwards? Who was there first is irrelevant. If the golf club did not own vacant land abutting it, then it had an opportunity to purchase that land to create a larger buffer. Otherwise, it knew that homes (or other structures, within the applicable zoning regulations) could be built there. In fact, even if homes were never built there, it still would not have a right to trespass (via golf balls) onto that land. The only difference once homes are built on that land is that the trespass now is more likely to cause property damage.

 

No, who was first is the most important part. Again, if you purchased a house on, near, next to a golf course, just like the moroons who purchased a house right behind a baseball field, it's on you.

 

However, if said course went in after you made the purchase and you tried to fight it through the hearings, then you have a reasonable gripe.

 

Let’s use a hypothetical. Say, I own a 1 acre lot in an area zoned residential and with other 1-acre lots. I purchase 1 lot and set up an archery range. I quickly realize that many of the arrows fly beyond the targets and onto the vacant lot next door. However, I choose not to purchase that vacant lot. A few years later, somebody else seeks to purchases that lot and prepares to build a house there. Can I tell them (a) you can’t build a house there because some of the arrows fly onto that lot?; or (B) go ahead and build, but you will have arrows sticking out of your house and I’m not paying for it? It doesn’t take a lawyer to have a pretty strong gut feeling about the answer to those questions

 

This is not applicable. One, because all you have to do is move the targets further into your yard 2) because the law says you cannot shoot if it poses a risk on your neighbors.

 

The rest, well, you are trying to convince your self that you made a wise purchase (houses usually keep their value at golf courses, public or private.

 

It's on you or the golfer, take your pick. Since you purchased after the course was built, it's on you...

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Fact: Most golfers suck (Demopublican is wiling to demonstrate his own poor golfing skills to anyone who pays for a round).

 

Please allow me to assist in that demonstration. I have just the lack of skills needed.

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I was with someone at Myrtle Beach that broke window in a house along the course. The owner came out and followed us for 2 holes until my friend gave him his contact info.

 

We debated this issue over a couple cases of beer that week but never reached consensus.

 

The guy never called my friend.

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I was with someone at Myrtle Beach that broke window in a house along the course. The owner came out and followed us for 2 holes until my friend gave him his contact info.

 

We debated this issue over a couple cases of beer that week but never reached consensus.

 

The guy never called my friend.

 

Because most golf course home owners carry insurance for such instances when a ball hits their home.

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Buy a home next to an outdoor gun range. You won't have to worry about golf ball dents anymore.

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Because most golf course home owners carry insurance for such instances when a ball hits their home.

 

No doubt. I used to play Walden Woods a lot back in the 90's and there was one house on that course that must have had 100+ holes in the vinyl siding from balls. It sat a dead hook, just 100 yards or so from an elevated tee box.

 

On courses I play the most with houses, most of them have netting.

 

Coincidence given where the tour is this week but I played Bay Hills a half dozen times and hit a few screened in pools on that course :o

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Yacht: I live across the street from the course, with a row of houses between me and the course. Have I still assumed the risk? Did you read the part of my post where I noted that assumption of the risk is not a defense to trespass? Do you know of case law in MD overruling the Court of Appeals on this point, or are you guessing?:rolleyes:

 

Back to the point: I'm not trying to lay out a roadmap of how to sue a golf course for damage. As a litigator, most of the litigation that I see results from a failing on many levels and usually on the part of both sides. Much can be accomplished, in most cases, short of litigation. I started this thread as a search for anyone who had found any creative solutions worked out between the golf course and homeowners.

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Additionally most courses I have seen in residential areas the houses have been all brick on the course.

Secondly do you play the course? If you do you are as much to blame. Thirdly you are not going to win a trespass complaint against someone who plays golf and hit a ball accidently on to your property. You bought the house. Do you have homeowners insurance. Did earant golf balls cross your mind. You probably have higher home owners insurance because of this. Have you contacted the club. Incidently to be trepass you must make sure it is obvious where the property line extends do you satisfy this requirement?

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Blue Fish: You have assumed the risk.

 

This poster is a semi-pro golfer so he has probably his a number of homes on a semi-regular basis! :rolleyes:

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