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34 comments

Comment from: [Visitor]
It is very unfortunate when a journalist writing for a golf publication is so ignorantly mistaken. Brandon Tucker's article on "Help! Someone Hit My House" is sadly innacurate. It is most definetly the golfers responsibilty when he hits something or someone. Obviously not everyone knows this but a writer for a golf column should. I agree that many course side homeowners are ignorant to thier risks and what to expect from golfers. It is undeniably the golfers responsibility of what his actions do when banging their balls all over the place. If you don't like the risks or challenge of a course with homes close to the fairway, then go play in a cornfield where you belong. But if you hit my house, then you're damn sure going to pay for the damage (hence, the difference of being INbounds or OUT of bounds, you dumbass).
2004-11-15 @ 13:46
Comment from: Anonymous [Visitor]
It is the typical ignorance and greedy attitude of the 1st comment that is why we have so many lawyers and lawsuits. It is always someone else's fault. If you don't want the risk of a golf ball in your house, go live next to a park! A golf course is built for golf not bird watching. Your temper-tantrum of a comment shows off your true ignorance and errogance! Do as most people need to do; grow up and take responsibility for your actions. If you move into tornado alley and your house gets destroyed are you going to sue mother nature? Don't live on a course if you are not willing to deal with what you knew BEFORE you moved in! The recreational golfer is not the dumbass, you are my friend.
2004-11-15 @ 14:34
Comment from: [Visitor]
There are guidelines on how far away housing lots should be from the centerline of a golf hole. If this is followed, then the odds of an accident just follow the good old natural law of simple bad luck. Nobody's fault.
2004-11-15 @ 16:30
Comment from: [Visitor]
"It is the golfer's responsibility when he hits something or someone" is a ridiculous statement that implies you golfers can actually hit a target when you want to. If that were the case, you'd all be shooting par.
2004-11-15 @ 19:46
Comment from: Anonymous [Visitor]
I live on a course, albeit our homes are constructed so that it is very rare for one to be hit. My house is on the right side 280 yards from the blue tees and 80 yards from the center of the FW. I've had only a couple of balls in the yard in the year I've lived there.

Now, based on quite a bit of research I've, the fact is that in some states the golfer is responsible for damage. It can also depend on whether the home or the course was on the books as in development first. Where I live, the golfer is not responsible although I would offer to pay the deductible out of my pocket because I feel like it is the correct thing to do.

As I have told other homeowners in our community though, "You live on a golf course. Your house will get hit with a ball. Get over it."
2004-12-02 @ 10:02
Comment from: the hack [Visitor]
Was this a major issue before the juiced balls, titanium drivers, graphite heads, and all the other recent technological impreovements which allow even the worst "hack" to hit with power and wreak devastation upon the poor golf course dwellers?
Maybe the PGA can jump on the steriod bandwagon (lots of publicity) and have mandatory drug testing prior to teeing off.
2004-12-17 @ 18:49
Comment from: snowqueenmaria [Visitor]
If you hit my house with a golfball, I hope you will knock on my door and pay.
Show me the money...
2004-12-18 @ 21:39
Comment from: ihatewhinnybitches [Visitor]
Does she complain about her hubby's golf "balls" hitting her
the house too??
2004-12-28 @ 11:20
Comment from: move_the_tee_box_position [Visitor]
I live on a private course and must say it's rare when a member hits the house... but when the club holds functions.. LOOK OUT! I blame the club for their ignorant placement of the tee box / stance. Move one of the tee box stand guides foward or back so the potential projectile will not be armed and ready to explode.
2006-07-21 @ 12:59
Comment from: Visitor [Visitor]
My son was taken golfing by his girlfriends father as a thank you for some work he had done. While golfing my son hit and broke a window of one of the million plus $ homes surounding the course. The owner came out, my son appologized. The owner told him he was responsible for the replacement of the $500 dollar window that has been broken 5 times so far this year. If you can afford to buy or build a million dollar home why to you need to do it on a goldf course? My son will no longer be able to play considering that he can't afford to replace $500 windows. Some may say he shouldn't be golfing then, but how does one learn?!?!?
2007-08-08 @ 18:32
Comment from: Joe [Visitor] Email
how about plexiglass windows after the first time it gets knocked out?
2008-03-27 @ 15:47
Comment from: Tina [Visitor] Email
How about when a golf course moves in right next to you? I have a ten acre lot which a golf course decided to plant its course right next to. I have about 50 feet from the side of my house that adjoins hole 6. as well as another hole is in the front. My kids cannot even play in the yard as golf balls come flying into it. I have found 38 balls in just one weekend coming into my yard. Who's responsibility is it when my children are hurt by disrespectful golfers who act such as this?
2008-05-07 @ 15:19
Comment from: Ryan [Visitor] Email
I think that the answer to the question "Who is responsible?" is pretty clear:

Situation #1. If a golf course is built AFTER a house, then it should be the GOLF COURSE'S responsibility (as long as the home owner did not have notice that the golf course was going to be built). Tina, you should call an attorney (there should be a trial lawyer's association in your state) and have him or her contact the golf course as soon as possible. Not only should the owner of the course pay for any damage, but the course should also pay for erecting any fences or nets to protect your house and your children. The course should also be responsible for any property value loss caused by an ugly net in your back yard (but this could be offset if your property is worth more because of the golf course).

Situation #2. If a golf course is built BEFORE a house, then it should be the HOME OWNER'S responsibility. The owner clearly assumed this risk when the house was purchased. The owner is able to make changes on their property to minimize damage (planting trees, erecting nets or fences, or putting protective coverings over windows), which the player has no control over. The owner should have a home owner's insurance policy that will cover damage and, depending on the location of the house, a good window repairman.

Situation #3. If the golfer hit a house on purpose or was clearly negligent in some way, then the PLAYER should be responsible. I can't imagine that there would be many situations like this and even fewer that could be proved in a court. If a golfer was trying to hit a house, then the player should be responsible. If a golfer did something negligent, then the player should also be responsible. What would be a negligent golf act? For example, I would think that it should be considered negligent if a ball lands out of bounds and the player hits the ball even though the house is directly in the golf ball’s intended trajectory. I don’t think that a court would ever find that a golfer was negligent as long as he or she was playing within the rules of the game of golf, even if the player was a terrible golfer.
2008-07-07 @ 13:56
Comment from: Ally [Visitor]
My family lives on a golf course and while the home has been hit numerous times, that's not our problem. It is the golfers who drive their carts onto our property to retrieve an "out-of-bounds" ball or drive the cart into our yard. Out of bounds is just that. Numerous of our sprinklers have been broken due to thei "poor" shots.
2008-07-09 @ 17:53
Comment from: Kelly Campbell [Visitor] Email
I completely agree with the first person. If I break someone's window or damage their house it is my responsibility to pay for it. Saying that the homeonwer should pay for damage to their property because of someone else's bad shot is ridiculous. That is like saying if a car crashes through your home-you shouldn't have picked that lot for your house. If every one would just man (or woman) up and take responsibility for their actions then we would not be having this discussion. Living on a golf course you can expect to have some stray balls, but you also should expect someone to pay for damage caused by them. If I build my house ON the golf course then I pay for the damage. You hit your ball into my house (not part of the golf course) - YOU PAY!!!!!!
2009-03-04 @ 18:10
Comment from: Jen Hess [Visitor] Email
I agree that if you purchase a home on a golf course you should expect to have a golf ball in your yard or hit your house if you are in the line of fire (so to speak). However, I purchased a house that is across the street from a course. Granted, it is an established course and my home was built years after the course was made but there is a busy main street that separates us. Should I still expect to find golf balls in my yard or hitting my home? My children cannot use our yard to play and visitors have been hit by balls. Calling the club's house has done nothing. What should my next step be? I only asked for the club to put up nets to prevent further damage or injury, but they claimed that their members do not pay to view nets. I don't believe they pay to view my house that has been riddled with holes!
2009-05-10 @ 16:40
Comment from: Louis [Visitor] Email
I too live on a house that's not on a golf course but across the street from one. When I purchased the house I didn't think many golf balls would hit our house based on trusting the design of the golf course. I was wrong. We get hit up to 5 times in a day based on the number of balls we collect in our yard. I wish we would have been warned of all the damage done to our house from golf balls before we purchased it. Isn't this something that needs to be disclosed before selling a house? I am getting ready to sell the house and find a safer place for my family.
2009-06-22 @ 15:08
Comment from: LC [Visitor] Email
Guys, this isn't a brain teaser. If you hit & damage
someone's property with a ball (golf ball, baseball, cannon ball, etc) for whatever reason, it's your fault. If you're hitting someone's window who lives 250 yards away, and 130 degrees off the intended trajectory, you would be well advised to find another hobby for yourself. Or, be prepared to pay for the destruction you cause.
2009-09-14 @ 11:01
Comment from: Passerby [Visitor] Email
I would like to see actual written case law that states who is and isn't responsible for shanked balls. I was driving by a course on the California coast (on my way to wedding) and a ball smacked into my car, breaking the fiber glass top of the head light. I didn't have time to stop and confront the golfer as the wedding was going to start in 30 minutes. I later called the course/club manager who was extremely polite and professional, and informed him of the incident. He told me that legally the golfer is responsible but he was going to mail a claim form to my house 200 miles away.

I am just looking for more clarification on the whole concept of liability of bad shots/mishaps.

Thanks all....
2009-09-29 @ 15:39
Comment from: AuntDeb [Visitor] Email
If you have two cars out on the road, one car hits the other...is the driver of the car that got hit responsible for incurring the cost of the damage because it was silly enough to be out on the road with the other car? Certainly not. Drivers of cars OR golf balls are responsible for staying in their own lane. If one strays from their lane and causes damage the one who strays is financially responsible for the damage. It's just that simple.
2009-11-13 @ 10:30
Comment from: golf lawyer [Visitor] Email
There is plenty of case law dealing with sports and torts that will support the fact that a golfer who damages property or person as a result of his or her shot is liable for the damage. Assumption of the risk rarely applies to a homeowner who purchased the property, although it does apply to spectators and other participants. At the end of the day, there is no difference in someone dinging another persons car in a parking lot, the person who did the damage is ultimately responsible and cannot argue that the other person assumed the risk by parking in a shopping mall parking lot. People need to take responsibility for their actions. The reason it is a called a hazard rather than an obstacle is that it is a "hazard" and should be avoided. However, today's wannabe tiger golfer arrogantly think that they are better than they really are and aim over hazards or houses rather than around. The game of golf is about control and responsible shooting. To argue anything else is childish and moronic.
2010-01-25 @ 07:01
Comment from: Todd Fallquist [Visitor] Email
*****
So you go to a baseball game and Alex hits a foul ball into the stands and Alex is responsible for the damage? I seriously don’t think so... Negligence is the key word in this debate...
2011-01-13 @ 13:08
Comment from: Chuck J [Visitor] Email
*----
So if I shank a shot into the next fairway, hit you in the head and put you in the hospital for a couple of months you would consider it your fault for being on a golf course? My guess is all these people blaming the home owner would be racing to the nearest ambulance chasing lawyer to sue the guy that hit the golf ball.
2011-04-04 @ 14:16
Comment from: ed [Visitor] Email
****-
You can rant and rave all you want about it but I can tell you I live on a GC and the house gets hit a lot. No one has ever knocked on my door or left a note. In fact just today I had a ball hit the tile roof (which of course breaks them) and I watched it run down off my screen room onto the grass. The golfer initially drove by then doubled back to get his ball. I made a comment "great shot right off the roof" and the reply was F U. There is no way you're going to stand ouot there and collect monies, just not going to happen. When I get my screen room repaired about every 9 months its several hundred dollars as is the the roof every couple of years. Personnally I think that monies should be built into the cost of playing golf and the course should make the repairs for the homeowner. And my final comment to those talkng about it being my fault because I put a house here, all I can say is if you can't hit the damn ball straight, don't play the game.
2011-05-30 @ 05:35
Comment from: HappyGilmore [Visitor]
***--
Golfers will hit poor shots. Period.
Homes in a golfing community will get hit. Period.

Solution: It's only apt if insurance is included in the green fees.
2011-09-19 @ 06:22
Comment from: HappyGilmore [Visitor]
****-







Golf and the Law
(based on California law)
(updated 9-30-02)

Recently, my friend broke his hand while playing golf. He had just teed off on the first hole, hitting a beautiful drive 225 yards straight down the middle of the first fairway. As he was preparing to hit his second shot, a hooked tee shot from the parallel tenth hole (separated by a line of trees from the first hole) drilled my friend's left hand, smashing his hand into his five iron which he was about to swing, shattering a few random bones.

Does he have a claim for damages against the golfer hitting the destructive drive from the tenth tee?

No. With almost an identical factual situation, a California appellate court in Dilger v. Moyles (54. Cal. App. 4th, 1997) held that errant or missed golf shots are an inherent risk of the sport of golf and a co-participant in a sport generally has no duty to protect other participants against risks inherent in a sport. Or in the court's own language, "Hitting a golf ball at a high rate of speed involves the very real possibility that the ball will take flight in an unintended direction. If every ball behaved as the golfer wished, there would be little "sport" in the sport of golf. That shots go awry is a risk that all golfers, even the professionals, assume when they play."

Would it make any difference if the golfer with the hooked drive failed to yell "fore" if aware that my friend was in the path of his errant drive?

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is emphatically "no." Again in Dilger, the court concludes that golf etiquette doesn't rise to a level of a duty. In golf, like other sports having inherent risks assumed by a participant, a co-participant is not liable to another participant for his activities unless he intentionally injuries another player or engages in reckless conduct totally outside the range of ordinary activity for the sport. And, the court determines that the failure to yell "fore" does not constitute such reckless or intentional conduct.

Ever wonder if the golf course would be liable to a golfer injured by his or another player's ball ricochetting off a yardage marker?

No, stated the appellate court recently in American Golf v. Becker (79 Cal. App. 4th, 2000). A golfer's ball was located about 5 to 15 yards behind and about 5 to 10 yards to the right of a removable 200 yard upright wooden distance marker. The golfer's partner was seated in their golf cart slightly right of the golfer's ball and about 10 yards behind the ball.

As you suspected, the golfer hooked his ball to the left, hitting the distance marker which caused the ball to ricochet, hitting his partner seated in the golf cart in the eye and causing serious injury. The injured golfer sought damages against the golf course claiming that the assumption of risk defense was not applicable because the course was defectively designed in its use of wooden yardage markers (in lieu of alternative forms of distance markers, e.g., flat plate markers), therefore increasing the risk to golfers beyond the risks inherent in the sport of golf.

The appellate court upheld a summary judgment for the defendant golf course, upholding the trial court's decision that defective design was not a triable issue of fact. Quoting the court,

The duty of a golf course towards a golfer is to provide a reasonably safe golf course. This duty requires the golf course owner to minimize the risks without altering the nature of the sport. Thus the owner of a golf course has an obligation to design a golf course to minimize the risk that players will be hit by golf balls, e.g., by the way the various tees, fairways and greens are aligned or separated. In certain areas of the golf course, because of the alignment or separation of the tee, fairway and/or greens, the golf course owner may also have a duty to provide protection for players from being hit with golf balls where the greatest danger exists and where such an occurrence is reasonably to be expected. . . Golf course's yardage marker system utilizing three visible wooden posts on each side of the fairway is found on 20 to 25 percent of the nation's golf courses. Thus yardage markers are an integral part of the sport of golf, and the yardage marker system used at golf course is standard in the industry. Obstacles, both fixed and removable, are also an integral part of the sport of golf. Because errant shots are an inherent risk of golf and errant shots by definition take flight in unintended directions, golf involves a very real possible that a player will hook or slice a part, the ball will strike a hard obstacle, and the ball will ricochet forcibly. Of course, the risk of ricochet is dramatically reduced where the obstacle in question is removable at the option of the players, if it is in the line of play and poses a danger.... [Golfer] was injured because [his partner] hooked his shot and struck a removable obstacle, which was not in the line of play and had not been removed....Accordingly, golf course had no duty to protect [golfer] from the inherent risk of being hit by an errant shot, and the primary assumption of risk doctrine bars [injured golfer's] action.

And even more recently in Lyons v. City of Los Angeles (2001 Cal. App. Unpub, LEXIS 1850), the appellate court dealt with a rather strange occurrence on the golf course using the principles set forth in American Golf. Lyons, a scratch golfer and a twice a week regular at the Rancho Park Golf Course, a course owned by the City of Los Angeles and considered one of the busiest courses in the nation, apparently anxious to commence her round, teed off in advance of her scheduled tee time with only one other player, even though she knew that starters at this course seldom if ever permitted less than three golfers to commence a round and that a twosome would be completed with persons from the waiting list.

The twosome that was to join her, upon arriving at the tee were told by other golfers waiting to play that the other two players in their group had just teed off. Consequently, the remaining twosome immediately teed off, and, of course, Lyons some one hundred yards down the fairway behind a tree got hit and severely injured by a hooked tee shot from the catching up twosome, even though "fore" was yelled by several persons.

Lyon attempted to circumvent the primary assumption of risk defense utilized by the golf course, by claiming that the golf course had created risks beyond the inherent risks in the sport of golf by failing to have a greeter at the first tee to regulate play. And apparently, Rancho Park Golf Course usually had a greeter at the first tee in addition to the starter located in a booth some 75 yards from the first tee.

The court, however, in upholding the grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Los Angeles at trial, stated,

She claims the absence of a greeter increased her risk. On the contrary, Lyons was playing at a course she played often, where foursomes were the norm. When she teed off, there was a threesome in front of her and [other golfer in her group] and a foursome behind them. Her tee time was at 6:12am. The evidence shows she teed off early. Her assertion that she was simply obeying course rules concerning pace of play misses the point. She made the decision to tee off. If, as her testimony suggests, there was, as there should have been, a question in her mind about the propriety of teeing off as a twosome, the starter's window was 75 yards away. She did not check with the starter. Accordingly, when she teed off, she fully assumed the risk of teeing off early, knowing her start time had not arrived, At that point, there was distinct possibility, if not probability, that her foursome, or at least a threesome, would subsequently be completed.

Is the golfer or the course liable for golfer's errant shot striking a person in the backyard of a house adjacent to the golf course?

In Hernandez v. Ong (2002 Cal App. Unpub LEXIS 3633) decided in February, 2002, the court absolved both the golfer and the golf course for such injury. The court essentially finds that a person living in a course adjacent house is to be treated like a spectator at a sporting event, i.e., as a participant in the sport subjecting himself to "certain risks necessarily and usually incident to and inherent in the game." The court states,

We also conclude the assumption of risk doctrine as applied to spectators at a sporting event also applies to those who occupy houses adjacent to existing golf courses...Although not a spectator of the golf being played, one who moves into a house that is adjacent to an existing golf course chooses, as a spectator does, to participate in the benefits of the golf courses' pastoral setting and accepts the inherent dangers of such participation. So long as the course has been designed and maintained as a reasonably safe golf course consistent with the risks inherent in the sport, the course will have no liability to an adjacent homeowner. Similarly, if the resident of a golf course adjacent house is viewed as a participant in the sport, then the golfer hitting the errant ball is free from liability, as mishit golf shots are an inherent part of the sport.
2011-09-19 @ 06:29
Comment from: golf las vegas [Visitor]
*****
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2011-11-04 @ 01:44
Comment from: Bobby Joe [Visitor]
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All good comments but here is my take: whether you built a house before or after a course was put in doesn't matter. Bottomline: The Golfer, Home Owner and Golf Course all share responsibility. Golfers need to golf responsibly. Do not to drive shots or try shots well outside your ability, especially when you have a chance to hit a home. Also, you break someone's window then own up to it. No different than if you are shagging baseball hits out in the back yard and you hit your neighbors window - remember what you teach your kids...responsibility.

Home owners on Golf Courses have a responsibility to design their homes with considerations to the directions balls are hit from. I wouldn't build a house with big expensive windows on the side where golf balls are being hit from nor put in a bunch of solar panels on my roof. Don't force bad design on a golf course just because you think you can.

Golf Course management has a responsibility to ensure course layout does not contribute to bad placed shots and homes. They should also try to provide natural screening, shrubs and trees, around houses that are at potential risk.

Everyone should take responsibility to limit the issue and stop looking to blame each other.
2012-06-10 @ 06:35
Comment from: johjohn [Visitor]
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You should all really be getting mad at the developer who, rather than providing a clear and sizable boundry between the courses and houses decided to save money and build them back to back.

Houses and flying hard balls mix about as well as pepperspray and eyeballs.
And no matter how much you rant about controlling the golfball realistally a certain number always get sliced like crazy. Any of you who think otherwise just forgot how bad you were the first few years you played.
2013-04-06 @ 10:38
Comment from: Joe Sherard [Visitor] Email
**---
I get so SICK of these people saying if you build a house next to a golf course it is your responsibility for damage. My street dead ends into a golf course . My front and back yards are parallel with the golf course and I lived here years and years before they even thought about building the golf course which is city owned. I'm old ,disabled and live on a fixed income. The last damage I substained is extensive. Body and window damage to my truck which I don't know how much my insurance will cover. If I could afford to move I would.
2013-07-13 @ 20:58
Comment from: Stan Pulver [Visitor]
I know now that golf balls are as dangerous as a bullet. Shooting ranges need to be 500 YARDS away from any house yet the idiots who allowed home to be built around golf courses never got the same idea. American Greed is why they don't care as my house gets the blame. I will also say as a non golfer I was totally unaware how much destruction this house would be subjected to.
2013-08-09 @ 05:00
Comment from: Mike [Visitor]
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This is pretty simple people. Common courtesy and good manners dictate that you should offer to pay if you break a homeowner's window or cause any significant damage while golfing. I understand that people living on a course should expect balls in their yards, and the occasional ball bouncing off their house, especially with the way some courses are laid out, but they shouldn't have to expect broken windows. Accidents happen, and if I broke a window while golfing you can be damn sure I'd find that homeowner or leave a note and offer to pay for it. Just today I was out in a foursome and my partner put just a bit too much fire behind his drive and overshot the landing zone and hit a house. He ddn't break any windows (just ricocheted off the brick side of the house) but he still felt bad about it. Had it been a window he said he would have offered to pay for it.
This isn't rocket science guys and gals!
2013-08-30 @ 22:37
Comment from: Daddy Octavius [Visitor]
*----
OK. If you're that lousy at golf that you can't hit the F'ing ball straight maybe you should practice some before screwing up people's windows and injuring them. And some golfers who hit their shit into your backyard have the nerve to ask for their ball back. This is ridiculous. Golf is a gentleman's sport; yall need to start playing like gentlemen and not rude gorillas.
2013-12-14 @ 12:26
Comment from: Crotch-monkious Maximus [Visitor]
*----
It is simple tort liability law. You cause damage, you are responsible.

Only an entitlement mentality moron would think they could damage someone else's property and the person who owned the property that they damaged would be responsible.

Frankly, if you think otherwise then you are an idiot.
2014-01-23 @ 07:11

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