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Houses Next to Course

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 

I played a course last week that has a couple of holes that dogleg and houses come into play if you try and cut it.  They have signs up that say, "Please don't cut the corner.  You are responsible for any damage caused by your golf ball."  I personally think this is bull$hit, in some cases.  At this place the course the course is much older than the houses.  If you build your house next to a golf course, especially on a hole where your house in in the middle of a straight line between the tee box and the green on a short dogleg, you should not be surprised if your house gets hit.

post #2 of 108

If the course was in place before the houses then the owner of the course is the one that a) established the lots for sale or b) authorized the developer to sell the lots.  I bought a home on an established golf course and was told not to worry that the lots were far enough away from the course for it to be an issue.  Then at closing I was asked to sign a document that held the course harmless should my home be damaged by a golf ball "just as a formality", but that it wasn't likely to ever happen.  Then we moved in and noticed our backyard would have a couple of golf balls in it every day.   I never had anything damaged, but the homeowners you're blaming likely we sold the same story I was. 

post #3 of 108

I hate houses on golf courses and owners who are surprised that a home on golf course could be hit by golf balls that can travel 300 yards (by some people anyway) and don't always go straight.  I hate home developers who build a golf course in the backyards strictly to raise the price of the homes with little regard for golfers or home owners.  In the end....go ahead and cut the corner.

post #4 of 108

Well all I can say to you fellows is if the houses were not there neither would the golf course be, even if the course was built first.  Why should you try to carry the corner if you're not skilled enough to do it 98 times out of 100?  If you are that good then it shouldn't be a problem for you  or the home owner and if you're not that good don't try because windows and stucco can be expensive.  The law most places is that if you knowingly aim a shot where it might do damage to people and/or property, you're responsible for the damage. 

post #5 of 108

One course I play at has a house that is missing several pieces of its siding. First hole,a 350 yard par 4 that pretty much requires a punch shot off of the tee box (trees hanging overhead about 120 yards ahead. Every hacker feels a need to shoot to the right, through some trees and over this house. (if they dont hit the house, their ball is inside a fenced in yard anyway.) I have yet to see anyone land in the fairway or on the green using this *shortcut.* I am shocked at the disregard for this persons house, since this is one of the few courses that I have played where the homeowners do not treat the golf course like an extension of their backyard. 

post #6 of 108

You can think whatever you want about it but you ARE responsible for any damage that an errant shot cause.  If you arent confident that you can make the shot, dont cut the corner.

post #7 of 108

There is a misconception among golfers that homeowners assume the liability by purchasing a home on a golf course but that simply is not true.  If you cause damage to their property, YOU, as the golfer, are responsible.  When you play a course lined with houses, you assume the liability if one of your balls happens to hit a house.

 

If you are not confident your game will minimize the risk of damaging a house, then you either need to play a different course that is in a natural setting or play very conservatively.  My "home" course's 9th hole has houses lining the fairway and green about 30' from the cart path.  I simply do not take risky shots and play the left side of the fairway even though the right side may result in fewer strokes.  My most conservative play is when I am playing holes lined with houses because I do not feel like forking out money for repairs, and my ethics would not allow me to run away from damage like I have seen so many other golfers do.

post #8 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by GJBenn85 View Post

There is a misconception among golfers that homeowners assume the liability by purchasing a home on a golf course but that simply is not true.  If you cause damage to their property, YOU, as the golfer, are responsible.  When you play a course lined with houses, you assume the liability if one of your balls happens to hit a house.

 

If you are not confident your game will minimize the risk of damaging a house, then you either need to play a different course that is in a natural setting or play very conservatively.  My "home" course's 9th hole has houses lining the fairway and green about 30' from the cart path.  I simply do not take risky shots and play the left side of the fairway even though the right side may result in fewer strokes.  My most conservative play is when I am playing holes lined with houses because I do not feel like forking out money for repairs, and my ethics would not allow me to run away from damage like I have seen so many other golfers do.




I used to play a course that has houses that line the right side of the 1st hole and are only about 20' to the right of the tee box.  My usual miss is a push to the right, which was the cause of quite a few nervous, tense tee shots on the first hole. 

I would always aim way left just incase I got a little quick on the top of my backswing and hit one dead right.  I'll gladly take hitting my 2nd shot out of the rough over hearing smashing glass and having to jump the fence and knock on a door to tell someone that I was sorry for breaking their window.

post #9 of 108

I beg to differ.  Look up case law on assumption of risk.[below]  A previous post spoke of the course having home owners sign hold harmlesses....This is a headfake by them trying to protect their poor planning..Simply put if you are dumb enough to have a house on a dogleg that puts your house potentially in the line of fire, you the homeowner have assumed that risk.  If you wanna stop golfers from cutting the corner, install a big fence if the course would allow it. If there was a serious situation like a teeball hit a sunbathing homeowner in the head and blinded them, the course would be the guilty party not the striker of the shot.  Bad course design is the standard for initiating such suits

 

.http://www.cohenandcohen.net/news/Daily_Record_Golf_070608.pdf 

 

 

post #10 of 108

Assumption of risk is not all-encompassing.  If it were, no one would ever be held liable for a car accident and many other scenarios we willingly enter into every day.  IMO, assumption of risk of personal injury while attending a golf event or while on golf course property (as occurred in each scenario in the above article) is a little different than a homeowner assuming the risk of errant shots when they're not even technically on the golf course.  I recall reading one case law where a person was hit in the head by a soccer ball while on a field; if the same person had been standing in an adjacent parking lot and was hit in the head, it would not be an assumed risk because one would not expect to be hit in the head while off the field.  Homeowners living adjacent to a golf course are no different in my opinion.

post #11 of 108

That case doesn't directly apply. Hitting someone who is playing the game is a lot different than hitting a ball onto private property and causing damage. It depends a bit on your state but there is a lot of cases where the golfer was required to pay. And several states that have stated its your fault for buying a house on a golf course.

 

The real problem is the design of these courses. Way too many of them are too narrow with houses way too close to the field of play.

post #12 of 108
Thread Starter 

I have played many courses where a road is next to a hole.  So if we went by your soccer situation.....if I tee off and hit someone in the head walking down the road, they would not assume any risk, even thought the fairway is a mere 30 yards away?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GJBenn85 View Post

Assumption of risk is not all-encompassing.  If it were, no one would ever be held liable for a car accident and many other scenarios we willingly enter into every day.  IMO, assumption of risk of personal injury while attending a golf event or while on golf course property (as occurred in each scenario in the above article) is a little different than a homeowner assuming the risk of errant shots when they're not even technically on the golf course.  I recall reading one case law where a person was hit in the head by a soccer ball while on a field; if the same person had been standing in an adjacent parking lot and was hit in the head, it would not be an assumed risk because one would not expect to be hit in the head while off the field.  Homeowners living adjacent to a golf course are no different in my opinion.



 

post #13 of 108
Thread Starter 

Also, in my opinion, a lot of the homeowners are really dumb for buying a house on a golf course.  Well, I should say some courses.  I know of people that have forked over half a million for a house on a golf course.  Too bad it was a crappy course that cost less than $40 to play a round with a cart on weekends. 

post #14 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by funkyfred72 View Post

I have played many courses where a road is next to a hole.  So if we went by your soccer situation.....if I tee off and hit someone in the head walking down the road, they would not assume any risk, even thought the fairway is a mere 30 yards away?
 



 

 

It is hard to imagine that the person passing by would be responsible. Here in Finland the course pays, that is why they have a covering insurance for (by law). Also every golfer has been insured, either by the national golfing association or by the course.

 

I have played various courses where you may hit a passing car or even a train. This could lead to fatalities and the player is certainly not responsible but the course.
 

 

post #15 of 108
Thread Starter 


So I could be standing by the clubhouse, on golf course property, 100 yards away from the nearest hole.  I should assume risk of possibly getting hit for simply being on the course?  How could someone not assume risk for walking 30 yards from a fairway even though it is not golf course property?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignorant View Post



 

It is hard to imagine that the person passing by would be responsible. Here in Finland the course pays, that is why they have a covering insurance for (by law). Also every golfer has been insured, either by the national golfing association or by the course.

 

I have played various courses where you may hit a passing car or even a train. This could lead to fatalities and the player is certainly not responsible but the course.
 

 



 

post #16 of 108

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkyfred72 View Post

So I could be standing by the clubhouse, on golf course property, 100 yards away from the nearest hole.  I should assume risk of possibly getting hit for simply being on the course?  How could someone not assume risk for walking 30 yards from a fairway even though it is not golf course property?


Someone walking on the street may not know the likelihood of a ball coming out of the course.  They might reasonably (for someone who's not played the game) assume that courses are layed out with enough margin that balls don't leave the course.  Heck, they might not even be aware that there's a golf course there (e.g., if there are trees obscuring the view).

 

As mentioned in the PDF file linked above, it's impossible to give a blanket answer to the "who is responsible" case.  It depends strongly on where you're located and the details of the situation. The "Course not responsible" type signs generally don't hold legal power---local laws and the court would generally have to decide that, the course can't simply disclaim responsibility. 

 

However, those notices *can* be legally significant in terms of advising the golfer of risks.  In this case, with a sign warning you not to cut the corner, you might well be responsible if you chose to ignore that advice because you'd been made aware of the particular risk.  It's along the lines of choosing to tee off when you see someone standing 100 yards in front of you.  Of course, it might be difficult to prove that you intentionally aimed, but it really depends on the situation.

post #17 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by funkyfred72 View Post


So I could be standing by the clubhouse, on golf course property, 100 yards away from the nearest hole.  I should assume risk of possibly getting hit for simply being on the course?  How could someone not assume risk for walking 30 yards from a fairway even though it is not golf course property?
 



 

 

I assume you are serious in presenting that question so I'll address it.

 

A person walking on a public road is not responsible of anything else than what he is doing and causing. If a stone from a nearby construction site due to an explosion would land on this person's head, would he be liable as he knew the site was nearby? What if he did not know that?

 

Think again.
 

 

post #18 of 108

The following is interesting from Arizona and Colorado:

 

 

Arizona Real Estate Law

by Christopher A. Combs
The following is for informational purposes only and is not intended as definitive legal or tax advice. You should not act upon this information without seeking independent legal counsel. If you desire legal, tax or other professional advice, please contact your attorney, tax advisor or other professional consultant.

Golfers not Liable for Personal or Property Damage Caused to Golf Course Residents

Question: In a recent column you stated that a golfer generally has no liability for personal injury or property damage to a homeowner who lives on a golf course. I was surprised by your statement as a golfer, like any other person, should be responsible for his actions. In the basic law classes that I have taken I was taught that the person who did the damage is responsible to the injured party. Under your logic, a dog owner is not responsible for his dog biting an individual because the individual should know that dogs bite. Taken to the extreme, if you attend a Phoenix Suns game and are attacked in the stands by one of the players, the player has no liability because you now know from watching NBA basketball on T.V. that you can be attacked in the stands by a player. Is there a statute that states that golfers, unlike everybody else, are not responsible for their actions?

Answer: There are no applicable statues, and therefore common law, i.e., judicial decisions, controls. Under common law a home built on a golf course “comes to the danger”, and therefore only under extreme circumstances is a golfer liable for property damage to the home, such as a broken window. Similarly, if you park your car next to a baseball field, a baseball team generally has no liability if your car is dented by a foul ball. In regard to personal injury, a golfer generally has no liability for any personal injury caused to the homeowner. In certain circumstance, however, there may be liability for personal injury. For example, if the golfer sees the homeowner sitting by the swimming pool, and the homeowner is within the golfer’s “zone of danger,” the golfer would have an obligation to shout “Fore” before striking the golf ball.

Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs is a partner with the firm of Combs Law Group, P.C. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

 

 

THE LAW OF ERRANT GOLF BALLS

by Denver University Law Professor Jan Laitos 

 

This article appeared in 9News@ Issue on August 26, 2001 and is reprinted with permission from 9 news.

 

Who is responsible when a golfer in Colorado hits a golf ball into an adjoining street and hits a car? Is the golfer negligent, and liable, for injuries and damage caused by errant golf balls?
The law in Colorado is similar to the law in other states with respect to liability to one struck by golf balls. The general rule is that the mere fact that a person is struck by a golf ball driven by one playing a game of golf does NOT constitute proof of negligence on the part of the golfer who hit the ball. The golfer is only required to exercise what is called "ordinary care" for the safety of persons and property reasonably within the range of danger of being struck by the ball.
 
Although a golfer about to hit a ball must, in the exercise of ordinary care, give an adequate and timely warning to those who are unaware of the golfer's intention to play, and who may be endangered by the play, this duty does not extend to those persons who are not in the "line of play." Cars driving alongside a golf course are typically not within the line of play. Houses alongside a course are usually not within the line of play.
 
The real issue is whether danger to other golfers, cars, or property would reasonably be anticipated. Where a person is in a location where that person should be reasonably safe from the danger of being struck by a golfer's shot, there is usually no duty on the part of the golfer to warn, since an audible warning would be superfluous. The question, of course, is whether a street adjacent to a golf course, or a house built on a golf course, should be considered a location reasonably safe from the danger of being struck by an errant golf shot.
 
Although most golf courses disclaim liability for errant golf shots from their courses, the golf course owner may be held liable for injuries to a person struck by a golf ball if there was a failure to exercise ordinary care to see that the course was maintained in a reasonably safe condition. This may involve how the course is laid out, the condition of the grounds, the manner in which the course is being operated, and the number of incidents involving golf balls that hit cars, houses, or other people.
 
Colorado law is limited here, but it generally is that a golfer has a duty to warn only those persons within the "foreseeable ambit of danger of his intention to strike the ball." The factual question is: where is the foreseeable ambit of danger? Is an adjoining street within the ambit of danger?  Colorado law also provides that "to hold a golfer negligent merely because his golf ball did not travel in the direction he intended, would be imposing a greater duty of care on the golfer than is realistic." Many golfers would agree with this statement.
 
REFERENCES
Knittle v. Miller, 709 P.2d 32 (Colo. App. 1985) Page v. Unterreiner, 106 S.W.2d 528 (Mo. App. 1937) Allen v. Pinewood Country Club, 292 So. 2d 786 (La. App. 1974)
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