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600 Golf Balls in Your Back Yard = $5 Million


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Erik and Athina Tenczar say they lived in fear due to wayward shots —at least 651 of them in four years — coming from Indian Pond Country Club duffers.

I looked at the course on Google Earth and I'm a bit surprised that so many balls are finding their way into their yard on that hole:

A Massachusetts couple won a verdict worth nearly $5 million against a local country club after suffering from the years-long, "continuous threat" of wayward golf balls struck by hackers.

A Plymouth County Superior Court jury awarded Erik and Athina Tenczar $4.93 million in December, finding that Indian Pond Country Club was at fault for not protecting the couple's home from a constant barrage of bad golfing, court records showed.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
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1 minute ago, iacas said:
 

I looked at the course on Google Earth and I'm a bit surprised that so many balls are finding their way into their yard on that hole:

 

I saw this and thought the same thing, but I think I saw in the article that it mentioned that they moved the hole, so maybe we're looking at the new layout and not the old.  But I always thought that living next to the golf course, you assumed the risks, but maybe it's different in Mass. I wonder if the course will prevail in an appeal?

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9 minutes ago, iacas said:

I looked at the course on Google Earth and I'm a bit surprised that so many balls are finding their way into their yard on that hole:

I thought the same thing. 

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I think this kind of sets a bad precedence. I kind of thought only golfers or at least golf fans wanted to live on a golf course. You'd think a golfer would look at the location of their home and make a decision based on what they know about golf. When my wife and I built a home on a golf course, we built on the tee-box of a par 5, because we wanted to be on the golf course, but not get hit by balls. We really loved living there and enjoyed playing the course starting on hole 11 and ending at our house. 

The biggest issue we ever had was with guys screaming profanity or pissing in clear view of our back deck. Having said that, the positives totally out-weighed the negatives. That course hosted high-school tournaments all the time and we could sit out on our deck and watch them. We could also walk the cart path back to the club house and either get take out, or have dinner in the bar and grill which actually had very good food. 

Over all, there are pluses and minus to any home purchases and these people should have known better. The only exception in my mind would have been if the course was built after they moved there. Otherwise, didn't they notice the golf course when they bought the house? 5 million is way way way too much. IMO. 

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9 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I kind of thought only golfers or at least golf fans wanted to live on a golf course.

Not accurate, no. I know a ton of people who want to live on a golf course who couldn't care much less about golf.

They get a manicured back yard area on which they know more houses won't be built and which will be maintained and pretty to look at, without loud neighbors or even just woods/forest where kids can go to have parties, bad people can sneak up to their house, etc.

Also, the course predictably is still fighting:

http://www.golfdisputeresolution.com/?p=7699

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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My biggest complaint about living in that house would be the lack of premium balls that made it into their possession. No wonder they got 5 million. 🤣

I am certain this gets appealed.  

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29 minutes ago, iacas said:

Not accurate, no. I know a ton of people who want to live on a golf course who couldn't care much less about golf.

Fair enough. 

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Obviously lawyers and judges would know better than me, but I kind of disagree with the club being at fault here.   If there was a settlement with the builder I think that's more appropriate.  I would hope that any settlement would include doing something to better protect the house (net, plant trees, etc).

The house was new construction, the golf course pre-dated it.   I don't see why the golf course should have to change anything, legally (ethically I think they should try and be good neighbors).   The company that did the building should have taken this into account, IMO.   Or if they used a realtor to secure the property, the realtor should have known better.   Part of selling a home/lot is taking these things into account so that buyers can decide if something bothers them or not.

That said, did the club make reasonable accommodations to try and help the problem?   They can pass a local rule stating that you cannot play that way and adjust the out of bounds accordingly.  (I've played a couple of places that have done that for safety reasons, it doesn't stop everyone but you could certainly enforce in tournaments and a lot of people would listen.  ).  Could you plant a couple of trees to block that line?   The story doesn't give enough details.   Also, perhaps the homeowner should try plexiglass or something stronger.   I fail to see what an almost $5M judgement does on a $750K home, that's really out of line even with how it's affected them personally.

Also 651 balls over that period of time is not a huge number.  Depending on how the builder and the country club reacted, I understand going to court, that's what they are for.   But this seems excessive.

—Adam

 

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(edited)
1 hour ago, iacas said:

I looked at the course on Google Earth and I'm a bit surprised that so many balls are finding their way into their yard on that hole:

Yeah. I guess if players are taking an aggressive line, and maybe hit a pull, hook or pull hook, but the ball still needs to go around 250 yards and not get bumped by any of the trees between the tee area and their yard.

31 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

But this seems excessive.

I feel like a reasonable ask for the homeowners would be for damages, maybe some compensation for distress, and requiring the club to install some sort of obstruction along the left side of the teeing area like a fence or tall tree line that eliminates that line of play. Maybe they approached the club and asked for this and got turned down, so they went to court.

Edited by Darkfrog

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7 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

Yeah. I guess if players are taking an aggressive line, and maybe hit a pull, hook or pull hook, but the ball still needs to go around 250 yards and not get bumped by any of the trees between the tee area and their yard.

They should sue TaylorMade. Most aggressive hooks are with TaylorMade drivers. It all started with their RocketBallz campaign of 17 more yards! 🤪

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27 minutes ago, TourSpoon said:

 

They should sue TaylorMade. Most aggressive hooks are with TaylorMade drivers. It all started with their RocketBallz campaign of 17 more yards! 🤪

When I post my swing videos I will have empirical evidence that TaylorMade drivers don't necessarily cause most aggressive hooks!

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I have no sympathy for these people. Their builder probably had to clear out bushels of golf balls when prepping the lot. They should also be included in the blame here. But FFS, you bought a house on a course! WTF were you thinking?

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23 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

I have no sympathy for these people. Their builder probably had to clear out bushels of golf balls when prepping the lot. They should also be included in the blame here. But FFS, you bought a house on a course! WTF were you thinking?

The article seems to mention that the family "settled with the builders, leaving Indian Pond Country Club as the sole defendant." 

Makes me wonder what the builder's settlement was, and if the golf course could have initially gotten in on that settlement? 

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From my experience living on a golf course, the houses that were built 150-220 yards out from the tee-box on the right hand side of the fairway caught far more balls than any of the rest of them. The course we lived on had a divorced dude with 2 huge rottweilers living on the property that was 150 to 220 off the tee on the right of number 17. That guy loved it. The course didn't allow physical fences. So, he had an invisible fence for his dogs. 

Almost nobody went in his yard to retrieve golf balls. He said the most common thing he heard out his back windows was "I'll just drop one here." 

Of course, he was a golfer and I think he may have had a small side business selling used golf balls. 

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Yes.. but $5 million??? Did someone die or get hurt?? How does the court come up with that kinda number in this instance??

Vishal S.

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6 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

Yes.. but $5 million??? Did someone die or get hurt?? How does the court come up with that kinda number in this instance??

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6 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

Yes.. but $5 million??? Did someone die or get hurt?? How does the court come up with that kinda number in this instance??

Just speculating, but maybe the club's lawyer(s) weren't very good/prepared for the case.

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16 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

Just speculating, but maybe the club's lawyer(s) weren't very good/prepared for the case.

I keep thinking about this story. 651 golf balls over 5 years, that's 130 golf balls per year. Let's assume you can get at least 8 months worth of golf in Massachusetts. That's like 240 days or so. Which means they get a golf ball on their property about every 1.8 days. 

I wonder if that rate slowed down or sped up during the pandemic? 

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