Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Help Me Howard: Golf Ball
Being on a golf course is a dream for many people, but living next to a golf course can be a nightmare when one of those wild golfers swings away damaging cars, houses and other property, but who has to pay for the damage, the golfer, the homeowner or the golf course. For the answer, lets bring in Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
There are millions of people who love to play golf, but there are very few people who are great at playing golf.
Laurie Landgrebe's front yard is proof of that.
Laurie Landgrebe: "These balls were all retrieved over the last couple of weeks from our front yard and various places."
Laurie lives on Alton Road across from the Miami Beach Golf Club, a city owned course each week she says five to 10 golf balls fly into her yard.
Laurie Landgrebe: "It's been kind of a running joke a little bit about the golf balls that we have that, you know, wind up in our yard."
But Laurie is not laughing anymore. In June, a golfer broke the rear window of her car. She paid to fix it. In July another wild golfer again broke the new window.
Laurie Landgrebe: "The fact that a ball could have reached our yard at the velocity and the strength to break a window was shocking."
The shattered windshields are just the latest golf ball damage. A bad golfer hit her house .
Laurie Landgrebe: "Nice little crack in the window."
And golfers who should probably be playing at a putt putt course have put dents in her car.
Laurie Landgrebe: "We're kind of right in the line of fire here."
So Laurie met with the head of the golf course to try to get them to pay the $1,623 for the two car windows. He was polite, sympathetic and then said we arent paying for the damage.
Laurie Landgrebe: "The course had no liability as it related to damage resulting from the course, but that the golfer himself would be liable."
Of course getting golfers who bust car windows to put down their clubs and stroll over with their checkbooks doesnt happen in the real world, and being told by the city to go track down the golfers really disappointed her.
Laurie Landgrebe: "Just felt that you know, the reaction and the lack of responsibiilty that the course and city was taking was surprising to me."
Laurie says the city should re-do the 8th tee where the balls come flying from or find a way to block the wild shots from bouncing onto Alton and into the neighborhood before.
Laurie Landgrebe: "This isn't about my window necessarily, it really is about what the next thing. There's no question that something will happen again, maybe not to this extend, maybe worse."
Laurie blames the city course for the damage. The course points the finger at the golfers, so Howard want to pull out a lawbook and stop the buck passing?
Howard Finkelstein: "The golfers are not responsible, but the course can be if they know that a lot of golf balls are flying off the course at a particular hole and they do nothing to fix it."
When we called the city they said Laurie did not formally fill out a claim form. Laurie thought meeting with the head of the golf course made her claim clear to the city
She then put her claim in writing a spokesman for the city did tell us since the golf club opened in 2002 this is only the second complaint they have received from a resident on Alton Road. The city also told us the are thinking about putting palms along Alton Road to block a few more balls.
Howard says that could be a smart move.
Howard Finkelstein: "Lets say a person or a car gets hit, the city can argue we put up trees to try to protect people and that might help them win a lawsuit."
Laurie is waiting to hear if the city will pay for the damage, but after battling them, she is not getting too hopeful.
Laurie Landgrebe: "Since I really haven't heard anything, I don't have a no that they're not going to do this. I've had a probably not. I haven't had an official no."
Patrick Fraser: "Why arent the golfers responsible if they damage someones property. According to the law hitting a bad shot is part of the game and is not considered negligence. Now, if some golfer has too many beers and wants to see how many moving cars he can hit with a bag of golf balls. Thats intentional and they have to pay for the damage, but a golfer would never do that. The balls are too expensive."
Lately your life filled with bogeys? Ready to iron out the problems? Swing over to us. You dont need a birdie to tell you of course we will have an answer."