Question: My home is located near the tee box of the first hole of a local golf course. Periodically (but very infrequently) an errant golf ball strikes my house. Two weeks ago a particularly bad golfer sent a golf ball right through my window, causing considerable damage. I ran out to get their name and phone number so that they could pay for the damage. They said they wouldn’t pay and rudely told me to “move.” It cost me $500 to repair the damage to my home. Can I hold the bad golfer and/or the golf course responsible for the damage? N.M. via e-mail
Answer: You may have a claim against the golf course owner if it can be proven that the design of the golf course is somehow flawed and unsafe. These types of claims are very difficult to prove and would usually require the assistance of an expert consultant to fully evaluate the situation. There are also several defenses the golf course owner could raise, including the fact that you were “on notice” that living on a golf course could result in golf balls entering your property, and that you assumed the risk.
You may also have a claim against the driver of the errant golf ball. The courts have generally held that the driver of a golf ball is charged with the duty to exercise ordinary care for the safety of property and persons reasonably within the “range of danger.”