close
close

annesophiemorel-photographie

Anne Photograp News 2024

Dear Molly – Colorado Golf Association
bacul43e

Dear Molly – Colorado Golf Association

What if I bump into a house?

Dear Molly: Houses on a favorite golf course in Colorado are too close to the fairway for my game. What is the expectation if I hit one of them?

It’s somewhat ironic that we routinely cue our golf ball to do just that. “Hit a house!” we exclaim, imagining a beautiful mansion sprouting up on the green to halt our over-enthusiastic descent.

We don’t want to hit a real house with a real golf shot, any more than we want our own house to be bombarded with golf ball-sized buckshot. But things happen. I asked your question in a conversation with Ed Timmins, CGA Executive Committee member and legal advisor who specializes in complex litigation and transactions.

Ed, a member of the Denver Country Club, has certainly never hit a house, not even the one sitting tantalizingly in the dogleg on the par-5 13e hole. “I don’t know what that would feel like,” he says, maybe seriously or maybe not.

But seriously, he says the legal issue of responsibility for a golf ball shattering the window of a house or car along a waterway is “not a simple one, not at all.”

Among the complications, he says, “There is a legal argument that the homeowners assumed the risk of errant golf balls when they purchased a home on a golf course. If I were defending the golfer, that would be my defense: acceptance of risk. But most courses also have signage stating that the golfer is responsible for damage to neighboring homes. That may be in the real estate documents, in the plats or covenants for the property, and it can become a more complex legal issue depending on the documents that may apply.”

Most golf course owners have property damage insurance that covers damage to the golf ball, but in Colorado the deductibles are increasing so it’s hardly worth filing a claim. Most golfers have personal liability insurance in their homeowners policy, but here too a deductible applies.

So let’s think about some of the core values ​​that children learning golf learn through the First Tee program: honesty…integrity…civility…responsibility. If you cut a shot off the tee and hear a bang, and these are your values, do you quickly sneak away, without looking at the house you’re hitting?

“Usually there is no damage. It comes from a card game or something,” says Ed Timmins. “But my opinion is that if damage has been done, if a window is broken or if you see other visible damage, the golfer should leave a note. You have to take responsibility.”

If you are not sure that you have broken a window, you can also leave your contact details with the golf shop. Once you connect with the homeowner, you can exchange insurance information and get things done that way. Or you can ask the homeowner how to make it right.

In the better case, there is no damage, but the residents are outside in the garden or on the deck and you apologize for the disruption. You might even get your golf ball back!

Or maybe you’ll get a new client, like Justin Knoll did when he stormed a house in Blackbear that had never been hit before. Knoll broke a window and immediately apologized. He and his wife, Piper, are real estate agents. “We had the window repaired the next day,” Piper says. “We sent him some treats, and we kind of became friends. If they decide to sell, they’re going to use us. Justin’s new marketing thing is, “I’m just going to break windows and tell people to move.” ”

She laughed. If everyone ends up laughing, that’s the best case scenario.

Have a question about golf etiquette, golf relations or Colorado golf culture? Email it to Molly McMulligan, the CGA’s course advisor on how to have more fun on the golf course. Its creator, researcher and writer is golf journalist and CGA member Susan Fornoff.

MORE FROM MOLLY

Can I tee off if a golfer comes into my fairway?

How can I help my partner play golf?

How do I get them to stop talking?