Man sues as golf balls fly into his home

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Golf_generic_putt REUTERS File photo

Pretoria - A man living on a golf estate in Vanderbijlpark has had enough of being pelted by stray golf balls - even in his living room - and blames this on the 14th hole which is barley 10 metres from his premises.

Eric Schoeman turned to the Pretoria High Court to interdict the owner of the Emfuleni Golf Course on the Emfuleni Golf Estate from allowing anyone to play golf on the 14th hole unless the green is relocated to a position not closer than 40m from his premises.

This, Schoeman said, must be measured over the shortest distance between the border of his premises and the edge of the green.

The golf course is situated more or less in the middle of the estate and houses surround it.

Schoeman earlier explained to the court that the living area of his house fronts the golf course.

There is a large patio on the outside with sliding doors leading to the living room.

When the sliding doors are open, the patio and the living room become one living area where he and his wife spend most of their time and entertain visitors.

Their property is situated close to the 14th hole, which includes the tee from where the players play their first shot, the fairway along which they progress towards the green, and the green itself.

Schoeman said the fact that the 14th hole is about 10m from his property, gives rise to a highly dangerous situation in that players play their shots towards his house.

Many players, he said, play their shots too long, with the result that the house and adjacent living area are often hit by fast-travelling golf balls. He said apart from causing damage to the property, these balls may cause serious injury or even death if a person is hit by them.

Schoeman

said before he took steps to alleviate the situation somewhat, the house was hit by about 100 balls a month. Some of the balls hit the patio, some the porch, others the outside of the house, while some went right into the house.

These often damaged the furniture or pictures on the walls, or struck the floor and bounced against the ceiling.

Schoeman said when he bought the property, the developer and then owner of the golf course assured him that the 14th green would be relocated to a safe distance. Believing these verbal assurances, he bought the property.

After they moved in about seven years ago, they asked why it was not being moved and was told it would be moved soon.

The golf course was, however, sold to somebody else and the new owner did not relocate the 14th hole. Schoeman meanwhile, in a bid to temporarily alleviate the problem, replaced the sand bunker with grass and built a pond between the green and his house.

He said while this helped, his house was “still regularly hit inside and outside by fast-travelling golf balls”.

A technical dispute meanwhile arose during the hearing of the case, where the new owner of the golf course, S Y Kim, said the verbal agreement earlier given to Schoeman (that the 14th hole would be relocated) was not mentioned in the sale agreement which he entered into when he bought the golf course.

He said that in terms of the constitution of the Emfuleni Estate Home Owners Association, this dispute should have been referred to arbitration, rather than being brought before the court. Schoeman, on the other hand, is disputing this.

Judge Natvarlal Ranchod ordered that the parties must at a later stage present oral evidence to the court on these issues, as it cannot be determined merely on documents before court.

Pretoria News


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