Ask any golfer about the challenges they face and they’d probably rattle off the classics: nasty headwinds, tough bunkers, and tricky putts.
How about being ordered to pay almost $5 million dollars in a lawsuit?
Such was the fate of the Indian Pond Country Club, which was sued by a Kingston, Massachusetts, couple. Here’s what the fuss was about: the couple’s $750,000 home was significantly damaged by—you guessed it—golf balls.
Bad Shots, Worse Damage
In 2017, a couple purchased a Kingston property about 40 miles south of Boston. While the house certainly looked nice, there was one detail that was hard to ignore: it happened to be in close proximity to a golf course’s 15th hole.
“They thought they were buying golf-course-view property,” the couple’s attorney told NBC News. “What they ended up buying was a golf-course-in-play property.”
According to the couple, around 651 stray balls had hit their house since they first moved in. These unintended projectiles reportedly caused damage to 26 windows, as well as the home’s siding and deck.
It’s not just physical damage, either. The lawsuit further reported that, in July 2018, one wayward shot ended up “shattering a window and terrifying the plaintiffs’ young daughter.”
The couple sued both the golf course and the company that oversaw the construction of their house.
Par for the Course?
For their part, the owner of the golf course (via an attorney) shifted accountability back to the couple, who the attorney suggests should have known about the risks associated with their home’s location.
However, the couple underscored what they believe to be the real issue in this matter: how to prevent erratic shots from wreaking havoc on their property, which they rightfully own and inhabit.
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In December 2021, the Plymouth County Superior Court rendered a decision in favor of the couple. According to the court’s decision, the golf course had not exerted due effort to keep the home safe. The court went on to award the following to the plaintiffs: $100,000 in property damage and $3.5 million in emotional distress. Thanks to additional fees and interest, the total stands at $4.93 million.
Though the owner of the golf course plans to appeal the decision, compromises have begun to materialize. The hole near the couple’s house has been changed from a par-4 to a par-3 and adjusted such that golfers will stop taking shots that are at risk of hitting the residence.
Of course, the couple had the option to simply leave the house in favor of one that’s less prone to rogue balls. No go, says their attorney: “It would be impossible to sell the house with that type of situation. The problem had to be solved.”
In that case, props to the couple for standing their ground. Here’s to hoping that their home stays safe from $5 million dollar-golf balls.