Do you live on a golf course? Don't Forget to Duck

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Quaker Ridge Golf Club is a secluded private club in Scarsdale, New York. It was designed by A.W. Tillinghast, the architect of the neighboring Winged Foot Golf Club, which hosts the United States Open Championship this year.

Golfers who know good courses argue whether Quaker Ridge, which opened in 1916, seven years before its better-known cousin, is the superior course. But one area that sets Quaker Ridge apart is the second hole. A light dogleg on the right with out of bounds on the right, it is ranked by rate judges as the fifth toughest hole on the course.

But it can take the top spot in the metropolitan region for angry, litigious neighbors who don't. I don't want balls to hit their property. The house on the right, where badly struck shots landed, has been the subject of lawsuits and mitigation for about 10 years.

The house is now hidden behind giant, mature trees that have been moved there from other parts of the track. after the owner filed a complaint. They serve to barricade the house, as well as a net that the club had built. (The owner is not a member.)

Still balls are flying into the yard. In order to better track the balls, players are now given a strangely numbered ball – 21, 55, 73 – and the number is recorded in a ledger by a marshal. When the hole is complete, players place the numbered balls in a tray on the third tee and move on to their own ball.

For some who live on jobs, balls screaming in the begonias are the cost of their living. Others may not see it that way. Even some golfers who appreciate life on a course can become irritated when an erroneous shot causes damage. One way to avoid the problem is to carefully consider the location of the property.

When Jane Edwards and Lou Neudorff moved from New York to the Bay Creek Resort & Club in Cape Charles, Virginia, they identified a home. locations with obvious problems.

"One of the lots we looked at was 50 yards from the tee box on the right, with no trees in front," said Mr Neudorff. "I said we can't buy this lot, I know what will happen."

Golf is an area of ​​the United States that has grown economically during the pandemic, with people working from home instead of commuting.

Nearly eight million more rounds were played in June than in June, an increase of 13.9 percent according to the National Golf Foundation. In golf-oriented states, where golf course life is highly desirable, those rounds increased even more, the foundation found: Arizona was up 29 percent, Florida up 25 percent, Georgia up 24 percent, and Texas up 23 percent.

Unfortunately, the game frequency is not correlated with the accuracy of the strokes.

Although the foundation does not track false strokes, it does keep track of the level of interest. That too has increased: some 15 million people who had never played golf said they were more interested in playing. And some of those novices could reasonably be associated with faulty shots.

James Wiant, 65, who lives at the Spanish Wells Country Club in Bonita Springs, Florida, didn't start playing golf until he retired several years ago. Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and donut company. Mr. Wiant said he was an avid, if occasionally errant, golfer.

He has had collisions. On Christmas morning a few years ago, Mr. Wiant said, he was looking for his ball in someone's plantation. Inside, he heard a man yelling at him and getting angry as he approached the door. By the time the owner reached the door, he was cursing like a sailor.

"I look up and see this man coming in," said Mr. Wiant. “He's probably 89 years old and has a walker that he pushes in front of him. I grabbed my ball and ran, saying Merry Christmas.”

But his most lasting memory is not one, but two , hitting neon golf balls on the roof of a house on the course. They clattered around and got stuck where the roof met the metal supports of the screened pool.

"All my friends laughed at me," Mr. Wiant said. "Immediately after Hurricane Irma I stopped by to see if they were blown away. I thought they were definitely gone. But they survived."

He had a well-rehearsed alibi: " I've never met the owner of the house, and I refuse. If anyone asks if it was me, I'll deny it. I'll say who plays neon golf balls? ”

Golfers should prefer to be on the fairway, not someone's porch, but false shots can come from any r coming direction.

The right side of each course is a reliable danger zone, with beginner and intermediate golfers lazily hitting balls to the right. It is the high segment that rises and keeps going straight until it falls far from the line. Beware 150 to 200 yards from the tee box. But someone buying a house, say, 100 yards from the tee box on the left, could also be in danger: this is the domain of the duck hook.

If there is an amused bewilderment at the sight of a slab rising high above the trees and landing where the golfer will never see it again, the duck hook does not cause such glee. It's a hard, crushing shot, often followed by expletives.

The slab can splash harmlessly in a swimming pool or unwind in a garden. But the duck hook is a fiercer beast, with its low, hard track that can tear through screens and bruise a homeowner's legs and back in the yard.

John Gracik, a retired insurance company who lives 100 yards. from the tee on the 16th hole at The Club at Eaglebrooke in Lakeland, Florida, thought he was safe on the left. But he has broken windows, a damaged pool screen, and dozens of golf balls to prove there are hooks too.

"It's getting pretty expensive," said 68-year-old Gracik. "But there's not much you can do about it. We kind of accept it."

Mrs. Edwards and Mr. Neudorff from Cape Charles, Florida, eventually fell in love with many at Bay Creek, about 140 to 200 yards from a set of tee boxes. They take comfort from the trees between their lot and the cart path, but their builder knew better. "He was a golfer, and he assured me he would place our house on our lot to avoid the fear. for golf balls, "said Mrs. Edwards.

He did this by building the house at the end of the day. front of their property line, leaving a bigger backyard." We have roadsides and trees that give us privacy, "she said," and beds that give those errant golf balls more space. He understood the situation. "

Still, Mrs. Edwards said she found balls in her flower pots, while Mr. Neudorff collects at least half a dozen new balls from his yard every week elt.

] Buying an existing home can be trickier because an unwitting real estate agent may not point out the flaws. Mr. Gracik said it never occurred to him that he was buying the firing line.

"The real estate people are pretty smart," he said. “We walked through the front door and looked right through the back, and you could see the pool, the lake and the trees on the other side. We were more or less blinded because it was such a beautiful view.

Mr. Wiant, an occasional househitter, lives in a house behind a par-3 hole and has never been hit by a foul shot.

"The good golfers won't hit my house because they use irons," he said. "The bad golfers can't make it to the water in front of the green, and if they can't make it to the water, they can't hit my house."

In addition to choosing a location carefully, Homeowners have little recourse when balls fly into their yard. In many states, there is an assumed risk of living there.

Like many things in the good life, a little perspective can go a long way. Mrs. Edwards said her gardening was primarily a safe activity. But there was one time when a man hit a shot near the place where she tended her flowers.

"I heard a golf cart approach and heard a man get out," she said. & # 39; Then I heard this long strain of terrible language. He saw me and was so embarrassed. He turned to me and said, "Oh, ma'am, I'm so sorry. You have a beautiful garden. ""

It all pales in comparison to one of Mr. Gracik's Lakeland neighbors who came home to find an alligator in his pool. It had crawled out of a pond onto the track, walked through the screen, and slid off the lanai into the water.

"That's a bit scary," said Mr. Gracik. "I've only had one golf ball in my pool in seven years."

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