Injury fears over stray golf balls curb children’s garden playtime

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A MOTHER has called for action to be taken after fears a stray golf ball from a nearby club could injure one of her children.

Joley Higgins says she no longer feels comfortable letting four-year-old Ellie and eight-year-old Harrison out in their back garden on Holtdale Avenue, Leeds, because of the risk she believes is posed by stray balls from players.

Her fears were heightened after neighbour Beverley Collins suffered a painful calf injury after allegedly being hit on the leg by a golf ball.

Ms Higgins said: “I didn’t think much of it when the first golf balls started landing in our garden but when I was putting out the washing one day one landed near me and it made me think what could have happened if the kids had been out.

“Nowadays I prefer to take them to the park so they can play rather than let them play in the back garden.

“I’m conscious of what might befall them all the time.”

Ms Higgins’s mother, Maureen Fletcher, has taken up her daughter’s concerns with Cookridge Golf Club and has also approached Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland for help.

In her letter to him she said: “I have been in correspondence with the golf club manager.

“The outcome of the correspondence was that we should ring him when a ball lands in the garden and he would go to the area to see who was playing that hole at the time.

“I am informed that it is the player who is liable if a golf ball goes astray and damage is done.

“I’m concerned about a ball landing on my grandchildren’s heads – which doesn’t bear thinking about for it would surely kill them.

“Even if it were, say a shoulder it would shatter the bone completely.

“I don’t believe that should the worst happen, my daughter would be expected to go to the golf course and locate the person playing said golf ball – who would then have to admit their negligence...that would be utter madness.

“One of my daughter’s neighbours (Beverley Collins) has recently been hit on the leg and is in severe pain.

“I don’t want it to get to the point where a fatal injury is caused to someone.

“Is it not correct that a private golf course has to mitigate risk where ever it is reasonably possible?

“Surely my daughter and children/family/friends should have the right to be in the garden with complete safety. Her house was there long before the golf course was built.

“I would welcome your comments. I can’t let this situation go unchallenged. I am extremely anxious.”

Mr Mulholland has written to the golf club and asked: “I am enquiring as to whether the golf club has any plans that would potentially mitigate the risk of injury or damage to property.

“It would seem that the risk is coming from one particular hole (the 17th) and as such is there anything the club can change on this hole to limit the number of stray golf balls?”

But Gary Day, general manager at the golf club, said he and his staff had tried to do whatever they could to alleviate the problems.

He said: “We have met with local residents and spoken to them. We have worked very, very closely with residents.

“We have introduced plenty of measures short of putting up netting which some residents did not want because it would spoil the beautiful views.” And he issued a plea for residents who have golf balls land on their property to inform him immediately so the club can identify the players concerned as quickly as possible.

As for Ms Collins’s injury he said that was being resolved through “the insurance people”.