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Errant golf balls becoming problem for drivers, residents near Tooele golf course

Posted at 5:45 PM, Sep 18, 2023

TOOELE, Utah — Ashley Teerlink was driving on Droubay Road, next to the Oquirrh Hills Golf Course in Tooele, to get to her parents' house when her windshield was hit by a golf ball.

"Thankfully we hadn't been going faster, otherwise it would've hit one of our side passenger windows," she said. "Those aren't as robust as a front windshield, so that would've completely shattered and injured either my grandmother or my children."

Teerlink says her child thought the sound of the golf ball hitting the glass was a gunshot. Her husband thought it was a blown tire. She's never been concerned about driving on Droubay because the driving range has a high net for protection, but she says this ball came from a side without netting.

"We went in and talked to the manager there and he said he would go question the people on the golf course, and of course no one wanted to own up and pay for the damages so it's on us," Teerlink said.

Tooele City officials said the liability for damaged property falls on the individual golfer. If the golfer can't be found, the city encourages people to file a police report or claim with the city.

Teerlink isn't the only one to experience damage from flying golf balls that come from the Oquirrh Hills Golf Course. Homeowners near the course say they've experienced hundreds if not thousands of dollars in damage from mishit balls.

"That window got shattered just a month or two ago; had to replace it. Either someone had a perfect shot right through there or maybe the net blew up in the wind," Jason Otis pointed out. "The back window of the vehicle got shattered there, and you can kind of see on the garage there the siding gets cracked every so often."

In Jason Otis' two years of living next to the golf course, his family has collected hundreds of golf balls.

"Sometimes [my kids] sell them to the golfers on the golf course for 5 bucks a dozen," Otis said.

Some balls have just landed in his yard, but others have hit his home or truck.

"It's hard to blame the golf course because it's the individual golfers who I don't know get a wild shot or something every so often," Otis said. "We got this big fence line right here, and that would be nice if there was a net up."

Teerlink agrees netting could help prevent damage but also thinks the road should have warning signs for drivers.

"It would've been nice if there had been a sign warning you, you're taking risks by driving through here, you could get hit by a ball, and if you don't know who did it, you're going to pay for the cost," Teerlink said.

Tooele City said they are committed to being a good neighbor and have been looking into netting around a few homes and have done other things to help prevent damage.