/ 29 November 2007

Court swayed by homeowner’s golf-ball misery

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) agreed on Thursday with a golf-estate homeowner that he is entitled to relief for badly aimed golf balls from the sixth hole at the Milnerton golf course.

Nearly 900 golf balls had hit his home between 2003 and 2006.

The SCA upheld an appeal by Alexander Simonis against a Cape High Court judgement that dismissed his appeal for an order against the Milnerton Golf Club.

Simonis wanted an interdict that would stop the use of the sixth hole at the golf course until an effective measure could be introduced to deal with the danger of badly aimed golf balls striking his home.

The Simonis family’s home is on the right side of the sixth-hole fairway, a par five over 400m, at between 184m and 250m from the tee. This means that the home is apparently situated in the prime landing zone for most average to poor golfers at the sixth tee, the court was told.

However, the high court held that the golf club had not intervened unreasonably with the rights of Simonis — even though about 875 badly aimed golf balls had hit his property between December 2003 and March 2006.

Five SCA judges on Thursday did not agree with the finding. The court held that the ”evidence” established a sufficiently high incidence of badly aimed golf balls entering the property to entitle the occupant to relief.

In delivering the judgement, Appeals Judge Ian Farlam said undisputed evidence indicated that the sixth hole was badly designed and gave rise to safety concerns.

The SCA granted an interdict until the club implements a system of barriers that was suggested by an expert. The execution of the interdict was nevertheless suspended for a month to afford the club an opportunity to implement the necessary measures. — Sapa