Stray golf balls less of a threat at Lincoln Park

Fewer business owners surrounding Lincoln Park Golf Course appear to be teed off by wayward golf balls last year than in years past, according to city officials.

Years ago, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center reported that an average of 50 golf balls a day were landing in its parking lot and hitting vehicles, but that volume is decreasing, thanks to a host of mitigation efforts, Parks and Recreation Director Rob Schoeber said during a Monday workshop of the Grand Junction City Council.

“I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard,” Schoeber said after interviewing the head of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and businesses along North Avenue. “Last year it was getting better and it’s getting better as a whole on North Avenue.”

Tee boxes have been moved in an effort to keep long drives from landing in the hospital’s parking lot. The distance between some holes has been shortened to keep golfers from making long drives. New trees have been planted to replace some older trees that were cut down because of age or disease. The city also will be planting some fast-growing trees to act as a barrier between the course and the hospital.

In general, golfers are right-handed and drives tend to list to the right, Schoeber said. That means golf balls make their way onto Gunnison Avenue, the west end of the hospital and North Avenue.

Golfers who damage property with errant golf balls are responsible for paying for damages. However, not all golfers know their golf balls caused damage, or golfers may be aware of damages and not confess to it.

Residents who find their property damaged by a golf ball can file a claim through the city, though the claims are rarely successful because Colorado state law asserts that golfers, and not entities that own golf courses, are liable for damages, Schoeber said.

Costs of reversing the course, which would nearly eliminate the issue of errant golf balls, is estimated at $2 million and deemed too costly to pursue, Schoeber said.

Adding more netting would cost several hundred thousand dollars because the pilings to hold the nets would have to be buried deeply to account for groundwater issues.

City staff interviewed nearby business owners and sent letters to those on Gunnison Avenue for comment after a worker at the Veterans Affairs hospital complained at a City Council meeting last year.

The woman said her vehicle was damaged by a golf ball, and that she and other workers were fearful about their vehicles being damaged or being struck by a golf ball.

“I think it’s a problem, but I think it’s starting to minimize a bit,” Schoeber said.

Golfers who cause damage to personal property but cannot locate an owner can report the incident to the golf shops. Anyone who notices damage to personal property should call the golf courses as soon as possible to make a report. Contact Lincoln Park Golf Course at 242-6394 and Tiara Rado Golf Course at 254-3830.


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