Errant Golf Ball Issues

  • Property Damage
  • Injury or Death
  • Loss of Property Value
  • Dangerous Trajectory
  • Longer Tee Shots
  • Dog Legs
  • Narrow Fairways
  • Lack of Warning
  • Warning Signs
  • Poor Safety Management
  • Changes to Golf Course


  • Accident Investigation
  • Trajectory Analysis
  • Safety Evaluation
  • Pre-Purchase Assessment
  • Aerial Survey
  • Site Inspection
  • Course Remedies
  • Nets & Barrier Consultation
  • Dispute Resolution

Errant Golf Ball Safety Evaluations


Errant golf balls can cause serious safety issues for homeowners and other properties adjacent to golf courses. Danger to occupants and threat of injury occurs in proximity to municipal courses, country clubs, and golf communities alike. Risks also apply to neighboring businesses with additional concern for general public safety. Continuous property damage adversely affects insurance rates, while ongoing danger significantly lowers property value.

A major reason for increasing risks associated with errant golf balls is the advancement in golf club design and golf ball technology over the past 30 years. New designs and materials in golf equipment enable players to hit farther than ever before. Increasing physical strength also generates higher swing speeds and longer tee shots.

Some players do not appreciate the danger associated with hitting golf balls near homes. Some get caught up in the challenge of sport to improve their score by taking greater risks. Meanwhile, no matter how good the player, every golfer occasionally hits errant shots. Consequently, drives that once may have rolled up to fences are now flying into your pool or bombarding your deck. Golf balls that once landed outside of the property line are now striking your roof or crashing through living room windows.

Most golf courses were designed over 30 years ago when the average tee shot flew significantly shorter. According to the USGA and R&A, the average driving distance for amateur male players increased 19 yards from 1996 to 2019. Meanwhile, the layout of existing golf courses remained virtually the same. Today, we see safety issues when players hit out of bounds farther than before, attempt to cut doglegs and fly over homes, or avoid laying up toward greens for a chance at birdie.

Other causes of errant golf ball danger result from course renovations after old trees and landscaping are removed to reduce water consumption and maintenance cost. Additional factors arise when new houses are built around existing golf courses or new golf courses are built around existing homes.

Risks from errant golf balls include property damage, serious bodily injury, and even death. Many homeowners contact us after years of golf ball intrusion into their yards, pools and decks. Broken windows, damaged siding, and dented cars are typical. The property owners are faced with thousands of dollars in annual repairs and increased insurance costs. Much worse are the accounts of near misses and serious injuries. Trauma to the head is the worst case scenario because a golf ball travels at speeds as high as 250 ft/sec. Brain injuries and blindness are the usual cases that we see going to court.

A direct strike to the head by a golf ball is physically devastating and life altering. It is also totally unpredictable to non-golfers going about their daily activities. A landscaper and roofing contractor have faced injury while merely doing their job. A child was hit while being pushed in a stroller by his mother. Children ran from a golf ball ricochetting through a day care playground. A doctor received a brain injury while reading a book. And a mother suffered a brain injury while standing by a pool. These are only a few of the many errant golf ball cases that Michael Johnstone has investigated as an expert witness.

Michael S. Johnstone, AIA, is a golf course architect and forensic architect who has guided homeowners, golf courses, and attorneys in lawsuits and negotiations about errant golf balls for 30 years. Our firm has performed golf ball trajectory studies and safety evaluations across the United States. Backed by this analysis, a property owner is better equipped to enter discussions to achieve a mutual solution over safety risks. If your own negotiation should fail, Michael may be retained to testify as an expert witness.

If you are in need of an Errant Golf Ball Safety Evaluation, please contact us here or call (828)-697-2420.